Today I realized I’ve spent ~$105 on start-up stuff. I didn’t keep the receipts (going to start doing that), but here’s what I have so far:
- 1lb European earthworms
- spinach seeds
- garden bean seeds
- summer squash seeds
- cabbage seeds
- lettuce seeds
- pea seeds
- parsley seeds
- cilantro seeds
- oregano seeds
- basil seeds
- a small-well flat-sized planter set up
- 2 medium-well planter set-ups
- 2-ten inch diameter pots
- 1-fourteen inch pot
- starter soil
- potting soil
- liquid fertilizer
The soil alone has cost $10 so far and the pots have come out to be about $20.
Main Drawbacks and Possible Solutions
- The cost of starter soil. I can’t find starter soil in anything larger than a small bag for $3. This is not feasible in the long term. One bag starts about 36 plants, which will be transferred into larger pots. This means that the soil cannot be used for starting again. To solve this problem, I’m going to experiment with making starter soil from potting soil and worm castings.
- The price of pots. The starter pots aren’t that bad in terms of how many plants you can produce for the price, considering they are reusable. However, the larger growing containers are too expensive for a very low-income person to be able to budget for. I think the only solution here is going to be to find junk parts and figure out how to create planters that don’t drip all over the living room and meet the vegetable’s needs.
- Space. I knew this was going to be a problem. I cannot, realistically, grow 15 heads of lettuce at once in my living room if I use normal planting methods because I wont have room for anything else. I *think* the solution to this is to plant multiple things per container; to go for a total soil-cover instead of, say, just having a pot of garlic by itself. Instead, I’ll have garlic and herbs. I’ll grow cabbage surrounded by carrots. THIS is where experience is going to come into play. I have to figure out what can be grown with what to maximize soil space
- The cost of starting a “fertilizer maker” (worm bin). After researching the issue of worm purchase and maintenence expenses, I’ve concluded that this actually should be counted as a capital investment , rather than an expense. It turns out that the European Nightcrawler is a relatively new species with a previously unseen combination of attractive traits. It’s the hardiest worm used for composting, a prolific breeder, consumes the most food per worm, and reaches large sizes desirable for a bait worm. I will be able to sell the worm castings and the worms to a public that’s never even heard of this species. This investment alone may pay back more than I’ve spent on the entire operation so far. One pound of these worms is currently selling for a minimum of $20 over the internet. Locally, no one near me is breeding these worms and those that do breed other species are selling them for $40/lb. These same people are selling worm tea for $14 per quart. They should prepare to be put out of business.