Friday, March 11, 2011
Rising Food Prices - What to grow to save money..??
Here are my ideas, but please feel free to add your own thoughts - I'd love to hear them!
We eat a LOT of salad.. daily, in fact. But, a small plastic package costs about $4 from the grocery store and only really makes enough salad for 2 to 3 servings. If we buy 5 of those packages a week, that's $20 a week on salad alone! Yet, most salad greens are very quick growing and offer a large harvest.. plus, seeds are so inexpensive and you can grow a HUGE amount of salad from a single seed packet. Your best bet is to practice succession planting with your salad greens - plant a little more seed every 2 weeks or so for a continual harvest. Plus, if you use simple season extenders, you can eat salad (in zones 4 and above) 12 months of the year!
Another bonus is that many greens can take a bit of shading so you can sow early and mid summer crops under A-frame trellises and pole bean teepees to get the most out of your garden space.
My top salad picks which offer the best bang for your buck are: Leaf lettuce, mesclun mix, arugula, tatsoi and spinach. We also love our Asian mixes that contain mustards, arugula and mizuna, which are very quick growing and produce for a long time in the garden.
I do love snap beans - almost obsessively - and when it comes to super-producers, it's hard to top pole beans. They offer 2 to 3 times the harvest of bush beans (in the same amount of space) and produce over a long period of time - usually up to 8 weeks (versus 3 weeks for bush types)! Plus, they are grown vertically up trellises, teepees or on fences and therefore don't use up too much valuable garden space.
My top picks are Emerite, Fortex, French Gold and Purple Podded Pole. I also hear great things about Lazy Housewife, so I may have to give that heirloom bean a try too! Not this year though, I have NO more space!
In a single square foot of garden space, you can grow 16 carrots. That's pretty impressive and in our 3 x 5 foot cold frames, we can grow about 240 carrots, which feed us all winter long. Plus, most carrots are ready in just 60 to 75 days.
We love Napoli, Purple Haze and Atomic Red. The photo is Atomic Red, which turns even more red when lightly cooked.
What other veggies are good choices for a money saving grocery garden?