A Sneak Peek at a Summer Organic Gardening Series

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I have a confession to make.

There’s a part of me that’s totally not “green”.

I am eco-conscious in every way, but when it comes to my thumb, it’s a deep shade of brown.

I was the child who always proudly brought home the plant from school and promptly killed it allowed it to expire. I can’t remember if I neglected the poor things, overtended them, or simply forgot them on the windowsill, but I never grew a plant to save my life.

My houseplants are scraggly and don’t last long. My attempts at vegetable gardens always seem to feed the bugs, deer, and other woodland creatures more than my family.

This summer, I’m going to be humble and wise enough to admit my weakness and call in an expert.

imageRene writes at Budget Saving Mom, where she teaches readers how to use coupons to live incredibly frugally, while also keeping environmental and health concerns in mind. Her life philosophy is a perfect fit for Kitchen Stewardship readers, and she’d have a lot in common with yours truly…if I saved $1500 a month on food and personal supplies or could grow a garden to save my life. !! Budget Saving Mom has been very successful, and I’m pleased to introduce Rene as a series contributor this summer here at KS.

She’ll take the next few weeks explaining the various types of gardens you might want to set up, then have a weekly feature throughout the growing season to help you garden inexpensively and organically, plus preserve your bounty in many ways. This gal is motivated and truly in love with gardening, and I’m thrilled that she’s willing to share with all of us.

Here’s Rene:

I have always tried to live a very frugal life because it is important to me that I am a good steward of the things that God has blessed me with. I have a budget of $20-$25 a week for food and toiletries for our family of five (almost six). However, even spending that little on food, I still want my family to be able to eat mainly fresh, organic foods. The way that we accomplish this is through organic gardening.

When I first began gardening as an adult, I was working a full time job and had small children. I started slowly and spent about five minutes a day gardening. As I started cutting back on work and eventually staying home with my family, my garden kept growing. I now am able to provide almost all of the fruits, vegetables and herbs that my family eats year round. As long as you get some sunlight, anyone can have at least a small garden.

The health and cost benefits are amazing. Produce that is picked fresh will have more vitamins and minerals than produce that is picked early and shipped to stores. Plus, it will taste better than anything you can buy in a store. You are able to ensure that you are not eating pesticides and chemicals. Also, you are able to eat foods the way that God intended during their natural growing seasons for your area. We save our seeds each year and as a result are able to garden for FREE once we have bought the first year’s worth of seeds. It would cost me close to $200 a week to buy organic produce for my family.

I use four different gardening methods, landscape gardening, container gardening, raised bed gardening and traditional tilled gardening. We garden organically and use natural methods to control weeds and bugs. I have slowly increased my gardens until I am able to provide food all year for my family. We are able to eat fresh produce at least nine months out of the year, and sometimes year round since we live in the south.

I really hope that all of you try to start a garden this year. We have a blast gardening. My kids run in and out of the corn patch and help snap the green beans. My entire family works together. We spend about a month working all day and evening long to pick and preserve our food, but that provides us with a year’s worth or healthy, organic and FREE food. Even if you only have time for a small garden, you can still save money, plus have delicious and healthy food for your family.

Be sure to subscribe by email or reader to follow Rene’s tutorials all summer long. Here’s a little secret for you, too:  tomorrow subscribers only will have an opportunity to get an extra entry in the Nutrimill Grain Mill giveaway that will happen in the fall when I seek the perfect homemade whole grain bread. I’m only leaving the comments at the post open until Tuesday at midnight, so don’t miss out!

Photo from ianturton

I’m pleased to join Finer Things Friday, Frugal Friday and Fight Back Friday.

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17 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    Things do grow for me easily, but I don’t tend them well enough to make them grow enough food to make it worth it. If that makes sense. I don’t remember to weed my gardens, I don’t plan them well enough to keep them neat and organized and easy to access the plants…. I’m not detailed enough to do it. Luckily, this year we’re participating in a CSA and part of that is working on the farm, so I think I’m going to learn the hard way how to really do it! :)

    Sounds like a neat series! I do intend to eventually grow my own!

    (And right now my garden is overrun with green things…mostly weeds…but some tomato plants mixed in there somewhere, too. It’s on my to-do list to get out there and do something about that….)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Journey to Real Food: Introduction =-.

  2. Katrina says

    This is exactly the info I’m needing. I would love to grow a significant amount of my own produce!

  3. says

    Having a garden is a great alternative, but impossible for me since I live in the city. I’m also amazed to see how the women who stay at home to take care of their children. Where do they take the money? Is everyone rich?
    .-= kanmuri´s last blog ..To the Gallows! =-.

  4. says

    Can’t wait for this series. I’ve got my first veggie patch planted this year. With plans to can and freeze some bulk purchases of local veggies for the winter too.

    Also, I’ve found the best whole-grain bread recipes in Peter Reinhardt’s Whole Grain Bread book. They are delicious, and a perfect texture (not uneateably dense, like so many are). I highly suggest checking it out at the library for a peek.
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Hard Work =-.

  5. says

    kanmuri – rich…no, frugal…yes. I, and most of the other SAHM’s I know are thrift store shopping, grocery budgeting, do-withouters, who work hard to make ends meet, but feel it is worth the work to be home with the kids.

    I wonder how working moms manage everything they do…all the getting ready, dropping off, picking up, and the housework, cooking, etc. that everyone has to do. I don’t think I could do all of that without losing it.
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Hard Work =-.

  6. says

    What a great series. We grow things in pots on our balcony to keep the plants from being eaten by deer. One thing everyone can grow (even without a yard or balcony) is sprouts. Maybe Rene will cover that?
    .-= marcella´s last blog ..What’s Been Cooking =-.

  7. says

    Like you, i have had a tendency to, um, kill plants. That said, i’m doing pretty well with a kitchen herb garden. Although, sweet basil is very delicate & thru the winter i killed about 4 of them, but only because we keep our house too cold for them to manage.

    However, i’m rather stupid about other gardening & very challenged. Baby steps, i guess.
    .-= Kathryn´s last blog ..So far, so good =-.

  8. MomOfFour says

    I have been gardening for awhile, but have not been successful with starting seedlings indoors in our cold climate, which means I have to buy seedlings for many things because of our short growing season. I am looking forward to Rene’s posts.

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