Saturday, May 21, 2011

Frugal Friday~

After stopping at the store to pick up just a few items, and walking out with $112 worth of groceries in just a few bags, it brings home to me again how important it is for a family to save as much as they can on groceries. 

 It's scarey, to see how much food has sky-rocketed the last 2 years, and there doesn't seem to be an end to the rising prices.  I don't know how other families are making ends meet, because you KNOW that our paychecks aren't rising!

I propose that everyone should plant a 2011 Victory Garden!  We are in a war of sorts, and I believe that the wisdom of FDR can pertain to an Economic War as well as a World War.

So we got all patriotic at our place, and began planting. 

Tomatoes are a staple in our household when it comes to canning, and we can never have enough.  We make our own salsa, speghetti sauce, chopped tomatoes, and tomatoe sauce for chilis and casseroles. Because tomatoes are so acidic, they can remain canned for many years without damage,  I can EVERY STINKIN TOMATO that I can in the fall, and I still find that there are years when I run out.  (Don't forget, tomatoes are full of lycopene, a cancer preventing agent, so you can never get enough of them in your diet.)

Back in February, we ordered our tomato and pepper seeds from The Tomato Supply Co and began growing them in the kitchen so we would have enough seedlings to plant.  (see previous post- I included a picture of my makeshift Grow Shelf)  We've watered them faithfully, adding fish emulsion once they were large enough, and we ended up with 135 tomatoe plants for our garden.  (WARNING:  Fish emulsion smells exactly as you would imagine ground up fish that have been fermenting in a jug, so be prepared....)

This past week, the kids and I planted our 135 tomatoes.

It took up most of our large garden, but they are worth it!!  Frankly, I can barely stomach a tomato from the grocery store- they are picked before they get ripe, that sun ripened sweetness, and many taste like cardboard.  There is nothing that compares to a garden ripened tomatoe on a sandwich, or just plain with a little bit of sugar sprinkled on it. (Okay, now my mouth is watering...)

There are many ways of using your Frugal Talents during this process. 
  • When I plant the seedlings, I reuse the 6 pack containers every year, so I don't have to purchase those more than once. (bought a pack from a wholesale landscaping company several years back, and they are still working well.)
  •  I bought 2 large bags (same landscaping company) of potting soil that greenhouses use, and I also reuse as much of that as I can every year.  Those 2 bags will last me about 4 years, and I plant ALOT.
  • We cut the tops and bottoms off of 2 liter pop bottles that my folks save for me-they protect the seedlings from wind damage, and actually function like a mini-greenhouse by trapping in alot of the moisture so the plants and soil don't dry out as quickly.
  • Don't forget about the conversion of the plastic toy shelving into a "seed growing chamber"! 
  • Also, if you order seeds with friends, you most likely can qualify for certain volume discounts.  My friends and I order many of my seeds from Fedco,  and they offer a significant discount for volume orders.  They are also one of the few to offer free shipping of your seeds if you reach a certain order amount. 

[ On a side note, I also support Fedco for "global and political" reasons- they do not carry genetical modified seeds, nor do they support Mons*nto varieties, or Mons*nt0's goal of gaining a monopoly on the planet's seed supply.  I applaud Fedco's stand against the Giant.]

So, for all of you salsa loving, speghetti slurping, chili cookin people, growing your own tomatoes is the only way to go.  Do it for your it for your country!  :-)
(pipe in the National anthem......)

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