I went shopping today, and although the fruit and veg were far from the most expensive part of my visit to the grocery store, my bill for a week of dining was far from reasonable. This annoys me, because we really shouldn’t have to get much more than milk and meat and cheese from the grocery store if our garden is producing… but it’s not.
Last year, Mat and I had a killer garden. We had more tomatoes than you could shake a stick at, a variety of spianches and lettuces, carrots, potatoes, peas and beans. All produced well. We let some go to seed to replant. I froze some of the broad beans, and we had to compost many of our vegetables that we couldn’t get to in time. We always had a salad last summer.
We had a few other items as well, kale and kholrabi, and a few other experminental crops that also did reasonably well, and we learned to cook soups and stews over the winter, and completely stopped purchasing tinned soups.
But then, somewhere between the business picking up steam and the Blackwood Marathon training taking up most of my free time, the garden got neglected. There were a few lingering crops of beetroots, carrots, peas and beans, some of which we were able to harvest and use, but many of which fell victim to the ravages of a severe winter. We were too cold and too dry for too long, and Mat and I watered the garden inconsistently at best.
A few weeks prior to the Blackwood, I took a day off and weeded and mulched three of our six main beds. We have finally turned the reticulation (automatic sprinkers) back on, and the gardens will get 10 minutes of water twice a week now… plus whatever grey water we collect from our showers that doesn’t get used on the flower beds. There are some struggling beans (the ear wigs have been voracious this year and now our minimal efforts are being destroyed by insects), a capsicum (bell pepper) and some struggling corn on the go.
The remaining three beds need to be weeded, compost added, and mulched. Everything needs a good seaweed feed and some dynamic lifter and more water!
And then we are going to get growing again!!
This year I want to focus again on the few crops that we have done well with, or that we really love, planting larger quantities, and staggered plantings so we have ongoing crops. Hopefully I’ll learn how to preserve more of these foods too.
- spinach (I put this in nearly everything I eat, spinach rocks!)
- lettuce (baby cos is the best ever!)
The optional crops we might try growing:
- corn (we have not been very good at corn, but we’ll figure it out eventually)
- capsicums and chilies
Between making our own bread and growing our own vegetables we can really reduce our dependence on the grocery store. Eventually, we’d love to get chickens or ducks and then we’ll have our own eggs too! It’s so much nicer to know the worst thing that’s in or on your food is the dirt from your own back yard. Plus, it’s a great way to make a positive impact on the environment, and growing things is just downright wholesome and a feel-good hobby.
Hopefully it won’t be long before I can say, “Goodbye Woolworths! I don’t need you anymore!”
Do you make an effort to avoid the big grocery stores? Do you grow your own veggies? Preserve, freeze, can?