Friday, March 18, 2011

Frugal Fridays - Gardening and Salad Dressing

As promised last week, here is a post on gardening.  We started our garden last year and found the Square Foot Gardening method to work incredibly well!  In fact, we had so many cucumbers (were picking 3-5 a day) that we had to give some away to our neighbors.  We also had success with peppers, spinach, kale, squash, zucchini, basil, and parsley.  And the best part for this busy mamma is that it is very LOW maintenance since there are no weeds.  It is also a great family activity as even the youngest children can partake.  "M" helped me count out seeds and had fun pushing them into their holes (wish I could have gotten pictures, but had to pay attention and supervise).  I highly recommend that you get and read the book.  Whether you have a large space or hardly any space at all, you can benefit from this method.  It will explain how to build your raised boxes (you can do this even if you only have a front little stoop to build on, and he tells you how you can even build them on stairs, railings, etc.), what to fill your raised boxes with (this is the key to having no weeds!), how and when to plant, how to harvest, how to keep out critters, and so much more.  We have three 4x4 raised beds, and one 1x1 deep raised bed (for carrots).  We already planted one of the raised beds (we'll plant another one in April, and then the last one in May), and our plants are beginning to grow.  Here is a picture of one of our beds (the only one that has a trellis for our vine plants).

The pea plants quickly took off as you can see and I just went out there yesterday and they already had some flowers on them!
 Below are our beets (first year trying to plant these) and they are just starting to poke through the ground.  With beets you can plant 6 plants per square foot and you plant 2-3 seeds per hole.  Once these get a little bigger I will thin to just 1 per hole so I end up with my 6 plants per square foot.

No vegetable tastes better than one you have grown yourself!  And you can enjoy your veggies with some yummy (and very cheap!) homemade salad dressig.  I'm not sure where exactly I got this recipe from, but we love it!

1/2 cup sugar or honey (I really do think it tastes better with honey, and it's healthier that way!)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 whole clove of garlic
Put all ingredients in a pint jar and shake well.  Refrigerate.  Shake before using.  Enjoy!

More gardening money-saving tips:

1.  Capture and store rain water to use to water your garden.  Your water bill will thank you!
We have the Koolatron 55-Gallon Rain Barrel that we will be installing shortly.


Lora @ my blessed life said...

You're garden looks like it's coming right along~what a great start!

And you're so right: no veggies tastes as good as the ones you grow yourself!

Zonnah said...

It is always exciting when they just start to come up. I can't wait to see more :)

Susan said...

Your bed looks great! And I am totally trying your recipe! How right you are about the flavor of just-picked veggies! P.S. Next link up is April 28th 10am EST
Susan - The HSV TEAM

Unknown said...

We LOVE Square Foot gardening! We have a 12x6 veggie, 3x6 strawberry (made from an old wooden door frame) and new this year a 2x6 flower. So much fun for the kids (and Moms)! Yummy dressing! Stopping by from HSV Garden Challenge!


WishfulMe said...

Love how quickly sugar snap peas can make everyone feel like a successful gardener! Plus they are too yummie to resist!

We do Square Foot Gardening too. Love it!! I have been SFG for about 5 yrs too. So much fun and easy!

Take care

Jessica Baker said...

The snap peas are growing wildly! We just picked our first pea (just barely into April!!!), and "M" said, "mmmmm, mommy, that yummy!". It was very yummy! Looking forward to using them in a stir fry this week :o)

Michelle said...

Fantastic, thanks for the recipe! My husband loves French dressing, and while I've made a few dressings at home, I never thought to try a French one.