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Simple Saving Savvy: Savvy Saving Solutions ~ Gardening

Simple Saving Savvy

Practicing Wise Stewardship & Blessing Others Out of Our Abundance

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Savvy Saving Solutions ~ Gardening

If you're reading this blog, then I assume you do all or some of the grocery shopping for your household. And it doesn't take a genius to figure out that fresh produce can add up quite a chunk to your grocery bill.

May I suggest doing a little gardening?

"What?!!!" you screech. "What kind of time does she think I have? I don't have the room! I don't even know where to begin!"

Let me start by saying that I am as far from what I'll call an "avid gardener" as you can get. That would be more my husband and he tends to lean toward flowers and shrubs. But this year we started out really small and really slow and.....well, let me just start from square one.

My husband has always been a lover of flower gardening (which is so UN-stereotypical of my mountain of a man, builder of oil rigs husband). If I'm ever looking for him I know I can always find him either watering his flower beds, weeding his flower beds, cleaning leaves out of his flower beds or just standing there contemplating his flower beds. I have spent more time traipsing after him trying to envision what he envisions and oohing and aahing over the little green sprout you can barely see poking through the dirt than I care to recount.

One day my husband calls me from Under the Sun. He stopped by to check out their stuff and stumbled across some vegetable plants. So he calls me and asks me if I want a cherry tomato plant. "Sure" I say. What about a bell pepper plant? "Do they have an orange one?" I ask.

So my husband comes home with a cherry tomato plant and an orange bell pepper plant in tow. We planted them in big square plastic containers like you find at Lowe's or even Walmart and they have sat in the sunniest spot on our back porch ever since (see photo above). My husband waters them, we watch for bugs (which they haven't had) and I pick the harvest.
Yes, those dandies are from my "garden". They're in my fridge right now along with three green ones I had to pick because I broke a branch off. We've also already eaten five or so in salads and there's about five more on the plant with lots of little buds just waiting to mature.

Now, the cherry tomato plant is another story. It's doing really well, but it had a minor set back. We were able to harvest quite a few tomatoes earlier this summer but then the "baby" raccoon who lives in our back yard and who is now a "big" raccoon decided to harvest a branch of lovely "green" cherry tomatoes before it was time. So we lost lots and lots of tomatoes. The plant recuperated and is now loaded with more just waiting to ripen.

We are already planning for next year and have decided we need TWO cherry tomato plants, one regular tomato plant and another orange bell pepper plant, maybe two.

Next year we are going to try this method for our tomatoes:
You use a five gallon plastic bucket with holes drilled in the bottom. This is definitely a space saver but can also deter "critters" from getting your tomatoes.

We'll continue to use containers for the rest.

The plants, unless you plant them from seed (we choose not to), cost around $5-$6 each and you can further save money by preparing your own soil, but we'll get into composting another time.

The best thing, even over saving money, is that the children LOVE fresh veggies. They'll gobble down the orange bell peppers dipped in ranch dressing and they pop the cherry tomatoes like grapes.

Do you have a garden? What do you plant?

For more tips on easy gardening or gardening in tight spaces, check out Passionate Homemaking.

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