START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

You Can Grow $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet!

You Can Grow $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet!

One way to save an enormous amount of money, engage in soul-enriching work that truly is fun and refreshing, and boost your health (both by being active and eating well) is to grow food in a home garden — which takes less space than you might think. Here’s one perfect example. Long-time gardener and author Rosalind Creasy took a 5-by-20-foot section of garden bed by her tiny lawn to see how much she could grow in just that 100 square feet. The results are astounding. 

She planted two tomato plants (‘Better Boy’ and ‘Early Girl’), four bell pepper varieties, four zucchini plants, four basils (expensive in stores but essential in the kitchen), and 18 lettuces (six ‘Crisp Mint’ romaine, six ‘Winter Density’ romaine and six ‘Sylvestra’ butterheads). 

Cathy Wilkinson Barash, who worked on the project with Creasy, created spreadsheets for each type of plant, and the two gardeners kept meticulous records each time they harvested. They recorded every amount — both in pounds and ounces, as well as number of fruits (for each cultivar of tomato, zucchini and pepper) or handfuls (for lettuces and basil). 

To determine what the harvest would cost in the market, Creasy began checking out equivalent organic produce prices in midsummer. On a single day in late August, she harvested 49 tomatoes, nine peppers, 15 zucchinis of many sizes, and three handfuls of basil — which would have totaled $136 at her market that day.

The total value of the summer trial garden harvest was $746.52. In order to get a fair picture, she subtracted the cost of seeds, plants and compost, which added up to $63.09. That left $683.43 in savings on fresh vegetables. Of course, prices vary throughout the season and throughout the country. Creasy lives in northern California, and for comparison, Barash, who lives in Iowa, checked out her prices and figured the same amount of organic produce in her area would be worth $975.18! 

For the complete story of Creasy and Barash’s amazing summer gardening experience, read $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet

For tips on saving money as you garden, check out Gardening on a Budget: Seven Tips for Success

Photo from Fotolia 

Related: Square-Foot Gardening, Vegetable Garden Design Made Simple, and Plan an Herb Garden for Next Spring

Read more: Eating for Health, Food, Fun, General Health, Health, Inspiration, Lawns & Gardens, Money, Uncategorized, , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable, self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic Gardening content and the Vegetable Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening, small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The Rowdy Radish.


+ add your own
2:57PM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

Good idea. Thank you.

11:41AM PDT on Apr 10, 2013


8:22AM PST on Dec 30, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

8:57AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Thank you

3:05PM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

thank you

3:08AM PDT on May 21, 2012

Thanks for the info.

6:11AM PDT on May 18, 2012

We have had gardens for years, but am now finding that our sun time has been cut by tree shade (which I also refuse to give up) so now I am going to plant veggies in the flower gardens - might be a little more work keeping an eye on different spots, but it will be worth it.

2:31AM PDT on May 18, 2012

Great article, thanks for sharing

5:04PM PDT on May 17, 2012


5:37PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I hope the toddler doesn't grow up to be an obnoxious authoritarian adult! The dog may be gentle,…

Thanks, would be nice to actually see global action.


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!