Friday, August 21, 2009

FRUGAL TIPS: Plant a Garden

Put a little effort and a little bit of money into planting a garden this spring and it's totally paying off. It would have paid off more if the deer and woodchuck would have left it alone. Next year I'll be investing in some fencing ;)

The yield of lettuce I got out of the garden more than paid for what I spent on the garden. My tomatoes are just about to ripen (if my 3-year-old will leave them on the plant long enough). The peppers are getting big, and I'll have more oregano than I'll know what to do with. My zucchini will keep me stock of my AMAZING ZUCCHINI BREAD for the rest of the year. I can't wait to taste the rest of the year's produce, fresh salsa, salads, and much more.

Next year will be even better with what I've learned. Now that I've seen how and when all the seasons play out for each, the amount of room they really need, etc. I can plant more efficiently and get more out of the space that I have.

I started several things from seeds to save money (green beans, lettuce, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, cilantro, nasturtium, carrots etc). Others are easier, and pretty innexpensive to start from plants (tomato, peppers, cucumbers, marigolds, watermelon, etc). A good weed barrier (old newspapers) helps as well as mulch (I like coco bean shells) to cut down on the amount of weeding and work. I'm building a compost pile from our kitchen scraps, use ash from our fires, and decaying leaves from the yard to enrich the soil. All easy and cheap ways to organically enrich the soil.

No room? When we rented while building our house, I did a container garden on the balcony. One container was salsa (cilantro, jalapenos, tomato) and the other was an Italian garden (peppers, rosemary, oregano, tomato).

Not sure what to do with herb. 1 tsp dried = 1 Tbsp Fresh. To dry fresh herbs to keep, hang them upside down in a paper bag until dried (3-5 days), throw them in a food processor or blender to chop them up. Keep them in the freezer to keep them fresh. This will save you TONS of money on herbs and they have far more flavor than store bought that have been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long.

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