Growing Your Own vs Shopping

Like Renting vs Owning. And why a Growing Dome® is more Cost Effective Than my CSA Box.

Bountiful Baskets are great. They keep my family of five stocked with quality fresh fruits and vegetables. The other day, while picking up our baskets at the local pick up site, the lady that checks your name off the list greeted me. Then asked half shyly, “Do you guys eat all three of those boxes?” If you’re not familiar with Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op, it’s a great volunteer run co-op that distributes boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s sort of like receiving a CSA box (Community-Supported Agriculture). The contents are different every delivery, and it’s usually a surprise, to me at least, as to what’s in there.

growing your own vs shopping
Tanaka Farms CSA

Bountiful Baskets Co-op purchases quality local and regional produce at a great price and then organizes delivery trucks to ship the produce to drop off points in towns throughout 14 different states. (Update: As of 2023 Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op is not available in Colorado.)

This year a box from Bountiful Baskets contains approximately $50 worth of grocery store quality produce. Thankfully, Pagosa Springs is one of those drop off points. They deliver once every two weeks. My family buys three boxes every two weeks. Only a short time ago, I was spoiled with homegrown food. I had access to a greenhouse and gardens. We hardly ever bought produce from the grocery store.

growing your own

Well, life happened, as they say. No longer do we live next to that big greenhouse and those beautiful gardens. I haven’t bought my Growing Dome yet either. But I wish I would.

You see, my response to that “name checker lady” in the pick up line, I told her the truth. My family eats the majority of all three boxes in the first week. On week two we are hitting up the local grocery store to buy organic produce. We do eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. Five mouths to feed, which includes a hungry teenager and growing 4 year old twins.

9 Reasons Ebook: Why A Growing Dome Is Better Than A Greenhouse

Click here for our free gift to you.

Before I tell you the price we pay, I need to tell you, I love Bountiful Baskets. Given my life circumstances right now, I’m happy to have that option. But I want to compare for a moment the weekly cost of my produce buying habits to the weekly cost of a Growing Dome. And the ability to grow your own produce – all year-round. Now, I realize that my boxes provide diversity that I might not grow on my own, and I also know that a Growing Dome actively gardened easily fills those three boxes every two weeks.

Okay, ready? Cost of my Organic box = 25 dollars. Times three = 75 dollars. On week two, the off week, we are spending more money at the grocery store. Cost per week for a Growing Dome that would feed a family of five = $25 dollars. 

Do you remember that breakdown we shared a while back? It went something like this:

“…let’s assume you spend $12,000.00 on your Growing Dome. The polycarbonate panels on your Growing Dome are under warranty from the manufacturer for 10 years. Chances are it will last 15-20 years.

My co-worker Josie, who lovingly and diligently cuts the Reflectix Insulation, has a Growing Dome that is over 20 years old. In fact, I think she has one of the first Growing Domes ever built here in Pagosa Springs.

But anyway – $12,000.00

Will last at least 10 years.

That’s $1,200.00 a year.

Or $100.00 a month.

$25.00 a week.

$3.75 a day. Comparable to my cup of coffee at the local coffee shop.”

It’s a realization that can be uncomfortable to look at. Sort of like when I crunch the numbers on the amount of rent money I spend compared to spending a similar amount to own a home. Renting versus investing in an asset. 

Thank you Bountiful Baskets. You truly deliver a great service for a lot of people. And sorry Bountiful Baskets, but one day I hope to replace your wonderful service with an asset of my own.




  • Your article encouraged me as we are moving back to the UK soon, and have a cottage which stands on a half acre plot. I have started prepping for a green house plus open garden spots and find it most exciting.
    Last fall we harvested over 20 pounds of varied berries , sweet…Looking forward eagerly.

  • Very interesting, but for us (we built a more expensive dome, and then of course, you have to account for the materials to finish the inside (and yes, you have to count your time too, as you would in theory be making money doing something else)… we jokingly say that we will have to live to 300 to make it pay off. I think the point for us is that the dome not only provides fresh produce, but that it adds to our overall quality of life, and there is the part that is at once priceless but indefinable.

  • GQ 03AHJ_VutobPHx40CSY92ufmsi-aZ74EKcQsh3uinornk0R5eW_jX2IXMvUVaD7DdV_LwwldEy_k6mXjwpBg2kzttE1iIUfg48cWwP-IBO2cYtACyj42jVqAsOEfz6VAMQauBzpfTjnE-2mcv2bm00jNrMGYbqhrDtoiWzXKuFdKTJx-Tpg7ufJMRk-NDVEv6j9eiQMdwZhtd3xMDdfU0KSdIQYmY48cHZtJP2-gabGQJm-TbIRHvGrwDAP2 says:

    That doesn’t account for the hardscape, soil and it’s additives, irrigationi system, cliate control expenses in the heat and cold, and – most important, the daily abount time you will be putting into maintaining such a project. .

    • I’m not sure the size of that particular Growing Dome, but it looks like one of the bigger domes.
      Probably a 33′ or 42′.

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