Wednesday, March 16, 2011
More ways to cut your grocery bill!
The previous post covered salad greens (my top pick for saving $$$), carrots and pole beans. I won't repeat these, but do want to mention that salad greens really are the best way to save money in a backyard veggie garden - assuming that you like to eat a lot of salads! Gourmet greens like arugula and mache are super expensive at the grocery store, but a single seed pack will usually cover a good sized garden bed and provide months of salads. Just remember to keep succession planting for the longest and best quality harvest.
Here are a few other gourmet veggies that come to mind. Please feel free to comment with your own ideas!!
The amazing alliums (onions, scallions, shallots and leeks) - These crops are very accommodating in the garden. They don't take up much space and are very easy to grow. We're still eating our onions and shallots from the our harvest last September and the garden still has a few leeks hanging on in the frames and tunnels. We pulled the last of the scallions in late February - a mid-winter treat! Gourmet veggies like shallots and leeks are extremely expensive in the supermarket, but a no-brainer to grow.
Filet beans - As my kids would say, OMG! I saw a tiny packet of green filet beans (aka 'French filet beans') in the grocery store for $10! Yikes! Plus, it was last August.. prime picking season for these tender beans. Why on earth would anyone pay that kind of money for a handful of gourmet beans.. As I mentioned in my related post, pole beans are super-producers, but filet beans - pole or bush - are easily grown and offer a large harvest for minimal cost. The key to a bumper crop is to keep picking - every day for these super slender beans. As with snap beans, I like pole varieties to save space and increase my yield, so choose filet varieties like 'French Gold', 'Emerite' or 'Fortex'. $10!! I just can't get over that price! (In the photo, you can see an ultra-slender 'Maxibel' filet bush bean next to a slightly-overgrown 'Fortex' pole filet bean next to a regular yellow bean)
Heirloom Tomatoes - In my region, heirloom tomatoes have been very difficult to find at the supermarket - even the farmer's market! If you did luck upon some, they would be sky-high in terms of cost!! Yet, they are so easy to grow. We grow a wide variety in every colour and then we freeze them for winter in the deep freeze. They're great on a mid-winter pizza or baked into a rich sauce (with some frozen basil).. so good!
Well, that's all for now.. I'd love to hear your thoughts..