The garden is the savior of the locavore’s budget. Let’s face it, in most respects eating locally is more expensive. I bought strawberries last week for $1.99 in a package size similar to the ones I bought last summer for $5.50 at a farmer’s market. For foods that are expensive, it makes sense to grow them yourself if you can. That goes for foods that don’t seem worth their cost, too; for me, this is lettuce, which - while extremely healthy - is not my favorite. I’m loathe to spend $3 on a small bag of the stuff at the farmer’s market when I know it grows at home so easily.
Besides, you just can’t get more local – or fresher - than your own yard.
Emma and I are trying to expand on last year’s gardening successes, so while we’re still getting the occasional frost outside (it snowed on the way to school this very morning), we’re getting ready inside.
First, we’re planning our tiny plot. Last year we ate great salads and teas from our little garden, so we’ll do that again – but more so – this time. I’ll be cramming more stuff into every space we’ve got down there - lettuces and spinach for greens; mint and chamomile for tea; basil, chives, and parsley for herbs; small sunflowers to pretty it up, and nasturtiums to beautify both the garden and our salads. The chives are left over from last year, but the mint seems to’ve died; I’ll be picking it up in plant form again, since I can’t think of a use for the number of mint plants that would grow from an entire packet of seeds.
Second, we’re trying out those mini-greenhouses again. I’m not expecting great success this year anymore than my other attempts, but I’m not easily giving up, either. If I can master this, then the savings both this year and every year in the future could be huge. A packet of seeds cost a dollar; a single plant costs several.
Yesterday was a rainy, gloomy day, which seemed perfect for starting our greenhouse while dreaming of sunnier days. We filled twelve little pots each of parsley, basil, and chamomile seeds (the tiniest seeds I’ve ever seen; I hope I didn’t miss any spots!); two dozen with the nasturtiums, which have bigger seeds and may – I hope – turn out to be easier to grow as a result. In my experience, bigger seeds equal bigger, harder-to-kill sprouts.
Right now we’re on day two of watering and waiting, and the clear top is getting a tiny bit steamy. So far, so good; cross your fingers.