Usually people forgo their savings goals for instant gratification:
- They will pledge to save few hundred dollars, only to go out and spend it all on a big TV, unable to resist the satisfaction of watching the footy on a slightly better TV than their last one.
- They will enter the supermarket promising to spend under $100, only to grab an extra candy bar at the checkout, which makes the bill $102.
- They will wander past a café at the shopping centre, smell the coffee and the cash instantly disappears from their wallet.
All these things will give you instant happiness. At a price.
I know people who want a veggie patch so instantly, they go out and buy seedlings from the nursery, a self-watering pot and ceramic name labels – only for all the plants to die by the end of the week.
I was one of those people. I wanted the successful, good-looking veggie patch with glossy green silver beet and bright orange carrots.
But instead I treated my garden as a financial investment. I needed to do the hard-yards of research before I could invest my hard-earned capital.
I decided I wasn’t going to have a ‘garden’ in the traditional sense. Instead I’ll have a ‘patch’: a little section of pots and containers which house a variety of vegetables. I call it a patch because there really is no order to it, and I didn’t regularly attend to it (contrary to the requirements of a ‘formal’ garden).
My patch was small area where I could slowly nurture seedlings in the hope of saving money.
I limited the amount of money I invested into the patch at the beginning. I told myself that the patch is only there to save me money, it doesn’t have to look pretty, and it doesn’t have to impress anyone (except me).
So, I started my patch an egg crate and soil dug from a neighbouring garden bed (that wasn’t mine but I had permission to ‘liberate’ the soil from it).
I bought a packet of Silverbeet seeds, scattered them in the egg container amongst the soil and waited.
Every few days I would water them with my watering can (a milk container with holes punched in the lid).
My thumb was not particularly ‘green’ and I didn’t like my chances of battling the birds and possums for seedling ownership. I almost died of shock when they grew!
Once they had developed small leaves and tiny root systems, I upgraded the patch with 3, 96 cent buckets at Bunnings. I transferred the seedlings into their new home, and started my seed-raising again with another egg crate and this time, snow pea seeds.
After 3 successful harvests of silver beet and 1 harvest of snow peas I can now justify spending more money on the patch.
I have bought a ‘vertical garden’ kit from Aldi, for $50 (it was on clearance). Now, I must admit, it is a little extravagant compared to the egg crates and buckets.
My point is – I waited before I went out to spend money. I waited to check that my vegetable patch would be successful before investing a considerable amount of capital. This patch is an investment, not a hobby, and should be treated like it.
Has the patch paid for itself yet? I don’t think I would go that far. It has been quite successful – but there will be a few more crops before I could confidently announce that my patch is a going concern.
I am proud of it though. I am proud of the time I invested research before I invested the money.