Grow a Garden

After writing my last post, I have continued to think about ways to blunt rising grocery prices.  After reading a news article about produce prices rising because of freezing weather in unusual places, I realized I should have listed a fourth suggestion to my previous post on rising food prices.1  So here it is:

4)  Grow a Garden

I recognize that growing a garden isn't always the cheapest way to put produce on your table.  However, gaining gardening skills gives you the ability to supplement your three-month supply with fresh foods regardless of their cost or availability in stores. 

You might think that you can only grow a garden during the summer season.  However, there are many seeds that grow well in the cold temperatures of spring and fall.  With some planning you can grow lettuce, peas, kale, cabbage, broccoli, swiss chard, spinach, radishes, beets, cauliflower, carrots, turnips and parsnips.  You can also grow vegetables in pots inside your home or in a porch with a window all year long.  Many crops, such as potatoes, apples and carrots can be harvested in the fall and can last throughout the winter (if stored correctly).2

One family in our area invested in a back-yard greenhouse.  Medical dietary restrictions required one member of their family to live off of produce only.  They were aware that it would be difficult/impossible to store foods for that person.  So, they bought a small greenhouse.   Now they have fresh produce all year long.  Can you imagine the possibilities?  I would love to have access to a citrus tree here - and could if I had a greenhouse.

One year I served tomatoes from our garden for Thanksgiving dinner.  That's not remarkable if you live in Florida or Arizona, but we live in Utah.  Earlier in the fall when I knew it was going to freeze, I picked all of the remaining ripe tomatoes.  I also picked all of the green tomatoes that were shiny (the dull ones won't usually ripen).  I stored them in a mostly-dark, cool place in our basement.2  I separated the tomatoes so that they didn't touch each other.  I checked on them periodically throughout the next several months and brought up the tomatoes as they started to turn colors. 

Truly, a garden can provide fresh produce all year and can protect us from the ups and downs of pricing.

1 - Deep freeze escalates produce prices
2 - Vegetable Harvest and Storage

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