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Will garden for food

Will garden for food

Tread over at the 20 Year Challenge wrote about her garden recently, and about the financial benefits of not eating meat. The price of meat IS going up. I about choked the other day when I saw that the chicken breasts at Costco were up to $3-something a pound. I’m now paying $25 for a package that I used to pay about $12-$15 for a year or so ago. That’s about a 50% increase, so, ouch. I guess it’s time to actively hunt for specials. Luckily we don’t eat a whole lot of meat. That package and a little ground beef will last us a month. We eat a lot of pasta instead.

The strange thing is, while I would love to have strong vegetarian-leanings because it’s healthier, I just can’t bring myself to eat most vegetables. I feel silly admitting that yes, I am 39 years old, and I don’t eat my vegetables. I know it’s bad for me, and I want to change, but am making slow progress. I’ve even gone so far as to check out that Jessica Seinfeld cookbook from the library — the one where you mix vegetable purees into your food to fool your kids. I’m hoping to fool myself instead.

Meanwhile, I’ve been tending our new garden faithfully every day. It’s my first-ever attempt at gardening, so I was thrilled to see that the tomato plants are growing larger and the corn, peas, and carrots are sprouting. They look so cheerful poking out of the black dirt. (Anyone who lives in Arizona will instantly know by that statement that I hauled in the soil for the garden. The rest of our yard is good old caliche and rock.)

What about you? How are you handling increasing food prices? I read recently that gardening is up dramatically in general, and I wonder if this is why. For me it was just coincidence, but being able to spend less at the grocery store will be a nice side benefit if the plants actually continue to grow.

View Comments (11)
  • You’re right – the price of groceries is INSANE! I was a vegetarian for 14 years, and it used to be that if you weren’t a meat eater, you could get a cart-load of food at the grocery store for a minimal amount of money. These days, that’s just not true – it’s crazy what produce costs now! I joined so I could do better at cutting coupons and using them when sale prices are lowest, but it is a pain in the butt to spend the two to three hours a week cutting and sorting little pieces of paper while my two kids spin around me and there are never coupons for fresh veggies. In my past homes, I grew tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, lemons, peppers, herbs, heck I even tried carrots. At our new rental, I’m dealing with resident bunnies who have taken every strawberry that gets even close to ripe. As soon as I can spring for cages, I’m going to get gardening again. It’s not just because of the price of food, but also because I don’t want to feed my kids veggies covered with pesticides and chemicals. My 8 month old doesn’t need shiny, perfect fruit — you know?

  • One of the radio cooking shows I listen to did a whole segment on grocery shopping tips. They invited people to call in with tips on how to make grocery shopping less expensive, more efficient, and more pleasant. It was great!

  • Congrats on your garden! I would love to get into gardening someday. And Safeway has boneless chicken breast for 1.77 lb this week. I just got the ad last night. That’s a pretty good deal, you should be able to stock up enough to last you a long time.

  • How are you growing your corn? I dug up 5 three sisters mounds and am hoping for the best, but everything I read and everyone I’ve talked to says you have to grow at least 50 sq. foot of corn for any worthwhile yield.

    I hated veggies until rather recently, even though I grew up on a farm where my parents grew eggplant, squash, and tomatoes fresh every Summer. Slowly – very, very slowly – I am learning to incorporate them into my diet. I’ve convinced myself that certain veg are great in certain dishes. Green peppers are only acceptable on pizza, for instance. Tomatoes are good with avocado and swiss cheese. Zucchini and squash make a nice lasagna. And veg from your own garden is somehow a million times more delicious than anything grown anywhere else.

  • I’m just hoping for the best on the corn as well. (And I’ll consider ANY corn that’s edible a success, even if it’s just one ear.) I did plant them in a square to (hopefully) help facilitate pollination.

  • I know what you mean about veggies (and I’m a Dietician by training!). I still cannot eat peas except straight from the vine. I usually harvested my veggies as babies – 3 inch zucchinis, 4 inch carrots. BTW did you know you can eat carrot tops? I add them to salads.

    Try stir frying veggies, you usually can incorporate more that way and they taste better. Even radishes can be stir fried.

    I now grow, in Earth boxes and large flower pots, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, carrots, onions, garlic chives, sugar snap peas, swiss chard, a few carrots, parsley, lemon balm, mexican tarragon and romaine. I’d love to have an ‘in the ground’ garden but my 55+ community does not allow that. Besides, it’s Florida and we have sand and fire ants.

    Corn normally only has 2 ears per stalk – you really have to grow a lot.

  • I’ve been trying to keep my food expenditures the same by cutting down how much I go out to eat. Unfortunately, I’m noticing a HUGE change i my grocery bills, so I think I might have to take out a lot of prepared foods….and start cooking more. UGH!

    I’m lucky that I really like vegetables. However, I don’t like to cook…and I’m not s a huge fan of raw vegetables.

  • How are you dealing with the sun so far? I’m in AZ as well. I had a little patio garden started and my tomato, strawberry & zuc plants were doing really well… until they got sunscorched one particularly bright day (even though they got shade for a lot of the day), and then there was no saving them. Such a bummer.

  • Jac, so far I’m just hoping for the best. Everything I planted says “full sun” so I’m hoping they will be ok. I’ve heard of people putting up sunshades though.

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