Dry Climates- Does your garden save you money? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-21-2011, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I was hoping to start a garden this year in part to save some money and be able to put some things away for the winter.  I live in a dry climate (northern Nevada) and a few friends have said that their water bills triple in the summer with a garden.  This means that it would be cheaper for them to just buy organic produce.   Not what I wanted to hear!  I was planning on making a hoop house which should help retain some moisture.  I am feeling kind of torn at this point.  I want to feed my family the best food I can afford to and if this costs us more money I am not sure it's worth it.  Thoughts?  Input?

Becky- Wife to DH, Mama to "Nani" (July '08) "Coco" (July '10) and Decker the Wrecker (May'13)
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#2 of 6 Old 04-22-2011, 08:39 AM
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We live near Houston. Although not normally so severely dry as it is right now, our water bill definitely goes up. We try to make some adjustments- watering later in the evening so less water evaporates, using soaker hoses underneath newspaper layers to water more effectively and limit evaporation again, etc. We also keep a tub for rinse water and misc water that we would have normally sent down the drain in the kitchen and will be putting a 5 gal bucket in each bathroom to catch water that runs whilst waiting for the water to heat up (or cool down! in the summer). We purchased a few barrels from Craigslist to make rain barrels and to dump extra water from the house into.

With all the watering we're having to do and supplies we've bought, we would probably break even on just buying organic at the store.


To me though, I'm not only gardening to have organic produce but also to learn how to raise our own food. I do think that global food shortages are coming and I want to be able to know what I'm doing when that time comes. I can have some failures in my garden right now- I'd rather have them now and learn from them than when my family is depending on what we can grow.

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#3 of 6 Old 04-22-2011, 08:58 AM
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There's lots of ways to reclaim water in your home and share it with the plants. Put a bucket in the back of the shower. You'll be surprised at how much it collects. Bail out the dishwater if doing dishes by hand. And its fairly easy to get your washing machine to put its water where you want it , too. Pull the hose out and re-route it.

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#4 of 6 Old 04-22-2011, 09:02 AM
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Ours does, but we live in the country and have well water. We also have water shares, but we pay the same dues on those every year.


I'm not sure how people in our town have gardens since they do sometimes limit water useage, other than recycling water used in the house.

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#5 of 6 Old 04-23-2011, 12:34 PM
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I'm in Northern Nevada also. i can't directly answer your question, as we're on well water, but I wanted to say hi :).


I'm wondering about yard-sharing. If you have several people wanting to garden, can you intensively garden one yard in order to make the most efficient use of water, and split the increased water cost (or, even better, find someone with well water or irrigation and a spare bit of land they aren't using)? Something like this might also allow more water-efficient methods of irrigating (such as drip irrigation) to be installed at a split cost.

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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#6 of 6 Old 05-03-2011, 08:29 PM
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Much depends on how you are watering the garden, and what you do about mulching and moisture retention.


If you have the garden area on a drip irrigation system, with the emitters under a thick layer of mulch, and do not over-water, it uses far less water than a garden with bare dirt getting sprinkled several times a day does.


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