Starting a Garden in the Desert ~ Part 3 ~ My Complete Start Up Costs

I recently overhauled my large side yard and installed all new raised beds for a total 112 square feet of gardening space.  My complete start up expenses have been:

$160 wood and hardware for beds
$330 soil, delivery and spreading (this was a mistake…the soil I got was NOT good)
$120 on starts and seeds
$110 additional soil and worm castings
$90 drip system set up
$35 fertilizer and pest control
$125 fencing and gate

= $970

$970 is a lot, but we spread the project out over about two months, and had set money aside in the few months that we were getting the space ready, so we were able to spread it out over time.

Some of the expenses were optional, and some of the costs could easily be reduced depending on your situation.

I do feel like we paid too much for the bulk compost/soil based on how much we got and the quality, but live and learn.  I think the price we paid would have been fair, had the soil been what it was sold as.

The starts are a luxury…that expense could be avoided.  Seeds are cheap and you don’t need to spend a lot on special seed starting equipment if you plan well.

The drip system is optional and could also be avoided.

Beds can be built from less expensive (or even free lumber) but it was very important to my husband for our’s to be uniform.

Fencing is only needed if you have animals or kids that will mess up your hard work.

We’ll still need to spend around $100-200 to install supports and shade cloth next summer, because gardening through some of our hotter months is important to me.


Continue to Part 4 for ideas of what to plant if you live in the greater-Phoenix area like I do!

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