Picture of raised garden beds full of plants, taken in August.

How To Get The Most Dollar Value From Your Garden

Dollar Value is the main thing I’m focusing on going into our growing season of 2024. With food prices rising at an extreme rate every year, I want and need to maximize the value that we get out of our limited garden space.

We’ve been garden for several years now and we’ve had some very productive seasons. Now, it’s time to make dollar value per square foot a focal point.

In this blog post I’m going to go though what fruits and vegetables yield the highest and lowest, dollar value per square foot. I will also go through what I will be expanding in our garden this year, as well as what I will be removing from our garden, and why.

What Plants Produce The Highest Dollar Yield?

To figure this out I did a comparison of common backyard garden plants and how much each plant costs. Then, I look at how much of these plants can you grow in one square foot. This gives me the dollar value per square foot. From this data I can decide what I want to maximize in our garden this year.

Here’s a breakdown of my calculations for the price of items in my area. For the “lbs or ea/plant” column I used how much you can realistically expect to yield from a single plant over a whole growing season.

Dollar value per square foot of common items grown in a backyard garden.
Dollar value per square foot of common items grown in a backyard garden.

There are some surprises in here for me. I wasn’t expecting Peas to come out with $47.92 per square foot. However, it makes sense when you consider how tightly you can plant them and how much yield you receive from each plant.

Peppers are the #1 item based solely on dollars per square foot. For this calculation I used Jalapeno Peppers. Bell peppers would still be very valuable but I don’t personally grow them, so I used something I do grow which is Jalapenos.

What Plants Produce A Low Dollar Value Per Square Foot?

One vegetable that, before I did these calculations, I thought would be very valuable is, Asparagus. Asparagus was one of the first things I grew from seed and planted in our new garden. We still love it and nothing tastes better than home grown asparagus. But it comes in at a low $3.74 per square foot.

The low dollar value does get offset by how easy asparagus is to grow. It’s extremely low maintenance and once planted will provide food every year for over 20 years.

Other plants that yield a low dollar per square foot are, Carrots at $2.97, Broccoli at $2.19, Potatoes at $2.80, Corn at $2.64, and Pumpkins at $2.50. These are all relatively low either because they are cheap to buy or require a lot of space to produce a small yield, or both.

Broccoli in a raised garden bed mulched with grass clippings
Broccoli mulched with grass clipping mulch

What Plants To Expand To Increase The Dollar Value Of Your Garden?

Any type of herb that you use in the kitchen is a must grow in your garden. A lot of herbs are perennials so you only need to plant them once. Even the annual varieties like basil, and dill are very easy to grow it is 100% worth it.

At our local supermarket, a 28g package of fresh herbs sells for $2.99. From a single plant of Oregano, for example, you can harvest over a pound (454g) of fresh herbs in a growing season. That’s 16 times a single package from the store which would be over $48 in herbs from one plant that grows itself every year as a perennial.

Herbs harvest in a wicker basket.
Herb harvest.

We already grow a lot of different herbs in our garden but I plan to increase that even more. If you do a lot of your cooking at home like we do, having a large herb garden makes so much sense.

Two more fruits we are going to expand in our garden both in variety and quantity are, Tomatoes and Peppers.

I’ve already mentioned that peppers were the #1 value per square foot plant that I measured. The main reason they are number one is the sheer volume of peppers you get from one plant. This year we purchased 3 new pepper varieties to incorporate into our garden.

As for tomatoes, for us, they are probably what we get the most value out of from our garden. Mostly because of the quantity of plants that we have.

We normally dedicate an entire 4’x12′ garden bed just for tomatoes. This year we are doubling that and using a second garden bed for tomatoes as well. We’ve also purchased 2 more varieties. We never seem to can enough pasta sauce to get us through to the next harvest season, and our toddler has become a cherry tomato eating monster so there will be more for her too.

What Plants To Consider Not Growing In Your Garden Anymore?

Pumpkins take up so much space in your garden. If you are limited on space I recommend removing pumpkins from your growing plans. One plant alone can easily take up 50 square feet of space and will only produce 1 or 2 pumpkins. For this reason and the fact we can buy pumpkins for $5 each in our area is why we are removing pumpkins from our garden.

Freshly harvested pumpkins
Freshly harvested pumpkins

Potatoes are one item that we will be removing from our garden beds this year. We will still be growing them but we are going to utilize growing bags for them instead. Potatoes don’t take up that much space they are simply a cheap thing to purchase from a store or farmers market that we don’t need to worry to much about them.

Corn is on this list because of how cheap you can buy corn during harvest season. Each corn stock only produces a couple of ears, so it takes at least 6 plants to even get a single dozen. When it is in season you can easily buy a dozen corn from a local farm for less than $5.


These are all suggestions of course. There is more to consider when planning out your garden that just what yields the most. If your family doesn’t like peppers, it won’t save you any money to grow a lot of them.

Some of the low dollar value plants can be increased somewhat by smart companion planting. For example, you can plant the “three sisters” together. The three sisters are corn, beans, and squash. They will all grow in the same area which will increase your dollar value per square foot.

The most important thing when planning your garden is to consider what you eat the most in your household. Once you know that you can use my chart above to figure out which plants it might make sense to grow more of.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you did make sure you check out the other growing guides, seed saving guides and our recipes. We are growing our website with more articles all the time, and we invite you to grow with us. If you have any questions about dollar value per square foot or would like to share some of your knowledge with us please leave a comment below.

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