Here at Mother Nature, we're big fans of Hen and Harvest, where we originally found this Kitchen Gardener International article by Roger Doiron. The premise is pretty simple: In dollars, how much can a well-run kitchen garden save your family over the course of a year?

The answer will vary from garden to garden, of course. But it could easily amount to a couple thousand dollars. Over the course of last season, Doiron and his wife, Jacqueline, kept track of the output from their modest organic garden. All told, 834 pounds of veggies made it to the kitchen scale. Based on current market prices, the total of the Doiron's 2008 produce would have cost about $2,196.50 if purchased in a conventional grocery store, or $2,548.93 if bought as organic goods from a store such as Whole Earth Foods.

And that's just from a garden of roughly 1/25 of an acre — in Maine. One can easily imagine much higher yields at a latitude with longer growing seasons. The Doirons estimate they invested $282 in last year's garden, for a total return on investment of 862 percent. They turned around and used the savings on their food bill to invest in the weatherization, banking even more cash at the end of a long New England winter.

Sounds like quite a green stimulus during tough economic times. What could you do with an extra two thousand dollars?

Please jump in with your gardening stories below. 

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