Producing Produce Homework

This week was spent bouncing back and forth between emptying the pantry (how can there be so much food in there and everyone still say there is nothing to eat in the house?) and working on gardening.
After much discussion we have decided to go forth with trying to garden as efficiently as possible this year. Dh and ds have both pledged to lend me a hand in making it as successful as possible. So I spent much of the week educating myself and planning the garden. I watched an untold number of videos from the Back to Eden Gardening Method, to how to prune grapes, to how to plant and pollinate corn.
Like I said we are determined to make the garden as productive as possible this year but we don’t want to kill ourselves doing so. There are certain foods we want to grow but have had very little success with in the past, so I watched utube video after utube video trying to see where we’ve been failing. While certain crops like sweet potatoes, okra, tomatoes and peppers grow like crazy for us white potatoes, corn, peas, strawberries and green beans have been dismal failures in the past. I want no failures this year. After all the reading of websites and watching videos I think I am far better armed to be more successful this year and at the current price of produce I really need to be. As in all aspects of life a little education is a good thing.
Once I felt more secure about the garden I next took advantage of a sale that was going on at Baker’s seeds and placed a small order for the seeds I was out of and needed to replace. I love Baker’s seeds because they are heirloom plants, no gmos, reasonably priced, they have a great germination rate on their seeds and their catalog is a work of art.
While watching the videos I found some excellent videos from Gurney’s on how to prune the grapes to make them most productive. This link I passed on to dh and Saturday he quickly pruned the grapes. Sunday I decided to try my hand at growing grapes from canes and grabbed some of the trimmings to root. Since it was a day later I don’t know if it will work or not, but heck I’m not out anything if it doesn’t work and if it does I have more grapevines to try my luck with, even if they are seeded.
While watching the grape pruning videos dh decided to look up fruit and nut trees to see what it would take to grow those properly and we are now considering trying an orchard again. Time will tell on that.
Many of the videos suggested getting a jump start on your garden by starting basically just about everything in peat pots early so you can set out plants instead of seeds and get a jump start on the growing season as well as get the perfect spacing and location for everything. I have a grow station in my basement, so I plan on starting on that project this next week. That way I won’t be behind on what needs to be planted while waiting for the goose pen repair to be done.
Sunday we went to a nearby feed store that we use to go to all the time, but quit when they raised their prices. They are now back to $2.50 per 50# cheaper than the one we have been using, so we are back to using them because not only is the feed cheaper my birds do better on their scratch blend, it is higher in protein than what we’ve been getting.
While there I checked on their CSA price for 2013 and we are heavily considering it to supplement our garden. It’s 100% organically grown non-gmo produce for 15 weeks starting April 1. The price is $250 and that also gets you a 10% off on any other produce you purchase from them above your CSA. I purchased a lot of produce from them last year and it was all wonderful. All three of us have decided to cut way back on our meat consumption for many reasons and we figure that $16.66 per week for organic produce for 3 people isn’t a bad price at all. Better yet, they deliver it to a place less than 10 miles from my home every Tuesday and the guys could get it on their way home from work, so there would be little extra fuel cost to do so.
On the home de-clutter front dh got my stair step shelf in the pantry built and I will start filling it up today with my canning jars of dried and home canned foods. Next up in the assembly line will be the can rotators, followed closely by goose pen repair so I can get the garden going in earnest.
No overtime or extra income this week, but we did avoid eating out one day when we really wanted to so I did get to put another $20 on BOA. It’s not much, but so far I’ve got that down from being paid off Dec 2013 to Oct 2013 with little bits extra here and there.