Is it economically practical to grow your own produce when you live in a city?

I live in town, and have a very small lot, about 40 " by 100". I would like to grow my own produce because 1. My food budget is about $125.00 a month, and I would like to eat healthier, and 2. I would like to know where my food is coming from, and to use netting rather than chemicals to control insects. But I am wondering if this is practical, or if it would end up costing me more money, especially in the beginning. The soil is poor, sandy and clay, so I have been bringing in topsoil as I can afford it. I have a shingle roof, and have read you shouldn't use rain barrels to collect rainwater for produce if you have a shingle roof. So there would be the expense of watering. I am able to track my water usage, and after only two days of watering the grass, my usage has gone from "efficient," about 28 gallons a day to "on target, " with consumption about 175 gallons on the two days I watered my lawn. There would also be the cost of fencing to keep rabbits, deer, and maybe fox and turkeys (if they like berries, and corn too. I have no idea.) out of the garden. And of course, the cost of the seeds and berry bushes. Would it be cheaper to just continue to buy my produce? I bought a little carton of blueberries at Walmart the other day, and it was $5.00!!!

14 Answers

  • John
    Lv 4
    7 months ago

    You can grow food very well to supplement your diet and it's not expensive at all.

    But being you have limited space the best idea is building a green house or biodome to produce more area.

    The advantage is using reflectors you can multiteir your garden space producing oh ten gardens instead of one.

    You can control the water flow you can control soil nutrients.

    You can very easily be growing and collecting that five bucks instead of shipping it out.

    That is the goal correct? You are trying to increase your income due to supplementing your food supply by growing your own produce?

  • 7 months ago

    I am a big fan of Mel Bartholomew's "Square Foot Gardening" method. I recommend buying his book, available on amazon and other places. His book was for sale at my local Lowe's when I last was there also. Good luck.

  • 7 months ago

    This will end up being more expensive than buying food.

    If you want to grow something, you can always start with herbs in pots and a few tomatoes and zuchini. Those are usually easy summer crops and require minimal effort from you.

    You can dig holes about 2.5-3 foot deep and backfill with half compost and half native soil for your tomatoes and zuchini and basically treat the hole you dug as a “pot” which you use good soil in. You need to water only the “hole” the plant is in. I use cut pieces of 5 gallon pots, about 8 inch high rings, as “collars” that are half buried in the soil and the plant is planted in the middle of it. When I water I direct the water into the “collar” and it keeps the water where I want it, at the base of the plant.

    Gardens are not a guaranteed success by any means. Start with something simple and build on your successes.

  • 7 months ago


    I grow veggies every year. I like knowing what's in my food.

    I usually supplement the soil with some organic soil amendment. You don't have to go crazy, but I like to build up my soil over time. If growing in grow bags, buy enough soil to get near the top of the bag. The bag will say how much soil is needed.

    Then I use only organic non-GMO seeds or starter plants.

    I leave the plants open, no netting is needed. You will need some basic sprays or powders for bug control, like for aphid. Depending on the pest, soap can be used, or basic BT powder. Again, this can be organic or natural but use it early enough to control pests or mildew. Your local nursery can help identify your pestilence!

    I use a drip system on a timer. It's simply attach to a hose bib, like the Orbit 62061Z about $25. And I use 1/4" dripline with emitters every 6-Inches (Amazon B0746837DL is an example). I set to do a nice soaking every other day. Veggies do better if stressed a little between waterings.

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  • 7 months ago

    Last year, I grew cucumbers, tomatoes and red peppers. It cost me about 9 dollars for the plants and the crop harvest was worth well over the price of the plants. I ate tomatoes and cucumbers daily for about four weeks. I planted my veggies in containers. This helps quite a bit with watering. Buy plants, not seeds.

    Do not plant corn, as you need more room than corn is worth.

    If you are in the city, you will not have to worry about wildlife.

  • 7 months ago

    you have deer in the township? not sure i would grow berries. more trouble. but veggies, yes. netting isn't the only solution to bugs and it may not work anyway. try enviro sprays. start small. see how it goes.

    • Yes, there are deer, fox, turkeys, and the occassional bear in town. I live in west-central Wisconsin. My first night living here, I could hear someone walking around outside my house. the officer laughed when he saw situation, and said he wasn't going to arrest a bunch of deer for trespassing.

  • 7 months ago

    One of the biggest problems with growing vegetables in the city is sunshine. Depending on your circumstances you may or may not have the 6 to 8 hours of sunshine needed for many vegetables. I should check that out before I tried to grow any vegetables.

  • Tavy
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    We do in the U.K. you can use grow bags, no idea why you cannot collect water from your roof. You seem to be putting up a lot of no no's.

    People in apartments here grow veg on their balconies. You can grow baby potatoes in a bucket. Tomatoes on a window ledge. Start looking online.

  • y
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    Can't use netting to keep out insects, insects are required for many vegetables to produce. There are other ways to control insects. Start up for a decent garden can be expensive, to create the right enviroment and such, they take a lot of work and time to maintain and produce but they are well worth it if one knows what they are doing. Stop watering your grass, there is no need to waste water on them unless required in some manner. Never heard that about shingled roof systems, you should research it as opposed to going by what you heard. Gardens are a labor of love, if you don't enjoy them, you wont put the time in, you won't get the rewards.

  • 7 months ago

    In a big city buying a space to grow your food will probably make it more expensive than just buying ordinary food from the shops

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