Saturday, March 4, 2017

Growing Saturdays: The Produce Stand

We live in one of the most beautiful places around, the Central Coast of California. Mild winters, hardly any time during the year that you can't grow your own food. Our little town of Grover Beach is surrounded by fields of strawberries, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, blueberries... well you name it and it is probably being grown here!








On our home lot we grow blueberries, grapes, ollalieberries, blackberries, yellow raspberries, fuyu persimmons and apples. Not bad for an ordinary backyard that also has grass. Well, it has grass during some parts of the year. We also have chickens that do their "free ranging" out there so they deplete the grass by the end of summer. BUT, in return, we are given lovely, rich yellow yolk eggs so we don't mind. I also grow 2 beds of various herbs that we use to enhance the flavor of our cooking.





And best of all, we have a share in a community garden just down the street from us. It is a plot that is  12' wide by 20' long. We've put in some raised beds little by little and everyone of them is full of FOOD! Right now, we are finishing up the cold season with a box of garlic, a row of spinach, 2 cabbage plants and 6 Brussels sprouts plants. We also grow strawberries, kale, turnips, radishes, spring onions, carrots, beets, leaf lettuce, potatoes and sweet green peas.

Lately we've been calling our little garden space "The Produce Stand" because when we need something, we just walk over and harvest something nice for dinner or lunch. Do you know how much you can save growing food of your own? A LOT!









Fresh produce can be one of the most expensive parts of an average grocery bill each week. And you cannot always be sure of the farming practices that bring that wonderful food to you. Is it grown organically? Did they use heirloom style plants? Spray or fumigate for pests and bugs? Wouldn't it be nice if you could control all of that? That's what we thought as well. We created a yard out back that our chickens couldn't get to to put most of our berries in. The chickens will "crop" the bottom berries of our ollallieberry bushes but thankfully, enough grow above that always have a good harvest for jam.





You may be thinking you don't have the space for a garden or maybe even the water. We have been in an almost 10 year drought here in California and we still found the water to sustain our plants even if it meant quick little 3 min. showers to keep ourselves clean so we had water to share with the plants. You can grow in containers, put in decorative plants that are edible in your front yard or grow kitchen sprouts. There are many ways to garden if you want to save money! 

It's only March and we have already harvested nearly 2 lbs of spinach, 25 turnips, several bunches of radishes and scallions, kale nearly every week, collard greens once a week and 6 giant purple cauliflowers. In another couple of weeks we will be harvesting beets, our Brussel sprouts and both a red and green cabbage, hopefully for St. Patty's Day! Because we garden, we are able to eat seasonally, locally and sustainably grown food. 




Grand-daughter Audrey enjoying the Produce from the PRODUCE STAND



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