Welcome to Dollar Stretcher Community Sign in | Join | Help
in Search

Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

Last post 02-22-2011 9:16 PM by flaja. 20 replies.
Page 1 of 3 (21 items) 1 2 3 Next >
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  • 02-03-2011 10:39 AM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

     There is evidence that food prices will only continue to rise. This is happening around the world. If income is not increasing to meet the rising costs then other solutions must be found.

    Many more may be turning to gardening to grow edibles that don't come with the same price tag as the grocery store. I am one of the unexperienced with this myself but I continue to experiment and learn. For those just starting out with a garden, what is the best way to start frugally, continue to keep it cost effective and not become overwhelmed by the work it can take?

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



    Filed under:
  • 02-03-2011 10:56 AM In reply to

    Re: Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

    With you living in the south, you have a much longer growing season, than I do here in Ohio. I would start off small, only growing things you and your family eat and/or enjoy. As far as limiting the amount of work it takes for upkeep, etc., keeping your garden small, going vertical (using trellises, fencing, poles, etc) will maximize your space, without adding to your workload. Also, container gardening is very low maintenance, and can be low cost, by using things like buckets, cans, big butter tubs (for herbs, etc.), just about any kind of plastic container you could think of. My mom has used old plastic shoe boxes that were cracked or missing their lids to grow things like lettuce & spinach. She uses 3 or 4 of them, which is gives her enough space to grow what she & my step dad can eat. And she staggers the plantings as well, so she never runs out. Hope this helps some.

    ~*~Angie~*~

  • 02-03-2011 11:59 AM In reply to

    Re: Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

    I highly recommend the Square Foot Gardening Method. Here is a link on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Square-Foot-Gardening-Garden-Space/dp/1579548563/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1296752147&sr=8-2

    You can grow a lot of crops in a little space using the square foot method. As Angie said, start small, don't try to grow too much the first time around, and experiment with what grows well in your area.

    It doesn't have to be a lot of work to keep up with a garden. The initial set up of the plots (if you're planting in the ground) would be the most work. Other than that, it might take an hour a week if you're keeping a small garden. Really not much at all.

    Stacie

    http://holdinghandswithmyhoney.blogspot.com/
  • 02-03-2011 2:34 PM In reply to

    • rolo
    • Top 50 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on 04-04-2007
    • Michigan
    • Posts 1,928

    Re: Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

     If you don't have an existing garden spot then the prep of the ground is timeconsuming and a lot of hard work--tilling, etc. Talk to some experienced gardners in your area or call you extension service for advice.  Be prepared to put up the surplus via freezing or canning.  You have to plan for the expense of canning--you will need jars, lids, rings and a pressure canner.  Freezing requires a bit of preparation and plenty of ziplocs or containers and the space in a freezer. 

    We set out to save money via our gardens but, to be honest, we probably aren't saving that much.  For us, the bonus is that we know how the plant is grown and how it has been processed.  Quality vs savings--quality wins.  Some savings,  yes, but not a big amount.  imho  

     

    Lorrie

    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~~ Dalai Lama XIV -

  • 02-03-2011 2:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

    rolo:
    Be prepared to put up the surplus via freezing or canning.  You have to plan for the expense of canning--you will need jars, lids, rings and a pressure canner.  Freezing requires a bit of preparation and plenty of ziplocs or containers and the space in a freezer. 

    The great thing about square foot gardening is that you don't have to plant a lot of crops. That way you don't end up with lots of surplus crops that you don't know what to do with.

    If you are a beginning gardener, just plant a few things like lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, and maybe spinach. Just a few plants of each will give you enough that you don't get stuck with lots of leftovers.

    Stacie

    http://holdinghandswithmyhoney.blogspot.com/
  • 02-03-2011 3:26 PM In reply to

    Re: Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

    There is also container gardening.  I do that to supplement my square foot garden.  I've had medium to good success with container-ing potatoes, peppers, carrots, kohlrabi, cherry tomatoes, and various herbs.  Gramma says kale will grow in a container just fine too. 

  • 02-03-2011 4:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

    I just remembered that Mom said that leeks are easy to grow. They are $2.99 a pound at Harris Teeter and other places. I use them in potato leek soup. I don't know anything about how long they keep, but you could dehydrate them.

  • 02-03-2011 7:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

    Virginia Needlewoman:
    I just remembered that Mom said that leeks are easy to grow. They are $2.99 a pound at Harris Teeter and other places. I use them in potato leek soup. I don't know anything about how long they keep, but you could dehydrate them.

    I'm going to try some!  I love leek and potato soup!

  • 02-03-2011 8:07 PM In reply to

    • gayla50
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on 09-24-2007
    • Western North Carolina
    • Posts 8,491

    Re: Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

    we do garden  and it does help the food bill.. 

    we love vegetables here and eat just them alot during spring and summer ...

    we grow alot of leeks love them

    Gayla

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Frugal Food and Cooking and in Slow Cooker Foods



    Purpose is what gives life a meaning
  • 02-03-2011 8:35 PM In reply to

    Re: Gardening to Reduce Food Expense

    Brandy:
    For those just starting out with a garden, what is the best way to start frugally, continue to keep it cost effective and not become overwhelmed by the work it can take?

    I moved into this home in 2006. 

    The first thing I did in the yard was start the garden.  The soil here is heavy clay, & altho I "planted" zucchini, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, and some beans, only the zucchini & beans produced well.  Looking back, that would be because they were planted where the previous owner had located the pen for his dog.  I began to haul buckets lined with trash bags & filled with old horse manure home from the stable where we boarded our pony. 

    I bought some Lodgestones (the interlocking brick things that form small retaining walls) as I could afford them, & picked some up from freecycle, & made the garden slope into 3 tiers.  I filled the tiers with layers of old manure, leaves that I raked up from local parks & churches, & began to dump the kitchen waste (eggshells, potato & carrot peelings, etc) and the grass clippings on the "garden".  I filled the top tier first, then the 2nd, then the 3rd, so that as I had funds to create the tier, I could fill it with the mixture of leaves & old manure, then planted it.  I use the grass clippings to mulch my plants to keep down the weeds.  I do not spray my lawn for weeds, until late fall after I have mowed for the last time.  This allows 6 months of winter for the chemical in the spray to break down so they do not affect the garden.  I have continued to improve the soil every year, using these same items, free for the gathering.   

    I also planted 2 red currant bushes & a rhubarb crown. I also watched freecycle & thrift stores for canning jars.  Network with people you know for this, too, since often when an older "grandma" goes into a nursing home or passes away, the head of the women's organization at their church "inherits" the canning jars if no one wants them.  My oldest DD once was given 14 dozen quart jars when she asked her Relief Society president if she knew where she could find some for not much, & the poor woman was delighted to get them out of her garage!

    The second year (2007) I planted some dwarf fruit trees & a strawberry bed, & finished the 2nd & 3rd garden tier. My garden yield the 2nd year was excellent: I filled all my canning jars with veggies from the garden & fruit I bought.  One of my neighbors gave me her leftover tomato plants from a pony pack where she only wanted 2 plants, & I shared some pimento plants I got for free with her.  I planted another rhubarb crown, more berry bushes & fruit trees, & froze a lot of currants. This was the year I discovered that the long-horned steers over the back fence would eat the trees I planted too close to that fence, so I had to replant 3 trees.

    Every year since, I have added more fruit trees or berry bushes, & continue to build the soil with the garden refuse, manure, grass clippings & leaves. This year (2010) I added a source for free coffee grounds, & fir needles (from "live" Christmas trees when they are dumped at the curb post-Christmas).  Fall of 2010 we picked 2 fruit boxes full of Elberta peaches from our little dwarf peach tree.  This spring (2011) I will plant another dwarf peach ( a Red Have), 2 more dwarf apple trees (Candy Crisp & Snow Sweet), & a crab apple tree, plus more berry bushes.  Some of the berries I am planting require acidic soil, and the fir needles & coffee grounds will help acidify my alkaline soil.

    Now, I could have bought compost & peat moss & all sorts of expensive stuff to "make" the garden faster, but I prefer to "make my own dirt".  It works better, it costs nothing & my plants grow very well in it.  If you look at thrift & yard sales, & let people know that you want to learn to can, most of them will help you.  Some of them will let you know if they find canning jars or equipment at a yard sale & some of them will buy it for you, if it is less than $2. I can't begin to tell you how many water bath canners I have purchased for other people.  Some people will give you their "odd" canning jars - - the ones that came as a gift of jam or jelly from someone who lives too far away to return the jar, etc.  I am learning to buy heirloom veggie seeds & save my own seeds, so the next year I don't have to buy. I have plenty of jars now, but I collect for 2 of my daughters, because I live in an area where people get rid of them, & they do not.

Page 1 of 3 (21 items) 1 2 3 Next >
About Us    Privacy Policy    Writers' Guidelines     Sponsorship     Media    Contact Us



Powered by Community Server (Commercial Edition), by Telligent Systems