One Potato, Two Potato: Frugality Reigns, Home Gardening on the Rise in America « Frugal Café Blog Zone

One Potato, Two Potato: Frugality Reigns, Home Gardening on the Rise in America

Posted By on April 24, 2009

By Vicki McClure Davidson * Frugal Café Blog Zone

When I’m not going full tilt earning a living, taking care of my family, taking care of myself, or blogging about the latest stupid thing coming out of Washington, I’m tending to my newest pride and joy: my vegetable garden.

I tried my hand at it last year with containers, and had some successes and some failures. I’ve boned up on gardening knowledge since then. This year, in my frugal efforts to offset my family’s food costs, I’ve not only got veggies and herbs growing in containers, but I’m tackling my first-ever real vegetable garden in the ground. Ta-dah!

I think potatoes will be easy to grow, so I'm going to give it a shot | Photo credit: jeltovski,

I think potatoes will be easy to grow, so I'm going to give it a shot | Photo credit: jeltovski,

The tomatoes are doing great, as are the chili peppers, garlic, carrots, mint, leeks, parsley, basil, and cilantro. The ruffly lettuce… not so great. I’ll be planting watermelon this weekend, I think. I’m also considering cutting up a couple of potatoes so each piece has an “eye,” shoving them in the ground, and seeing what happens.

I like going out there in the morning before leaving for work, checking out each plant’s progress. I also like that I know precisely what chemicals have been applied (cough, none) to my veggie babies. Eating organic without the high organic price tag at the grocery store is very inspirational… to me, anyway. My family doesn’t really care as long as it tastes good.

I’m not alone in my efforts. Home gardening in America is exploding.

A snippet from Reuters:

Recession, health concerns get Americans gardening
By Ed Stoddard * Yahoo! News, Reuters
April 24, 2009

Alison Baum of San Antonio, Texas hopes to save money and eat better by getting her hands dirty.

She is joining the swelling ranks of Americans who have started backyard fruit and vegetable gardening, a trend rooted in a desire to cut costs as the recession bites, fears about the safety of commercial food supplies and popular views that organic food is better for you.

There is also a growing sense in these tough economic times that food security starts at home.

“This recession got me thinking that if things turned out like the Great Depression then it would be better to grow your own stuff and be in control. I’ve even ordered baby chicks,” the medical intern told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“I’ve always thought it’s important to eat organically but it’s really expensive. So I thought it would be a good idea to start growing them myself and I am pleasantly surprised. It’s easier to put food on your table than I realized,” she said.

In her small yard she has put in some fruit trees, herbs and some vegetables such as bell peppers and parsnips.

Rising seed sales and one survey point to the rapid growth of food gardening, which Americans spent around $2.5 billion on in 2008 according to the National Gardening Association (NGA).

According to a nationwide Harris Interactive survey conducted in January on behalf of the NGA, 43 million U.S. households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, berries, and herbs in 2009, a 19 percent gain from 36 million in 2008.

About a third of the respondents who said they planned to pick up the hoe this year cited the recession as one of their motivating factors. The main reasons were for better tasting food and to save money on food bills.

Almost half said they wanted to grow food they knew was safe. There have been a number of food scares in the past year or so including a recent salmonella outbreak involving peanuts and peanut butter.

Since I’m still a newbie to vegetable gardening, I would love if any of you readers would jot a few sentences in the comments box to share ideas about what edible goodies you may be growing this season in your own gardens and any tips or hints you’d like to share with those of us with a bit of the “purple thumb.”

Related reading:
The Pantry Principle and Other Prudent Ways to Stock Up and Save Money on Food
Gleefully Frugal, NY Times Acknowledges Benefits of Thrift During Recession
Pobept’s World View: Survival Garden or Surviving Hussein Obama’s Admistration
American Family Farms and Gardens: Outlawed by Obama’s New Bill?
Obama’s Recession Forces Frugal Living & Increases Patriotism in America, Frugal Café Offers Money-Saving Ideas and Thrifty Tips
Frugal, Organic White House Veggie Garden with Local Kids Has Merit… Until UFW Hollered (satire)
Drying Your Own Fresh Herbs: Cost-Cutting and Convenient
Ed Stoddard, Yahoo! News, Reuters: Recession, health concerns get Americans gardening
Cheap Weed Control with Newspapers
Proper Fertilizing with Manure: Increases Plant Yield and Saves You Money

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About the author

I'm a conservative frugalist. My priorities: Watchdogging the government, making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely, living within our budgets (at home and in Washington, DC), and adhering to our Constitution and the conservative principles upon which it was developed by our founding fathers. Also, loving God, my family, and my country. Be wise, be frugal. God bless America!      


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