in an effort to promote the idea that gardening can be done on the cheap, i'm going to give you the details. this is by no means an exhaustive report but simply a calendar of events and expenses.
march: empty the two/three garbage cans of kitchen scraps, vegetable peelings, moldy bread etc that i had collected over the winter. add some of last years leaves and start the compost pile.
expense: zero dollars
april: dig in the 6 X 8 bed out front, last years corn stalks and weeds are re-integrated into soil. purchase supplies for a hoop house; three ten footX3/4 in. pvc pipes, roll of plastic; 20 bucks, continue to turn compost every 3-7 days. purchase couple of packets of mesclun/salad greens seeds. plant bed of asparagus, 9 bucks for 24 roots, move rhubarb plant from property to sunnier location
expenses: seeds, supplies, soil amendments; $40
may: pitch increases, plant sale at work, tomatillo, winter squash, butter head lettuce, bale of hay, hoe and basil plants. layed down hay as mulch on all beds with paper grocery bags as weed barrier. compost finished and distributed around the yard, some used as potting soil for ornamental plants/flowers in containers. thought about adding a raised bed for more production. stack hay behind barricade on slight slope, added some compost, drop in a watermelon plant. not pretty but it just might work.
expenses: plants, mulch, tools: $50
june: paid a trash hauler to pick up two bagster bags of construction waste off front lawn, inherit a good patch of dead grass: plant white clover w/ rhizobium innoculant, better than a lawn cause it grows faster and fertilizes itself by fixing nitrogen, cost $12. harvest two cuttings of mesclun make a few salads. feel the love, tastes great too. find two baby bunnies have taken up residence in my garden bed, have a fur lined hole beneath the mulch, 4 days later they are gone, no appreciable loss of produce, basil plants suffer damage from insects, they'll pull trough i hope.
plant last seeds 'lazy housewife pole beans'. I continue to kill grass for new patio out front next to garden, big plastic tarp and chairs on the lawn. receive two tomato plants from heirloom tomato grower, amish paste and cherry tomato.
expenses: less than $20
rhubarb, strawberries, 8 foot asparagus bed, basil, watermelon, pole beans, butternut squash, acorn squash, tomatillo, cherry tomato, roma/paste tomato, mesclun/salad greens, marigolds, geraniums.
total cost: ~$110
labor: maybe 20 hours, never spent more than 1/2 a day in garden