I tried to start seeds on the front porch in egg cartons but only about half of the plants came up and then I procrastinated transplanting them to the garden so they all eventually died. Then Lilly jumped over the garden fence and chewed up my soaker hose, so for a while I had to hand water. What this translates to is that for a while I didn't water enough. Then slowly but surely the southern heat and my lack of commitment to watering killed plants one by one. Then, squash bugs ate my pumpkin which was happily thriving until then.
The corn seemed to be doing well, but we ate it one night and it was AWFUL! I didn't know corn could taste so bad! Also only about half the kernels on each cob were developed, probably because we planted too far apart and they weren't able to properly fertilize. By this point I had pretty much given up, although there were still two tomato plants left. We were out of town for a week and when I got back I decided to throw in the towel! Maybe next summer I'll stick to container gardening.
As for my frugal success, we have been keeping our air conditioning at 82 degrees while we are at home and 85 while away. We cheated a bit this month because we were out of town for several days but our bill was only $119, the lowest by $40 we've had all summer and $60 less than last month. Being slightly sweaty finally paid off!