You Can Do It!
In this time of high cost and people losing their jobs we need to change what is right in front of us. You can be assured that food prices are not going to go down. In fact they will get much higher. Ask yourself, what does a real vine ripened tomato taste like---no, no! not those in the store that have that big sign in front of the bin that claim that they are vine-ripened because they left a little piece of stem attached. They have been picked green and chemically treated and waxed for shipping. Not to mention where they came from. When I ask that question, I usually get a vague answer like; (I'll check, or from the South,) which could be south of the border where chemicals are widely used.
As I look out my window at my neighborhood. I see small houses that were all built in the early fifty's sitting on small lots. They all have neatly manicured lawns with pretty flower beds. Every spring most of the flowers are replaced with some newer colors and hanging plants are abundant hanging from every hook available. Some yards have a tree or two for shade. Now their back yards are usually a bit larger but not much.
Maybe it's time to change are habits of looking like the JONES down the street---they don't live there anymore, their house was Foreclosed on. Instead of replacing all those flowers this spring, just add a tomato plant here and there and next to that old shrub a pepper plant will blend in just fine. Those hanging pots love cherry tomatoes. Those borders at the base of the flower bed where weeds want to grow, maybe juicy strawberry plants might just like it too?
Yes folks, it's time we went back to some of the basics. We all complain about the high cost of food. At my house we have not had to buy vegetable's from the store for several years. We seal and freeze straight from the garden each year and how good it taste in the dead of winter. Plus we are not putting all those chemicals in our body. My son does all the planting and I see to the canning. You would be amazed at how much food one can grow by just taking what you have and planting some seeds.
You say! Oh I work and I don't have time. How hard is it to water a plant? You even have mother nature helping you to do that once in awhile. Now for those of you that live in an apartment, if you have a balcony you can at least grow a few tomatoes or a pepper. I did it when I worked and lived in apartments. A simple trash basket sitting on the small balcony had its rewards.
Yes, strawberry borders still taste delicious where ever they are planted. We do have a little problem with some of the creatures wanting to sample them but a roll of bird netting takes care of that problem. It's not that we don't want to share with them. I found out a long time ago, that you can mix the two elements. We have bird feeders right out side of our garden they fill up on seeds and then maybe to say thanks they go to the garden and snack on some insects that might be under a leaf or two without harming the plants.
Pepper Plants being tucked into the flower beds;
If you have a back yard and like most of us complained about keeping it mowed. Well do what we did and divided it into half and plant a garden or any size that you want to start with. You will be amazed at how much food it will produce. For the price of gas that you paid for with the lawn mower, you could have bought a lot of seed.
Tomato Plants--Back Yard:
Last years tomato plants that were planted in the flower beds that previously held a mixture of chrysanthemums. These plants not only produced enough tomatoes for our family with spaghetti sauce, whole tomatoes that went into stew, etc, but also some our neighbor's that are not physically able to have a garden. Still, there were more than enough to share with the local homeless shelter.
Another simple system of cutting cost, is to use the rain water that you usually just watch go down the down the rain spout. Any container that will hold water, we use simple 55 gal trash barrels and one or two tank barrels that we found at a flea market.
Back Yard Garden:
Preparing the spring garden after it has sit through a hard winter does take a little hard work for a couple of days but hey! The exercise will do us good. We have been adding in raised beds which cuts down on weeding plus drying out. We also use an ancient technique that the Amazonians used to improve their soil and build carbon that makes the microorganisms live and reproduce at a slowed pace, so other soil-enriching forms of organic matter last longer. We heat our home with large wood stoves and a fire-place. The ash and charcoal is placed on the garden and turned under in the spring.
In The Garden:
Staking tomato Plants. Those little wire tomato supporters never worked for us so he used wood stakes and plastic strips made from plastic trash bags to give them support. After all, if you planted Beef Steak size tomatoes they need more support. Also notice that old discarded rugs make great path covers and it keeps out the weeds.
That old broken ladder makes a great tower for pole beans or cucumber to climb up and convenient to pick from. The scallions or green onions seemed to like it in that old thrown out ice-chest. What is junk to some is convenient for those plants.
There will be sweet corn on the cob on our dinner table anytime we want it. We plant the sweet "Silver Queen," because it is our favorite. The ears 8-9" and the kernels are creamy white. Of course there are many varieties that are excellent too.
Many other food sources have been planted and tucked into those nooks and crannies around our yard. Blue-berry bushes, grapes are going to be added this season.
Yes,you can plant shade trees and they are nice. We plant fruit trees and not only benefit from the shade but also the fruit. We now have peaches, apples and figs.
It is time to getting back to depending more on ourselves. Here in West Virginia we tend to lean in that direction. Your body will thank you and your wallet might have an extra dollar in it?
When a man's stomach is full it makes no difference whether he is rich or poor---EURIPIDES