With 32 cats to feed, vet, and take care of, we need to save every penny. Growing as much of our own organic food as we can is one of the ways we try to keep our costs down. We also like the fact that we know exactly what the growing conditions were (good soil, no pesticides), the harvest conditions (picked fresh and cleaned well), and the storage conditions.
We don't have to worry about our organically grown fruit and vegetables being contaminated with Salmonella, Ecoli or Listeria.
We invite you follow along as we take up the challenge of trying to produce $1500 worth of home-grown goodness in just one year and in only 70 square feet! We are combining the bio-intensive, inter-planting, and square foot garden methods as we attempt to reach our goal.
Be sure to check out our Bountiful Harvest vegetable planting calculator! A great deal of research went into discovering how many plants of each vegetable are needed per person to produce an adequate amount depending on whether you plan to eat it only a couple times a week, for 3-4 meals, daily, or to have enough to freeze or can your produce. It is free to use as often as you like. If you find it useful, please consider making a small donation to the D.A.R.A. Sanctuary -- every dollar helps!
*based on prices of organic produce at Central Market & HEB
Click on each month to see what was harvested, prices, and $$ left to reach our goal
Amount to go: $1,483.70
Amount to go: $1,450.60
Amount to go: $1,401.07
Amount to go: $1,266.05
Amount to go: $1,043.81
Amount to go: $844.49
Amount to go: $683.79
Amount to go: $571.21
Amount to go: $405.20
Amount to go: $259.95
Amount to go: $190.70
Amount to go: $124.05
Please consider making a small donation to the D.A.R.A. Sanctuary. Every penny helps in the care for these little animals!
With very few exceptions, everything we grow is started from seed. A seed packet costs under $3.00 and will let you grow at least 25 plants of whatever variety of vegetable you are wanting to grow and often many more. Compare that to the cost of 'starter' plants -- generally at least $1.50 per plant and often more. We do make some exceptions: We take advantage of end-of-season sales in late spring, where we can pick up 4 tomato/pepper/etc. plants for a dollar to supplement those we started from seed to ensure we'll have a good fall, as well as spring/summer, harvest.
What do we mean by this suggestion? Simply put, a tomato plant, for instance, will ultimately need at least 2 squares (two feet) in your garden ...but it won't need all that space when it is a small transplant! We plant lettuce or radishes around out tomato plants when they first go into the ground. When the tomato gets to be several feet tall, we plant 3 cucumbers at the very edge of the tomato plant 'square' to share the wire tomato frame and provide much-needed shading in the scorching summer heat in Texas. We've found that not only do we get great cucumbers but the tomato production is extended and the plants are in better shape for a second fall production. For the tomatoes we grow in soil bags, we keep a single companion green bean plant growing along with them. That adds up to an additional 20 green bean plants producing beans and they give the tomatoes much-needed nitrogen infusions throughout the summer and fall.
We harvested several pounds of cabbage before we ever harvested a full head of cabbage. As your cabbage grows, you can take the large outer leaves before they get too large and tough. It won't affect the growth of the head so long as you leave the leaves that are directly protecting the emerging head. Then, when we do harvest the head of cabbage, we don't pull up the roots but cut the head right at the soil line -- in a few weeks, you'll have more cabbage leaves sprouting and ready to harvest, again in a cut-and- come again fashion. This also works for bibb and head lettuces, broccoli and more --and you can now use tip #2 above, as they no longer need so much space!
Pepper plants, curcubits, and members of the nightshade family have a serious need for magnesium, especially when they are flowering. Epsom Salt can provide that needed boost of magnesium for them, and will result in higher fruit-set, bigger fruit, and stronger roots for the plant. We apply it every two weeks by mixing 1-2 teaspon fulls mixed with 1 litre of water in a spray bottle and totally saturate the leaves and flowers of the plants. Applying to the leaves has been found to be 12 times as efficient for absorbtion by the plant as mixing it into the soil, according to research. Once a month, however, we also sprinke Epsom Salt around the base of the plants (4 inches from the stalks) and water it in. We've found that it really does work a miracle!