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I am a cheapskate. I know that. Everyone knows that. I hate paying for goods or services I can handle myself. This has led to a desire to learn to cook. I hate paying what I feel are excessive amounts of money for food I can make at 10-25% of the cost.

My idea for a garden stemmed from the fact that a basil plant was cheaper than a small package of fresh basil. Seeds were even cheaper than that. I planted the seeds in pots that my roommate already had and soon had plenty of fresh basil. This continued with rosemary, peppers, etc. I had a rack of pots, but soon I needed something bigger. The soil in the back yard sucks, so I thought of an elevated garden. I researched buying wood at a home improvement place, but remembered a pile of wood in my roommate’s garage that she had leftover from a remodel.

I asked if I could use it, she said she could care less, so I went to task. I used a door as the base, and old paint buckets to elevate it to a point where I barely have to bend over. Not only am I cheap, I am also lazy. I drilled some holes in the door to allow for drainage.

I used some slightly warped 2x4s to make the walls, creating an 8” deep giant pot. The only new materials are the mending plates and the screws holding the boards together. Grand total for building materials: $15

Next I got all-natural gardening soil and 100% steer manure. I put the dirt & poop in the newly created pot, leaving a layer of pure manure on the bottom, and a mix of the two on the upper 6” of the mini-garden. Total cost of soil: $17

Next, I transplanted the vegetables, and a couple extra that the roommate picked up. Eggplant, peppers, rosemary, basil, cilantro and several small squash are all doing well. Not only did they survive the transplant, they are already growing faster having the room to grow.

Total cost of garden, not including seeds/plants, but including beer: $40.



-Jonathan “The Emperor” Yost