So many people say, grow a garden and lower your grocery bill. My question for today though is; what if your garden fails?
This was devastating because Michigan as a very limited time to grow a garden and it wasn't looking good. After it quit raining it took about another 2 weeks before I could even step in the garden. When I finally was able to step foot in it I went right to work weeding and trying to make it grow.
This is my garden this morning after a nice gentle garden rain. This year I've explored many different ways to help get my garden off and running. Many of these helpful hints came from YouTube and they are working!
How to self pollinate tomatoes with an electric toothbrush.
How to make the onions I'm growing larger.
How to make a sickly plant better. We had an overabundance of sickly plants!
Our harvest so far:
So far we have harvested zucchini, cukes, lettuce, and peppers. We are about a month behind. We had to replant a lot of seed so we are still praying and hoping for a green bean harvest. Time is getting short before the first frost.
Let's though think about this, what if the garden never produced a thing? What if it just kept raining? What if everything I tried failed and I was never able to make it grow?
If my garden was all we had to live on, this year we would have starved.
Here are some Helpful Hints:
When you have a wonderful harvest -can everything you can! Don't let it go to waste. We have canned and dried goods leftover from last year thank goodness.
Stop at those roadside stands and buy some produce! Yep. these neighborhood stands. You know the ones, with the box in front of the table to put your money.
If you see a good price on fruit or vegetables at the supermarket, stock up. We just bought our blueberries on sale at Aldi's. We stocked up and put some in the freezer for the winter months.
Forage for your food or maybe you know someone will not use all the fruit they have. Ask and give it a try!
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Couldn't survive off it this year! Just wasn't in to it and then we had the rain and now dry - just a flop year for me. Enough to eat - so I will be happy.
We have a great farm market a couple miles away and they always have great prices on canning tomatoes, and squash and things.
The farmers market at the park is an option as well - it is one day a week. (The other is 7 days a week)
I will get what I need where ever I can. Watching for good prices at the store as well - canned or frozen is OK with me too.
We all got to do what ever is necessary to keep the pantries full.
We certainly lived off our garden when the kids were little. I am going to take stock of what I have canned next week. I think we will have too many tomatoes but I will can anyway as this post just reminded me of the year we had no tomatoes! I use them so much in cooking.
Tomatoes certainly come in handy in soups, chili, and stews. I'm glad you have an abundance. Have fun canning!
Some summers are just not as good - I'm so glad you have a good amount from last year too Cheryl.
Yes wherever the good prices are stock up on things if you can't grow them. It really helps keep the pantry full.
I remember when we were younger there were u pick farms for green beans and tomatoes. They have stopped that and that was such a cheap option. Maybe some people have them still.
My friend Sam, from the blog https://mssamwearsdresses.blogspot.com/
has said that when there is a bumper crop she always puts up as much as she can because in her experience a bumper crop one year is usually followed by floods or drought the next year. It's as if God is giving us the opportunity to be prepared. This year has been a bumper crop of berries of all kinds. The rains seem to producing an amazing amount of them in our area.
I've always said that we would starve if our lives depended on a garden. I've always lost money gardening....especially if you put in the cost of all our labor. It's very labor intensive if you produce anything.
I have kept a garden budget before & figured just how much I've put into it. I've wanted to weigh my harvests but never have done that. I think weighing then figuring the cost at the current price during harvest gives a pretty accurate number of how much it makes. Then subtract what you spent...or hope you grow enough to subtract what you spent!
Yes it does certainly seem like a bumper crop follows a loss of some type your friend Sam is right.
I've never figured the cost of my labor. Man, I've lost every year. It's a lot of work! I spend a $100 a year and come out way ahead every time but now oh man this labor thing has me in a hole too!
I keep track of the amount of vegetables I get out of the garden (right hand column) but I've never kept track of the weight. Sounds like something to do next year. Great idea Jenny.
Hi Vickie and a great subject thank you. Glad you were able to harvest some items from your garden and you are right put it up and as much as you can fit.
Previously we have lived off our garden literally for a couple of years and fed other families as well. We worked out that including our costs that we came out ahead by $3500 for not organic produce and $4500 ahead if we priced organic produce. Our local country area is really expensive for produce.
We forage too and put up mulberries into the freezer recently and trade with others vegetables for eggs, honey and even manures for the gardens. At the moment though we are setting up our gardens in our new home.
When we had good harvests we washed, blanched and froze all of our produce to last a year or slightly more so if we had a failed crop one year we could get by without purchasing any vegetables.
At the moment until we get our gardens up and running we are picking up any cheap vegetables we see and blanch and freeze them. Recently we picked up really cheap capsicums and diced and froze them.
The big problem here at the moment is that Australia is in drought and as of September our water restrictions will be 100 litres of water per day. We will still be able to grow a small scale garden as most of the house runs on tank water. It is going to be challenging but we will still be able to supplement our pantry with homegrown items from the gardens.
Lorna, I'm sorry to hear about your drought restrictions. That would make it so hard to grow a garden to live on too.
I've never thought about freezing cucumbers. I'll have to look into that. Do they stay crisp?
Getting the cheapest veggies or fruit you can is a great way to fill up your freezer or pantry shelf.
I need to get with it on foraging though.
Hi Vicky unfortunately cucumbers can't be frozen as they go mushy. But if you pickle and can them that would probably work.
Here is a link to freezing vegetables and just scroll down 3/4's of the way down the page to freezing instructions and click on whatever vegetable you have excess of -
There is also pickling and canning recipes on this page too that you may want to look up for your cucumbers.
Hope this helps.
whoops Lorna I mixed up Capsicums with cucumbers! Yes we freeze peppers too! Love them in the winter. I thought that was odd!
Thanks for the information ..it's always good to have!
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