I can’t even imagine the amount of waste I have done in my lifetime. How often do you cut vegetables and throw out the scraps? If you aren’t composting, or feeding animals the scraps the amount of waste is incredible.
If you follow this blog, you’ll know I have been getting pretty stir crazy the last few months. Gardening has really turned into a passion of mine. Turning it off this winter has been very hard for me. I like to keep busy. I like accomplishing little projects.
Watching my food pantry dwindle has been depressing. I can hear my Mom saying, “that’s what it’s there for, enjoy it”
Perhaps next year I won’t see my pantry as such a shrine, or work a work of art as I did in my first year. Currently, I love to look at it and not let anyone touch. We eat from it almost daily, and with each lid that pops open, comes excitement and gratitude! Nothing you get from paying 99cents for the same items in an aluminum can. Inside every jar is the sweet taste of summertime. Still as fresh as when we put it inside.
I am so proud of all the hard work on those shelves. We really have enjoyed the delicious fruits of our labors! Just last night we enjoyed pears that were so delicious it felt like dessert.
So what about now? If you are a gardener like me, you may be asking yourself this during these winter months. Maybe you aren’t a gardener though, and you have zero clue about this standstill feeling. Months of hard work, prepping seeds, transferring them, then nurturing them until they are ready. Once they are ready it’s time to prepare them to enjoy, or prepare them to be stored. From seed to table, it’s a lot of work.
All of this might sound overwhelming for a beginner. People are always asking me little tips to get started, etc.
There are three things people are always worried about. First, the costs of everything make people nervous (I am a very frugal gardener) secondly, the amount of time it entails. Lastly, failing. No one wants to invest any of the above to possibly fail.
Here is a small challenge, that will cost you little to nothing (as far as going out of your way and purchasing) and will not take much of your time. Possibly MINUTES per week at most.
The next time you buy lettuce, cabbage, green onions, lettuce, celery, romaine etc. keep it! Put it in water and watch it regrow.
I currently have some romaine (I’m really mad at myself for throwing away 4 stems yesterday) sitting in water on my counter. I really hope it starts sprouting in the next few weeks. After some time, I will plant it in my window sill inside. I think I have some celery in my fridge too that I plan to “regrow” as well.
What I am most excited about is my green onion! All you have to do is place it in some water, and keep pruning the roots and trimming the tops. Fresh green onion on hand 24/7. No waiting for it to grow. Place in water immediately upon buying, and start enjoying. Every few days change the water and keep it near a window. This investment cost me 89 cents!
I plan on doing the same with my herbs I have started. I will cut them and let them grow and enjoy them all year.
You can also do this with ginger and garlic. Inside!
This weekend I am also planting arugula, mustard greens, and lettuces. I have ordered “cut and come again” seeds, so I will be enjoying self replenishing salads for months to come!
These are typically very good to plant in colder temps. I have gone back and forth on planting these inside or planting them outside.
In a few months I will be starting my seeds, so I really need the space inside.
My idea is to buy a large bag of soil, pop holes on one side (to act as a drainage system) flip the bag over, cut out the top .. sprinkle the seeds and cover with a large Rubbermaid plastic clear bin. I will place the soil bag on top of the lid of the storage container so the base of it can click right in, keeping it sturdy (like a green house)
If this is hard for you to visualize, no worries. I will be sure to post my method with lots of pictures next week. The entire project should cost me under $15 + cost of seeds.
If you would like to do it, you can order the “cut and come again” seeds below. There are a thousand seeds per order, just $5.99 with free shipping.
It is amazing to see how far I have come with gardening in the last year. The amount of produce I had last summer was insane. I plan on my garden being even larger this summer. Self sufficiency is such a powerful feeling. You can attain this with as little or with as much money as you would like to invest into it. You can do baby steps towards this and start small.
On top of the kitchen herbs, lettuces, aloes and succulents I currently have, I will also have an indoor lemon tree, orange tree and lime tree. Once these are established they will bear fruit all year.
Outside I am still planning. I will be planting my peach, apple and pear trees this spring. I have read that they may produce in the first year. My fingers are crossed that my blueberry, raspberry and blackberry bushes come back this spring. I pray about this often! I love fresh berries to eat, freeze and make into jellies and jams!
I’m also creating a large space for strawberries (I wish I would have done it last year, but time got away from me) that I might get some fruit from, but definitely will in 2020. Most berries come back every year, but rarely bare fruit the year they are planted.
I will also plant the vegetables and fruit I planted last year and have a few additions I will talk more about in a later post.
I hope to have enough for all winter to enjoy, and possibly to sell extra produce and canned items this year.
So many people asked, but my number one priority was to produce enough for my family to enjoy. It was my first year and I wanted to focus on having enough to last until the season started again.
Everything I make I am approached by people who want to buy. I don’t plan on making this a business, but have considered a “vacation fund” for me and the kids to use the money for enjoyment, since we all work so hard at this.
The Littles put in so much time picking, watering and helping. Emma also helps when I am running out the door and need watering or picking done.
I really haven’t really decided how I will do this. I might offer it to local people initially (produce, canned items, bread and other baked items) and offer non food items to ship (candles, soaps, oil blends, bath bombs, tub teas and salves)
I would probably make a certain amount and once they are sold, they will be gone.
I still have a career that I am passionate about and I am raising four children by myself, so time is precious to me and this wouldn’t be high on the priority list. (Sorry!)
I post and share what I am doing mostly to inspire you. You can do all of these things yourself. Living life in a more slowed down pace is very fulfilling. You know when you sit down and eat something and it tastes so good? Imagine in that same bite also being able to taste accomplishment, self sufficiency and knowing exactly from seed to harvest what that food accomplished? Mmmm. delicious! Most of us are so disconnected from our food and where it comes from.
So jump in, learn as you go. You’ll mess up at some things but succeed in others. You only really fail if you don’t try. So much to gain in gardening. It is my therapy. Thanks for reading.