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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Garden Patch

In this series of posts, I will chronicle my attempts to convert a stretch of decorative landscaping into a kitchen garden.  At my home in South Western Ontario, there was over a hundred feet of flower beds already planted with flowering shrubs when we moved in.  For the purposes of this experiment, I plan to pull the shrubs out of one stretch of it and turn it into a vegetable-and-fruit-bearing garden. 
The vegetables my family most commonly purchases at grocery stores are carrots, lettuce, onions, celery, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beens, asparagus, and corn.  I plan to plant seeds for some of these vegetables in my newly converted flower bed.  I then plan to weigh the amount of produce I am able to harvest and price the comparable weight at the grocery store.  I intend to come up with a dollar value to every vegetable I grow and keep a running tally of the total savings to my grocery bill.
I will do the same with fruit.  In the past year, I have planted three blueberry bushes, two blackberry bushes, two everbearing strawberry plants, and by some stroke of luck, four wild brambles sprang up in my garden that I hope might be wild raspberry. (If they turn out not to be I'm going to have a bitch of a time getting them out.)  I also planted two cherry trees, two peach trees, and a pear tree.
The photo shows the area of flower bed I'm working on converting.  As you can see, the second shrub hasn't come out yet, but I'm not giving up.  Once I get that one out, I plan to compost directly in those holes over  the winter and then work up the soil in the spring to plant my garden.

Sandwiches All The Way

During the entire five years of our marriage to date, when I was working rotating shifts at an auto plant six days per week, I used to bring my lunch every day instead of buying it.  My husband, on the other hand, bought his lunch at restaurant every day.  Even though some days the only thing he purchased was coffee, other days he went out for entire meals complete with pitchers of draught beer. 
Now that I am out of work, in order to save money, I am going to make his lunch and send it along with him to work.  Over the course of the year, I propose to document the cost of the food items that I will prepare at home and send with him.  Then, thanks to the magic of modern-day online banking, I will go back to the corresponding month in last year's debit records and total his lunchtime expenditures. 
My theory is that once I deduct the cost of his home-prepared lunches from the total of last year's purchased lunches, I should be left with a means of tracking our family's savings over the course of a year.  I plan to post a running tally of the actual dollar amount, updated on a weekly basis, of money that our family has withheld from fast food corporations.  In other words, instead of the money funneling upwards to the capitalist powers that be, it will funnel downwards into my family's coffers.