Sunday, May 25, 2008

Grow a Row, Save Some Dough

On the heels of the “Save a Dime, Hang a Line” post, I couldn’t help but through out another cheeky title. But the fact is, it’s true. Then, I saw this pic on the left from the Kitchen Gardeners International site and it was a done deal.

Until this year, my family has done the basic home vegetable garden – couple tomatoes here, a little squash there, and round it all out with your run-of-the-mill herbs. But this year, we’ve gone all out. Four new 4x8 raised beds, a new berry bed, and in the coming weeks, melon and pumpkin patch. The peas are up and trellised, lettuce and spinach being harvested already; today we’re transplanting a variety of seedlings that we started a couple months ago. Everything will be done organically – no chemicals and lots (and lots) of homegrown compost.

Why? Originally, it was grow more of our food under the guise of getting more local with our diet, as well as to help teach the kids where their food comes from. In recent weeks, the notion of saving money has creeped into the picture. Between fuel costs at the pump and what you are laying out at the grocery stores these days, it just makes sense to be a tad bit more self-sufficient.

I’m inspired by stories such as this one about yet another successful urban farming experience. Suburbia provides most of us with at least a little patch of sunny yard. These folks are reclaiming empty lots and transforming them into a productive local food sources, all the while doing a heck of a job at bringing their community together. Then there is the Dervaes family and their Path to Freedom "project". They are redefining what suburban homesteading is all about. Absolutely amazing.

We’ve talked about the benefits of local food a lot here. Everything from helping the local economy to limiting the impact that transporting food hundreds, if not thousands, of miles wreaks on the environment. Yes, growing some of your own food takes some time and effort. With the former seemingly in short supply for most people, it is difficult to hop on this bandwagon. As with all things, there are options.

Can’t grow your own row? Eat off someone else’s. Sign up for a CSA plot or just go out and support your local farmers market. (The new Sakonnet Growers Market starts up the first week of July.) If you can’t seem to deviate from the normal grocery store path, try to buy fruits and produce that are grown locally. Many stores now list the town/state/country of origin. Lee’s in Westport does a great job of this. If you don’t see a sign, ask.

I’m out to the garden now. Talk to you soon.

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