Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Allergy Free in Your Own Backyard!

If you have several food allergies and a tight budget, you may want to consider growing your own produce.

Why?

Well, for starters, think of all the money you spend on the things you generally don't make by hand:

Milk substitutes
Butter substitutes
Egg replacers
Tortillas
Cereal
Ice cream

And the list can go on indefinitely. I know some of the things listed above can be homemade, but let's face it: in our fast paced world we live in, convenience often outweighs frugality. Sad, but true.

Cultivating a garden (especially if you have a large family like we do) is a money saving endeavor. It really costs very little to buy the seeds and starts (particularly if you purchase those things direct from an organic farm) and the manure and topsoil. All you really need to invest is some time and a little know-how to get things started.

We have our own compost pile that gets turned with a pitchfork a few times a week. We throw all our coffee grounds, eggshells, leftover veggies and more in the pile. We even put our non-sprayed grass clippings in there too. Once you have a good compost along with chicken manure (two years old or it's too hot and will kill your plants), buy, borrow or rent a rototiller to work it into the soil.

That's all there really is to it. Your garden can be small (raised beds or even in pots) or large (ours is really good sized, but we live on an acre).

We plant Yukon Gold potatoes (oh, wow!), green beans, turnips (for the man, NOT me!), several tomato varieties, peppers, cukes, squash of varying kinds, melons, cantaloupes, peas, carrots, onions, lettuce and much more!

To keep things organic, we buy a product that is simply crushed shells that causes grasshoppers, earwigs and the like to die. For watering, my brilliant husband attached PVC pipe together with drip lines connected that run down each row. By attaching a hose to the main pipe, we water with the well.

And to keep down the weeds, plastic is laid down for tomatoes, vine fruits and veggies, lettuce, peppers and the like. This also keeps nutrients in the soil for more yield.


 Behold, the cantaloupe vine.

And the sweetest watermelon known to man.



Got crookneck? Grill it. Amazing.


Nothing like fresh, garden tomatoes.


Oh, and don't forget the migrant workers.
Those are really key to maintaining a beautiful garden plot!

So, start planning next year's garden!
You will save quite a bit of cash and have a sense of accomplishment.

I never thought I could do it, but God has made growing our own food very simple.

Plant it, water it, take care of it and let God do the rest.

And then enjoy the bounty.

Happy Cultivating!

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