Tuesday, April 1, 2014

$25 Victory Garden Challenge

This is a project I've been wanting to start for a few years.  This year I finally get to do it and you're all invited/encouraged to join me.

The idea behind the $25 victory garden challenge, originated in 2009 by Joe Lamp'l of "Growing a Greener World", is simple:  grow as much food as possible while spending only $25 for the entire season.  Joe has given me the green light to host my own challenge, which I've invited neighbors to join and I hope you will too.

19 pounds of tomatoes, 7 pounds of eggplant, 5 pounds of okra.  Not bad.

You can read Joe's rules here.  To see all of Joe's $25 Victory Garden Challenge videos, subscribe to his YouTube channel, joegardenerTV.  The most important rule is that you can't use any gardening things saved from previous gardening years.  In other words, no saved seed, no compost, no additives.  The idea is to grow this food as if you are starting from scratch.  The exception is that you can use anything that a homeowner would reasonably be expected to already own, such as a hose, a shovel, containers, and so forth.

My $25 victory garden challenge project begins today.  Since I prefer to grow in a raised bed rather than directly in the ground, my first task was to find materials that I could use to build the garden boxes.  I'm using wooden shipping pallets that I've scavenged for free from the warehouse where Rudi works.  I'll disassemble them, then reassemble them into boxes according to whatever size I can puzzle together from the wood.

The process will look a lot like this, but in a green plaid dress.

Each step of the way I'll document my progress here on the blog and post a running tally of expenses so you can follow along.  To keep me on track, I'm running a cash-only project.  Dave Ramsey would be proud.  (Dave's a hometown boy.  Represent.)

Today's accounting:

1 April, 2014

Will you join me in this challenge, and share the story of your garden?

To participate, all you have to do is:

  1. Set your goals.  I chose to use Joe's budget of $25, and I'm aiming to grow produce for a family of four for a full summer.  If you have more people to feed, you might wish to start with a larger budget.
  2. Use your imagination to come up with creative solutions to keep you on budget. Scavenge, trade, ask neighbors and friends to save things for you--check the free section of your local Craigslist--ask your social networks to help you find what you need.  You'll be surprised at how easy it can be sometimes to get something that will do the job!
  3. Share your story!  You can email periodic updates to me (vocationalhomemaker@gmail.com) and I'll include them in newsletters, and on Facebook, Twitter, and right here on the blog.  If you have your own blog, just link back to this post so your readers can learn more about the project.   (Shall we come up with a Twitter hashtag?  Joe's original hashtag was #25DVG, perhaps we can riff off that.)

Whether you are an experienced gardener who wants to try something new, or a brand new gardener who is eager to get growing, I guarantee you'll gain a world of knowledge by joining the challenge and you'll feed yourself and your family well in the process.