“From the articles in the newspapers, radio, and other media about rising prices, methinks that it wouldn’t hurt folks to figure out how to raise some of their own food supply.”

It’s springtime here on the plains of Dakota with flooded streams and rivers, ice jams, etc., and it’s calving time.  I love watching those baby calves bounce around and marvel at the miracle of birth. It always amazes me that a newborn calf can go from staggering around 15 minutes after birth and inside of an hour, be able to flat outrun any human trying to catch them for tagging!

I also make the first trek to the garden as soon as the snow melts to see if anything is showing any sign of life.  My strawberries are beginning to show little bits of green as is the rhubarb – and the asparagus won’t be far behind.

From the articles in the newspapers, radio, and other media about rising prices, methinks that it wouldn’t hurt folks to figure out how to raise some of their own food supply. There have been so many crop disasters over the last few months. So many farmers have lost entire crops to floods, hail, freezing weather, bugs, etc., that some items are going to be in very short supply until the new crops can be planted, grown and harvested.   

It’s always bothered me that when you drive through a housing development anywhere in the country that there are acres and acres of land devoted to lawn grass, and nothing else.  Lawns are expensive to maintain requiring once or twice a week mowing, as well as watering, fertilizing, and spraying for weeds with all kinds of chemicals.  (To say nothing of the water required to grow the stuff!)
Years ago, I read an article stating that 60% of municipal water supplies are used for watering lawns and ‘green spaces’ in our cities – and, it drives me to distraction when I see all that water running down the streets into the storm gutters!

Why not devote part of that space to growing food?  Now I don’t advocate plowing up the front yard and planting a cornfield, but I see nothing wrong with putting a few tomato and pepper plants in among the petunias and zinnias, or putting a couple of cucumber vines on the same trellis as the morning glories.

An arbor could hold several pole bean plants and give you several months of wonderful shade as well as food for the table and the freezer.  I have a homemade arbor made from re-bar (used in cement work) that holds just one grape vine, but that vine gives me 6 or 7 gallons of grapes every year to make into juice or jelly as well as sharing some with the neighbors.

For those just starting to landscape a yard, instead of a fence, plant berry bushes instead.  I have two Nanking bush cherries and they must be at least 8 feet tall – thick enough for any privacy fence and so thick, they would stop a vehicle.  We have wonderful fruit for jams and jellies, and plenty to share with the birds!

Lettuce seeds from the variety packages can be used as edgings along a flowerbed and the produce would be harvested long before the flowers take over.  Carrots make a wonderful background planting for low growing varieties of flowers.  The feathery tops are a beautiful green, and you have carrots in abundance for months!  And the water goes for good use instead of down the gutter.

For those who have no yard – only cement or asphalt pavement – try a ‘bucket garden’. I have several big containers sitting on an abandoned sidewalk in my front yard.  I drilled holes in the bottom, added recycled chunks of Styrofoam® (to save soil), covered the Styrofoam® with landscape fabric and added my soil.  I grow basil, cilantro, rosemary and parsley, and love it because all I have to do is step out the door and gather fresh herbs for my cooking. Any extra is dried or frozen for winter.  I have friends who use the ‘buckets’ for crops of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc. – not only is the produce absolutely fresh, but it is chemical free. And for me, that’s a plus!

With the money saved with the ‘grow your own’, you can stash away enough to purchase a freezer to store extra in for winter use, thus eliminating purchases of out of season, expensive foods from overseas.

Buying produce grown outside of the U.S. is dicey at best in my opinion.  Some of the chemicals that have been banned here for many years are still used in less regulated areas, and I don’t want to eat it myself or feed it to my family. I am also a firm believer that our children need to know how their food is raised and how much work it is to obtain, as well as where it comes from.

Raise your own food; after all, it’s your money!