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Our Dream Garden

10 Reasons Everyone Should Start a Garden

When we lived in the suburbs, we always had a small garden in the backyard.  Every year it’d be the same deal: we’d start out all excited-like, till it up, plant our seeds (or plants), and lovingly care for our garden for about the first six weeks, after which we’d get bored silly, stop weeding, blow off watering, and only occasionally take advantage of the non-abundance of veggies that sprung up in spite of our negligence.  Sure, we wanted a garden, we just didn’t want to have to work for it.

But things are different now.

1. We’re in a situation, finally, where we understand the magnitude of the debt we’re in, and we’re finally really ready to get rid of it, and are making the changes necessary to do so.  And given our particular situation, that’s going to mean cutting costs wherever necessary.

2.  In my humble opinion, the collapse of the American dollar is impossible to avoid, whenever it may come.  And with that collapse will come substantially higher food costs – not an option for a family in our financial situation.

Garden is no longer just a hobby: for us, it’s a necessity.  So what are our goals for our “Dream” garden?

1.  A substantial food supply for our family that, between canning, freezing and root cellaring, will take us through a good part of next spring.

2.  Education.  We’ve been working hard to figure out what we’re doing here, instead of being willy-nilly about it like we’ve been in past years.  Our garden is not just for entertainment anymore – the goal is to feed our family.

3.  Abundance enough to share with others.  We’ve got a pretty big (for us) garden planned out.  If all goes well, we’ll have enough not just to supply our needs, but the needs of those around us as well.

4.  Possible extra income.  Once we get really good at this, we could have enough to go to some of the local farmers’ markets, sell from home, or at the very least, earn some extra money by teaching others about successful gardening.

As in the days of the Great Depression, our garden is not just about having something to do anymore, but moreso, it’s a source for feeding our family and a way to save money for not just our family, but hopefully for others too.

27 comments

  1. My grandparents were the ultimate frugal gardeners when I was growing up. My grandmother canned and/or froze everything. They also had big raspberry patch. I remember selling the raspberries as a kid/young adult. We’d sell out as fast as we put them out. It was a lot of fun and a great business lesson.

    • Laurie says:

      KK, people like your grandparents are my idols! I think it’s so amazing how resourceful they were. Justin over at The Frugal Path just wrote a really cool post about his grandparens, who sound quite similar to yours. You should read it. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      You should try it, Michelle! Mr. CBB and John over at Frugal Rules both had some great garden starting posts this week. Jose over at Wise Dollar had one too, I think.

  2. If you can learn how to have a good producing garden, it can pay dividends for a lifetime! Mr. PoP’s father was born pre-WWII, and to this day, grows a “victory garden” ala WWII every summer. The sheer volume of produce that he’s able to grow is amazing – and if we were closer to their house I’d love to reap more of the rewards of it.

    Is the soil great where you guys are? That’s been my biggest struggle with gardening in FL. The “soil” where we live is topsoil for about and inch and then basically beach sand. So I’m hoping to do some raised beds as we expand our gardening efforts over the next couple years.

    • Laurie says:

      Wow, yeah, that would be hard to garden in. I’m not real sure about our soil yet, as we moved here in October, but our neighbors are all excellent gardeners, so they’ll happily give us insight as to what to add to the soil, if anything. That is so cool about Mr. PoP’s dad – what a great mentor to have!

  3. Thanks for sharing the post about my grandfather. Selling extra produce can be a great way to cash in on doing something that you love. My grandparents always had plenty of extra food and gave it to their children so that they never had to worry about gardening.
    However, that also lead to my parents never having a garden which in a way is kind of sad.

    • Laurie says:

      Interesting, isn’t it? I’m still so impressed by your story of your grandfather, and have been mulling it around in my mind all day. What an inspiration he is!

  4. Jose says:

    I love my fresh garden veggies. Tomatoes and green beans are the very top of the list! We have a neighbor whose garden is about 1/4 of an acre. He puts all his surplus on boxes by the side of the road. We love him too!

    • Laurie says:

      It can be done! My sis in law has great luck with those upside down hanging tomato plants, and you can use your balcony railing for the green beans!

    • Laurie says:

      You should, Holly! There’s a ton of great gardening books out there if you’re feeling like you want more knowledge. It’s a great feeling to grow and preserve your own food. 🙂

  5. 101 Centavos says:

    Good to see another one get bit by the gardening bug. Self-reliance in food yields benefits on so many fronts, starting of course from seriously good food. The industrially-grown stuff that passes for food in grocery stores pales by comparison. How big is the garden? Raised beds or in-ground? What are you planning to grow? From seed or from nursery stock? Pictures, pictures…

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks for the comment! The garden is fully covered in nearly a foot of snow right now, and since this is a new house for us, I can’t remember exact measurements, but if I had to guess, I’d say 40 ft x 50 ft? A totally random guess, I might add. In ground, but I hope to add some raised beds. We will grow carrots, tomatoes, peppers, onions, broccoli, potatoes; all of the stuff we eat here at home that we purchase from the grocery store. Some seed, some nursery stock. I want to add some raised beds and do some raspberries and strawberries. We’ve also got 4 apple trees, two grapevines, and a pear tree on the property. I’ll be posting pics as soon as I can. This is our first year with a big garden though, so we’ll see how it goes. 🙂

      • 101 Centavos says:

        Fruit trees? Very nice. Just got done planting and staking one yellow and one delicious red apple tree. The acreage we picked up came with four peach trees, a plum, and several grapevines. We’ve since added to it, and will be planting more this season. Specifically pears. There’s nothing quite like pears and cheese after a great meal.

        Hope your garden goes well. There’s nothing like charging ahead and just doing it, and learning from failures and successes. My nemeses this season will continue to be pests, moles, and invasive bermuda. But I’ve got a plan.

        • Laurie says:

          Can’t wait to read more about it! I’ve been reading alot about planting certain veggies, like garlic and onion, around other pest-friendly veggies to warn the pests off, so we’ll be trying some of that stuff too. Sounds like I’ll need to put your site on my “regular reads” list. 🙂

  6. Laurie says:

    That is great, Jana! What kind of restrictions do they have? Are you able to do veggies in pots or run them up a balcony railing?

  7. Laurie says:

    Yes, Scott, we’re working on that, and also on growing some things year round, as we do have a small greenhouse on our property. I really appreciate your wisdom here, as we are new to this gardening thing, at least on a large scale. Thanks for the comments and for linking up to your site as well!

  8. Laurie says:

    Alan, that’s a great story about your parents and how they bartered for gardening plots – good for them! Here’s hoping that your schooling goes quickly so you can again join the ranks of the frugally gardening public. 🙂

  9. Good luck with your garden Laurie. Nothing beats fresh fruit and veggies. We don’t have the space for a garden but I enjoy support local farmers at our Farmer’s market. I’ll just have to eat vicariously through you! 🙂

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