Thursday, May 31, 2018

Project Pantry - Part 3 Gardens & Fresh

It is gardening time for many of us.  There are so many things you can grow and so many ways to grow them.
I hear people everyday say "I don't have a yard" so they can't grow anything.  Sure you can.  You may not be growing a ton of food, but any that you grow is a blessing to your budget and your health!

If you positively think you can't grow something - think about roadside farm stands, farm markets, and family and friends.  There are always options to getting fresh produce and preserving it in some way for later.
You can freeze, or can, or dehydrate.

BASIC VEGGIES

Tomato - so many things you can do with them besides a BLT!!!!!  Pasta sauce, pizza, sauce, salsa, Rotel mix, plain old canned tomatoes and juice.

Cucumbers - can be eaten fresh, made into relish and pickles.  Easy to do.  Pickles can be fermented and refrigerated - don't even need a canning pot.

Salad Fixings - lettuce, radish, carrots, etc.  Easy to grow and take up little space.  These can be grown in planters on patios easily.

Beans - need a little more space - but with good weather, they produce well

Peppers - there are so many kinds from sweet to super hot.  I used to have no luck with peppers, but the past few years they have really thrived for us.  I freeze them and use them in relish, and of course fresh.

Squash - there are many types of this as well.  Spaghetti, Acorn, Hubbard, zucchini, crookneck, butternut, etc.  I have found that summer squash like zucchini and crookneck take up the least amount of room and they can all be grown in pots.

There are many different veggies that can add excitement to your table.  You can grow potatoes, okra, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatillos, pumpkins, watermelons, just all sorts of things.  IF you grow and like okra - let me know.  I have a canning method that cans with NO slime!!!!! (I'll post at a later date)


 Farm markets and farm/roadside stands can be great resources for fresh goodies.  In many of our older neighborhoods (with large yards) people have self serve stands set up with an honor system of payment.  A box is screwed down and locked - and you leave appropriate amount in slot for what you are purchasing.  I love this, and have purchased many times.
Friends and family may have gardens that you can barter to get goods from.
Farmer markets are a little more expensive - but they have great choices.  REMEMBER they have done all the work for you - so you are paying for that.

Gleaning is another method of getting produce.  You can often find abandoned orchards, wild patches of berries, mushrooms, nuts, etc. - if you just take time to get out and about.  Many farmers will allow gleaning of their fields at the end of harvest time.  The produce may not be perfect, but it is still good!
Some areas have community gardens - which is a wonderful thing!

REGROW food.  The bottom ends of celery and bunch lettuces can be regrown.  Many people only use the green part of green onions and regrow the from the white part.  (We eat the whole thing at our house!).  Many older sprouted potatoes can be grown into future food (best if organic).

You can buy from the grocery as well and prepare for the winter as well.  Look for markdowns and super sales.
Orchards and places like Fresh Thyme often offer great prices as well.  Look at ethnic stores - you can often find a variety of fresh veggies and fruit there.

     Dried tomato skins to powder.  Use for flavoring.  Use every part you can!  Waste not want not.

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You can have an actual garden plot, you can grow in pots and planters, you can also grow many items like peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, etc. in amongst your flower beds.  Veggie plants are pretty too - so place them throughout the yard.  I am a firm believer that lawns are wasted real estate - use them to grow food if you can. (Yes, I still have some lawn - but I am getting older!!!)
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DOES IT SAVE MONEY?  In most cases, I would say yes!!!!  Growing your own each year, doesn't cost much (once you get started).  Now if you purchase items, it may cost a little - BUT you will know exactly what is your food when you put it back for winter.  No chemicals or preservatives - JUST REAL FOOD!

Get started this year - prep your pantry (whether freezing, canning or drying) with real food.  You will be amazed at how good it tastes and how much it helps out the winter budget.


IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS about canning, freezing or dehydrating - ASK!  Hopefully we can all aid each other in getting as much knowledge as possible.  Give your questions, and I will be glad to do a post about it!

HAPPY GARDENING AND PREPPING!

19 comments:

  1. I remember one summer when the kids were young and we were very, very broke, we lived off our garden, and I mean lived. We ate a lot of different veggies at every meal and they were delicious.

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    1. That could me every summer. We eat very little meat in the summer. and we generally have zucchini fixed some way at least 5X a week. Tomatoes every day!

      A garden can truly be a life saver and a budget saver. It's also really healthy.

      Thank you for sharing that - it may help someone else realize IT'S OK!

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  2. Lettuce and herbs are so easy to grow in pots. You can use some and they keep on growing. I tell Hubby the lawn is a waste but he won't let me dig it up. Oh well. I'll be happy with the gardens that I have.

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    1. Yes lettuce and herbs are so easy. No excuse not to grow. They can be kept in the house in the winter.
      I agree - I have enough garden to mess with - if I were younger........

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  3. We dehydrated and powdered several items last year. It's a great way to ensure that NOTHING goes to waste. It's a great tip and another great blog post, Cheryl.

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    1. Good for you. Isn't it amazing what you can do with WASTE? I know we al used to throw a lot of things away that we now use.
      Dehydrating and powdering allows us to get some great flavors in things and sometimes be a little 'sneaky'.
      Thanks.

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  4. Our garden is in Cheryl. I can't wait for the flavor and like you say the savings are great!

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    1. Yay!!!!! I am so glad you got it all in. I keep thinking about that first tomato!!!!!
      ENJOY!

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  5. Our "garden" is truly a work in progress. I add a container or two each year. My tomatoes are looking good so far!

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    1. That is great. Nothing wrong with adding to it as you go. Glad it is growing. Mmmmmm tomatoes.

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  6. Great post as always, Cheryl! I live in an apartment without a balcony and my growing space is on my windowsill. I do have small pot of green onions doing quite well. I belong to my local Buy Nothing group (buynothingproject.org)and recently posted a request on our Facebook page asking if a member might have an abundance of rhubarb in their garden and would be willing to share some. A member replied that she did and since I no longer drive she delivered 3 lbs to me. I've made a cake that I shared at a community supper here at my apartment bldg, made sauce and froze some. The member said she'd bring me more when it is ready. I, in turn, posted one dozen pint canning jars and a different member came to pick them up. At 83 I'm not doing much canning except small amounts of jam now and then. Shirley near Seattle

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    1. How fantastic! Sounds like a group here that we call Free Cycle. I am so glad to know that you can get fruit and veggies that way. How totally kind of them to deliver it to and offer you more.
      How kind of you to share with neighbors!\

      See you prove my point - anyone can garden even if a little bit. Green onions will be tasty. You could probably grow herbs as well - maybe even leaf lettuce.

      Thank you so much for sharing that with us. We all give each other new ideas and I had totally forgotten about the FREE groups!

      You take care there YOUNG83!!!!!
      I love that Shirley!

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  7. Hello. I am a first time vistor. I am so glad I popped by from a mutual blogger. I loved this post. This ia my first year container gardening. It is going well. We are actually planning to go berry picking tomorrow morning. Thank you for sharing. I would like to more about dehydrating or drying.

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    1. Hello there Chrissy. So glad you stopped by. Container gardening is fun and gives those with little land an opportunity to garden. YUM, enjoy your berries.
      I sure hope you stick around, we always have fun and lots of neat ideas.
      Look forward to you posting again. Have a great weekend.

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  8. Good afternoon Cheryl,

    I think you covered it all in this post. I am living in an apartment now also. On my patio railing there are 2 boxes, each housing a tomato plant. Each tomato plant has at least one tomato on it, still ripening. In one of those boxes are spaghetti squash plants that have set flowers, and in the other box, there are cucumber plants that have a ton of flowers too. I am really looking forward to eating from those two boxes. They will serve me well.

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    1. Norma you are another good example of what I was saying. Sounds like you will have lots of good fresh eating this summer!
      Thanks for letting us know what you have growing - it just verifies to non-believers!
      Have a good one.

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  9. Cheryl the fresh part of the pantry is improtant. I have big ambitions about this! With expansion in mind I am saving seeds, potting cuttings and making plans. It is winter here... by spring I hope to be able to get going!

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    1. You are so correct. It is great to be planning ahead. it is a constant job to keep our families healthy and well fed.
      It is great that you are planning and preparing for spring!

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  10. I was at this place last week. This is such a joy as a place for food! I had a beautiful time at Chicago venues here. It reminded me of another center in the city. A beautiful, wonderful place that had excellent atmosphere.

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