Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sown and Harvest #8

Welcome to my Sunday post dedicated to all things garden, landscape, and plant related.

As you know from several previous posts I have a raised bed which has several varieties of lettuces, spinach, radishes, green onions and carrots. Get yer thinkin' caps on because I am about school you on the economics of a garden.
I am not gonna talk about the initial investment of the raised bed, but rather the seeds. My initial investment for my cold weather crop seeds (after discounts and coupons--seriously I do not like to pay full price for ANYTHING!) was $8.52.

Every week when I go to the grocery store I was spending $3.99 for a container of mixed greens (for my Guinea pigs) and $2.99 for a bag of salad mix for me and the hubbs. EVERY WEEK! Add that up. It's ok- I'll wait....hum hum hum hummity hum hum... Don't forget to carry the...Okay Okay--I will let you figure it out...

Um yeah-it's a lot of money. $362.96 for lettuce per year! I have  been harvesting the equivalent of 4-8 ounces of lettuce of every other day for 3 weeks which has been the perfect portions. None is wasted like when I buy it from the store. It isn't sitting in my fridge going to waste. Or turning bad.

This is the mix for my Guinea Pigs. Lettuce, spinach leave, baby radishes and radish greens.

Washed and ready for the fridge.

 In 3 weeks I have saved myself  $20.94*.  My seeds have nearly paid for themselves 2 times over.  By doing staggered sowing (Sowing new seeds every 2-3 weeks) I can guarantee a continued harvest from Spring up to first freeze. During the really hot months I will need to create a shade house to avoid my lettuce going to bolt (set seed and flower). And it is possible it may get to hot and I won't be able to have my cool weather crops during the hottest part of July and August. Which means I would resume lettuce for September and October. Come winter time I will have to resort to buying it unless I can get a functional greenhouse. Regardless, even if I only get 6-8 months I am still saving mucho dinero. And that makes me happy!
*(Correction to the math-oops!)

Add to this I will be soon harvesting carrots (at $0.99 a bag every 2 weeks). What isn't consumed fresh will be canned. The same goes for my spinach. Except I won't can it. I will blanch and freeze it. One last thing--by growing these (and other vegetables) I know what I am getting. I know how it is treated (NO PESTICIDES), no worrying about if it is clean. If it is contaminated. If it is treated with preservatives. I am controlling the source. Controlling my health. And controlling my budget. Alright-y  then I will step down off of my soap box... for now!

Now I am going to share a trick for saving money that is also good for the planet. I am always looking for things to start my seedling in for spring because buying the peat pots are expensive! I always reuse any plant container I have if I am lucky enough to purchase plants. But it is never enough, so I am always scrounging for pots. I could use anything from yogurt and margarine tubs to egg containers or berry packages. 
I use the extra vinyl mini blind slats as plant markers!

Years ago I made seed pots from newspaper but stopped due the heavy metals in the newsprint ink. You could still use this for flowers, I just don't recommend it for anything you will consume. Besides I figure there is enough contamination leaching into the water table. I was reading one of the blogs I follow, Sky Minded & Ever Growing, and Melissa had a GREAT ideal to use toilet paper rolls. You can see how she makes here seed pots here. I told her I was gonna steal her ideal, haha!

So I pirated her ideal and put my own fold on it. To see how I make seed pots click HERE.
FYI--these are just cherry tomatoes. Wait until you see ALL of the seedlings I have for regular tomatoes, sweet peppers and hot peppers!
My poor PeeGee Hydrangea that I thought the hubbs had killed when he was weed whacking is making a comeback.

 There are 4 little green shoots on it. It's ALIVE!!  I have threatened him with bodily harm if he goes near it again--just sayin'  . I am so happy, because I don't have any hydrangeas and they make wonderful cut flowers.

And my Jean Marie Dahlia tubers had shoots forming already. I need to expand my flower bed but haven't had a chance. So I temporarily potted them in a container to transplant later.
This what it will look like when it blooms. It is a Dinner Plate Dahlia. That means the blooms can be larger than 10 inches!

So that's it for this week. What's growing in you garden?

1 comment:

  1. Even if it weren't better economically to grow my own, just the taste and SAFETY aspects would always keep me gardening. But wow-that is a HUGE savings!
    Love the dahlia--and I'm so happy your hydrangea is making a comeback. Men!


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