Your Friday Frugal Challenge: save a little bit on your grocery bill by growing your own food.
Growing your own food doesn’t mean you need to spend the whole weekend digging up a section of your lawn, fencing it to keep the critters out, renting a rototiller, and painstakingly laying out carefully-measured lines of seedlings. I’ve done it that way, and it was a pain in the butt. You can grow some food for your family without devoting your blood, sweat, and tears to the effort. If you have a big family and/or you enjoy the whole giant garden plot experience, by all means be my guest.
Maybe my bias is showing here, because I have a black thumb. I just have no patience for a long-term relationship with a garden. Here are some suggestions on getting started growing your own food.
Herbs. My sister grows herbs in a wide-mouthed terracotta jar in a sunny spot right next to her front door. When she cooks, she snips off a little of whatever she needs. Everything she makes benefits from the taste of fresh herb; she has one or two all-purpose favorites and alternates her choices when she feels like a change.
Salad garden. My family isn’t big on vegetables, but we’ve done a salad garden before—lettuce and bell peppers, in our case. We aren’t big tomato eaters, but we do have a big red parrot who likes them. I love snipping off some lettuce leaves when we want a salad and I’m the first to admit that fresh peppers and cucumbers beat out the store-bought variety any day.
Fruit trees. If you have fruit trees, enjoy what Mother Nature gives you. Here in Florida you can actually eat tasty little finger-sized bananas right from the tree, squeeze fresh OJ in the winter and grow your own key limes down south. What grows in your backyard?
Chickens. Right now, we’re enjoying Maisie and Maggie, two affectionate and sociable barred rock hens. We live in suburbia but our county permits very limited chicken-keeping: no roosters, no more than three chickens, a chicken-keeping class followed by a special permit. If your area allows backyard chickens, you can enjoy fresh eggs daily. I know we enjoy ours!
Do you grow some of your own food? Share your tips and tell us how you save money and eat well.