Posts Tagged ‘Grow your own’

This past Sunday a few of us shared some photos of things that are growing in our gardens. In my garden a few things are winding down and a few other things are hanging on.

Spineless okra. I am saving the larger one for seeds.

Spineless okra. I am saving the larger one for seeds.

It too hot for things like tomatoes to flower in my garden, so I have cut a few of them back to give them a rest and re-sprout in hopes of a fall harvest from them.  The pepper plants flower here and there and if I can keep them watered they will really take off in a few months and I will have lots of great peppers to eat and preserve.

I had pickling cucumbers planted at my neighbors, but they had a hard time this year so they have been pulled up. His Armenian cucumbers are still happy, and growing and producing a lot.

I planted purple tomatillos for the first time this year. They are growing and are putting on flowers. I am just seeing the little tomatillos starting to develop. That is very exciting.

purple tomatillo flowering

purple tomatillo flowering

I planted a spineless okra this year. It seems to be growing slow and is very short compared to the Star of David I have grown in the past. It is starting to slowly produce and as it flowers I am enjoying the blooms. The fire ants have been enjoying the booms too! grrr. I have hopes of pickling the okra, but for now there isn’t enough so we are adding it to stir fry’s or slicing and collecting it in the freezer for later.

Monday and Tuesday we had some beautiful rain come down. My rain barrels are overflowing and the plants and trees are just smiling out there right now.

I am very excited to watch the tomatillos grow.

Did you plant something new in your garden this season?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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Growing your own food isn’t just about saving money, it’s about so much more. I truly believe that as humans we posses an innate desire or need to take a hand-on role in the production of the food we consume. Whether through growing your own, foraging in the wild, hunting or even going to a local farm, knowing exactly where your food comes from provides a deep sense of appreciation for what you eat.

When you think about how Americans acquire their food and the detachment from where it comes from it’s no surprise to learn the staggering facts about food waste in this country:

  • In the US, food waste has increased 50% since 1974
  • Americans throw away 25% of the food they prepare
  • Americans waste 94 billion pounds of food per year
  • 40 percent of all the food produced in the US is thrown out
  • Food is the third largest waste stream after paper and yard waste

Mr Chiots and I have noticed that the more we take a hand-on role in what we eat, the less food gets wasted in our home.  When you’ve nurtured spinach from a tiny seed, you’re not about to let it get slimy in the fridge. When it’s past it’s prime for salads, it gets thrown into a pot of soup or cooked and frozen for a future meal. When you’ve spend hours collecting and boiling down maple sap, not a drop of syrup gets left on your plate. When you spend time searching for a local farm to get milk from and have seen how hard the farmers work to produce great quality milk for you, it never spoils in the fridge.  It’s true that buying from a small farm and locally can cost a little more than the grocery store counterpart, but when you figure in the savings of the food you won’t be wasting you’re really not spending any extra.  Plus if you grow some of your own you can offset the cost of that pastured beef or bacon.

Take this omelet we ate the other night for example, it contained:

3 pastured eggs from Martha’s Farm which cost 70 cents
Spinach, potatoes, dried tomatoes, & chives from my garden which were all free
Local raw milk artisan gruyere cheese that costs $17/lb, I used about $2 worth

Since my tomatoes, spinach, chives, and potatoes were homegrown, I could afford to indulge in some raw milk local cheese, even at $17/lb. The entire meal for both of us was only $2.60 – now that’s a cheap meal, even for non-real food. When people tell me they would eat locally if they could afford it, I tell them that Mr Chiots and I are actually spending less on food now than we did 6 years ago. Sure some of that is because we grow some of our own, but when you’re paying $8/gallon for raw organic milk, and $17/lb for your cheese it still adds up. We spend less on groceries because we waste less and we eat less. Generally good REAL food is more nutrient dense so you don’t need to eat as much. Since our food is so nourishing we no longer feel the need to snack between meals, if we go get hungry we often enjoy some raw milk, yogurt or some dried fruit. We do not feel the need to buy dedicated snack foods.

But growing your own and eating REAL food isn’t just about the cost. When you take the time to grow REAL food you will find that you will cultivate a deep appreciation not only for the food that you produce, but for the process in and of itself. Growing your own food nourishes not only your body, but your soul as well – and you certainly can’t put a price on that.

Has growing your own, or seeking out REAL food changed your attitude towards food? Have you noticed any less food waste in your home as you’ve transitioned to REAL food?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, maple sugaring, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Ethel Gloves, Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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Homegrown is Best

“Even though most people can easily discern the quality difference between brands of automobiles or appliances, that same astuteness, with the exception of visible cosmetic quality, does not seem to be applied to vegetables. The myth has been successfully planted in the public mind (possible for the benefit of the homogeneous supermarkets) that biological quality differences do not exist and a carrot is a carrot is a carrot.”

Eliot Coleman (The Winter Harvest Handbook)

This time of year I’m busy as I can be planting, sowing seeds, amending soil, watering flats of seedlings, harvesting, planning the garden and all the tasks that come along with growing your own food. Sometimes when I fall into bed at night tired from all the work, I wonder why I do it. Then I taste that first ripe tomato, or a new potato, or an ear of juicy sweet corn and suddenly it’s worth all the effort. I certainly can afford to buy food grown by someone else, but there’s something wonderfully tasty and satisfying about growing your own. No more homogenous supermarket produce in our home. What I don’t grow I find another small local grower that feels like I do and purchase from them.

Why do you go to the effort to garden and grow your own?

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