Save Money with a Kitchen Garden
Food For Thought
Gardening saves money, yes, that is right, growing herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruit will save you money.
You do not need to utilize a large space to begin to take advantage of the money saving opportunities that gardening presents. A few containers on a patio are enough to realize a savings and provide you with fresh ingredients.
The kitchen garden, a garden that is designed to grow food that matches your family’s eating style is simple enough to create.
If you look at Patti Moreno’s (The Garden Girl) video you see how she set up a kitchen garden to supply ingredients for Italian cooking.
Tomatoes, basil, onions or chives, garlic, and oregano for example, can be grown in a small raised bed or container garden that, and this is an important part of the kitchen garden, is located close to the kitchen door. This saves you steps and time.
If you love salads then pick the greens you like and then as they beginning to grow, cut a selection of leaves for that meal’s salad.
The salad garden is a come-and-cut-again garden and you can enjoy fresh young greens for your salad throughout the season.
seeds are inexpensive, invest in heirloom vegetable seeds so you know you are getting the best quality. A pack of heritage cherry tomatoes will cost around $2.50 and give you more than enough seeds to plant.
You can also buy tomato, green pepper and many other plants as seedlings from the local plant nursery, a six pack of tomatoes seedlings will coat around $3-4.00 and give you a very reasonable return.
Garden Girl TV: Italian Kitchen Garden One
My Kitchen Garden
When planning your kitchen garden you need to be familiar with the climate as this is one of the greatest influences on what you can grow.
You can, of course, do a number of lengths to extend the gardening season if you live in a climate such as mine with its 90 day growing season, polytunnels, cold frames, greenhouses and starting seed indoors are all part of that effort.
You can also build wind breaks and create mini-climates on your site that will enable you to grow longer.
The next thing you need to know is the pattern of shade and light that plays across your garden. Vegetables and fruits like it sunny and warm but in hot climates salads greens and other plants can benefit from the afternoon shade.
My Kitchen Garden: Stews, Soups and Stir fries
As stews, soups and stir fries are my most common way of preparing meals, I would plant the following six plants in my next kitchen garden.
Onions: Plant onions in full sun in fertile, well drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5
Leeks: same as onions
Garlic: Plant in fall for summer harvest, in full sun but partial shade is okay, Soil shoul be rich in humus with a pH 6.0-7.0
Celery: also needs full sun, pH 5.5 to 7.5
Broccoli: full sun, pH 6.7- 7.2
Potatoes: Full sun, slightly acid soil pH 5.2-5.7 but will do okay at pH 5.8-6.5.
The main reason I mention the pH is to show that these plants can grow in the same plot and the soil modifications that may be necessary can be made at the section fo the garden devoted to the particular crop.
There are a number of other plants essential and a few herbs, basil, oregano and bay; as well as carrots and beans would round out this garden.
I also would plant a salad garden nearby with cherry tomatoes spinach and a variety of salad greens. A salad goes great with any meal and at least in the growing season I can have one as fresh as you can get it, straight from my own kitchen garden.
I save money because it cost very little to build and maintain this garden and by saving seed and composting I am well on my way to starting next year's garden an no money has been spent.
Now, if you really want to save, learn how to preserve what you grow, but that is a hub for another day.
Preserving Food: Dehydrating
- Preserving Food: Dehydrating
Dehydrating food is an age old way to preserve fresh foods for later use. It has been around a lot longer than any other preservation method, is simple, and less labor intensive than freezing or canning.
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I am not talking about growing hydroponically which is an option but using natural light to keep your family supplied in some fresh produce all year round.