Not only my ponderings but it seems my entire life has been wrapped around the lawn and garden this past week. It’s just that time of year when one is at the demand of nature and everything else has to be worked in among the planting and weeding. But I love it!
Gardening is such an important part of the pantry lifestyle, even if one has a very small garden like mine. We built our raised bed garden about four years ago when we realized we could rarely afford to go to the farmer’s market, anymore… which is what happens when inflation collides with a fixed income.
Each year I’ve learned something new and I’ve expanded my gardening skills. Although I do admit this Spring’s crazy weather adds an entire new dimension to those skills (or not). Who would expect my spinach to die because it was too hot right after I planted it… in late March?
How does gardening affect the pantry?
Well, obviously if your garden is large enough you can do all kinds of canning and freezing (and drying). This is the way humanity deepened their pantry for thousands of years. It is only in our very recent generations we have forgotten that.
It is good to see many young women wanting to learn the old fashioned skills like canning again. Although, as a bride in the 1970s… the “Back to Basics” movement was flourishing back then… again amongst terrible inflation (much worse than now).
After all, those were the years when magazines like Organic Garden were birthed. (It was also the decade “old” crafts like quilting made a comeback.)
By gardening, we also save money which can be used for those items we can’t grow!
Is a small garden worth the time and energy and cost?
Definitely! The first year we only had enough money to build the fence and two adjoining raised beds for planting season. We did build another two adjoining raised beds later that year to have them ready for the following Spring. Then just last year hubby built a square raised bed in the small space still available.
We have had lots of veggies and herbs from this small garden so we were hoping to expand it out further this year. However, finances does not allow that at all. But at least we have what we have built and we are tending that.
What if I do not have a lawn?
First of all, grow something! There are herbs which can be grown inside and they will add flavor (and healthy properties) to your food. Almost half of my herb garden is now apple mint, which I allowed to grow that much. I make tea from it, as well as the lemon verbena plant.
If you have a deck, there are many items which can be grown there. There are tomato plants developed just for growing in pots (as long as you have enough sunlight). I heard Jamie Oliver (on one of his cooking shows) say he grows the tiny tomatoes (like cherry tomatoes) in containers just for his family to snack on when outside.
This year I plan to grow our cherry tomatoes on the deck, as well trying a couple more veggies I haven’t grown in containers before.
Gardening is one of those areas where we think it is “all or nothing”. If we can’t grow a real garden, then why grow anything? I thought that for years! I also thought it was too expensive to build a raised bed garden in our back yard.
However, even that first year when we built the fence, cleared the grass, and built the first raised beds… it was only around $100 (and all of that is still there). The most expensive item was the fence which is just chicken wire around steel posts but it is necessary where we live.
I know what I’m sharing today isn’t anything new but rather I hope an encouragement from our experience to grow something.
Originally posted on Coffee Tea Books and Me.