Saturday, May 03, 2014

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - ponderings

This is what the garden looked like one year ago today!  

This year the apple mint (which is what you see looking so beautiful in the upper right herb bed) is just peeking through the ground.  But I think I am finally going to get part of my garden planted today.  Yeah!  It is going to be quite a roller coaster ride for the little plantings and seeds as they go from cool-ish to HOT in just days.

We have been so cool and rainy, I've had daffodils blooming and there are some grape hyacinths blooming!  I don't recall that ever happening on May 1st. 

Some will know that I've been thinking a lot about the affect the California drought will be having on the price of food.  My friend, Cheryl (aka: Copperswife) gave me this link a few days ago. 

I saw evidence at the grocery store yesterday as the price of butter has increased a lot and I've already seen it in the price of meat.  I will stock up a little on butter when I find a great sale (it freezes very well) and I've already been trying more vegetarian meals.

That's really what a Pantry Lifestyle is all about... putting thought into how to get the best food on the table at the least price and developing the art of stocking up (sometimes on a very tight budget).

One way I did this was by planting a raised bed garden in the backyard.  This year I decided to plant more greens (never expecting it to be May before I planted the cool weather crop), less tomatoes, and increase the green beans.  Just trying to think through where I can get the most nutrition and spending less on food.

I do plan to plant two regular tomato plants and two cherry tomato plants mid-May to have some organically grown in the backyard.  But I can also buy them at a very reasonable price at the Farmer's Market in summer.  With a very small area to plant, that Real Estate has to be used wisely and now through the years, I've learned so much through trial and error.

My herb garden is... okay.  I think a couple items didn't make it through the rough winter.  I will have to replant those and also replant the herbs I have to grow as an annual in a northern climate (like rosemary).  But this year I'm going to grow a few herbs on the deck, too.  We'll see how that goes with the quite large critter population in the area.

I'm learning through researching more plant based cooking that herbs and spices are what makes many of those dishes taste good.  When Christopher took me out to lunch a couple weeks ago, the dressing on the salad was a lemon based vinaigrette with sumac added.  It was delicious!  Ummmm... that is sumac the spice and not poison sumac the plant I may add.  ;)

There are too many other priorities for our money this year so we won't increase the footprint of the garden.  But we did make it a priority to prepare the soil and plant what we do have.  I am so glad that we built the raised beds about six (?) years ago when we could make it a priority in the budget.

That is thinking in a Pantry Lifestyle way.  What can I do... with what I have right now... to put food on the table in the months to come. 


Vee said...

I was visiting Sue at Pear Tree Lane Farmhouse and she is already harvesting spinach and kale. That made me pause to think if that could be something I should do with my one little raised bed. I had thought just herbs, but that may be a better think. You do get a lot of garden in your six raised beds!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Well, I am glad that I have become a vegetarian! And I think your herbs on the deck should be very safe...Most herbs do not attract "critters". I have quite a few pounds of butter frozen. Unsalted butter I bought for less than $2.00 a pound. But perhaps I should plant some kale on the deck, too. There was a recent scare about pesticides on kale. It is still quite cool and a bit rainy here, but I fear the hotter than I would like weather will be here any minute!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Yes, I had read a while ago about how the drought is going to affect prices plus the recent illness in pigs.

I just bought some herbs today to plant. The ones in a container didn't make through winter (which has never happened before). The ones in a raised bed seem to be coming back.

I haven't even weeded my beds yet! I won't be planting all that much this year.

Anonymous said...

Do you know of any vegetable plants that are ok in a shady yard?

sherry said...

I live near Cheryl and can confirm the drought, elevated prices, and the plans for a more veg food plan. The drought is having an impact on vegetables and fruits as well so planting a home garden is wise.

Littling.. that's what I do as well. :)