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Bartholomew makes sad salute to the Potato

New book says don't plant
by Lola Honeybone
February 21, 2016

Would love to offer up the new title from the Square Foot Gardening Foundation, High Value Veggies. No new method here – just a calculator, a formula, and a list of veggies that make little to no sense to grow. And, of course, Bartholomew’s high-value top-ten. Get ready – the beloved potato is dead last.

This is a Bartholomew’s return-on-investment look at what we grow; what we eat; and what will give us the biggest bang for our buck. Most gardeners simply plant what’s easiest to grow; but Bartholomew encourages us all to take a closer look and keep in mind what’s the easiest to grow is likely to be the most widely produced and the lowest priced at the local supermarket. “The fact is, you might save a whole lot more money growing something a bit more in demand,” says Bartholomew. Before seed hits dirt this season, Bartholomew encourages every gardener to take-up his challenge and grow what produces real, money-saving value.

The formula uses an average price per pound to determine what a season’s worth of produce from any plant is worth. That value is measured against the cost of inputs to grow the plants over a season to calculate an overall ROI. Curtain please…

The homegrown veggie with the highest return on investment is… herbs! The runner-up: parsnip. And in third place: the cherry tomato.

1. Herbs!

2. Parsnip

3. Cherry Tomato

4. Garlic

5. Heirloom Tomato

6. Turnip

7. Leek

8. Winter Squash

9. Spinach

10. Hybrid Tomato

Financially the veggies that make the least sense to grow; some much beloved, but most simply don’t produce enough yield to combat a very low price in the supermarket:

1. Potato

2. Brussel Sprouts

3. Bell Pepper

4. Swiss Chard

5. Asparagus

6. Okra

7. Bean

8. Pole and Bush Bean

9. Celery

10. Green Cabbage

Bartholomew makes a sad salute to the potato. Dead last in a high value survey is something to note as the 2016 garden season kicks off. Look to plant herbs and heirloom tomatoes and tap into the acquired taste of root veggies; Bartholomew math confirms it’s the best place to put your garden dollars in 2016.

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