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


Vita Pagh
Vita P4 years ago

Good idea. Thank you.

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby4 years ago


Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

devon leonard
Devon Leonard5 years ago

thank you

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Debby G.
Deborah G5 years ago

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.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Great article, thanks for sharing

Marie W.
Marie W5 years ago


Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago