Friday, March 23, 2012

The Frugal Garden

I am so excited about tomorrow's Delly's Deals radio show! I will have Al Hight, Southeastern NC gardening expert and director of the New Hanover County Extension Service on as a guest to answer my and your questions about how to have a successful and frugal vegetable garden. I think doing a summer garden is an integral part to budgeting for groceries as we all know you can't beat the value of growing your own vegetables. I remember two years ago when I sent my husband to the store for a last minute tomato that I needed to complete a recipe. I was shocked when he came back with a four-pack of tomatoes and paid $4.99 for them! Three went to waste and I would have skipped it had I known they'd cost me almost $5. Last summer I bought a pack of tomato seeds from WalMart for $1.00! That pack had at least twenty seeds in it, so I imagine each plant could produce maybe 50 tomatoes? Anyhow, it's clear that growing your own vegetables is a better value.
 My tomatoes were so beautiful early on. Too bad I don't eat fried green ones!

As many of you know, last summer I did my first garden. I  documented it via my blog. I was super impressed with the results and although not everything turned out the way I would have had it, I was proud of my first ever attempt to grow my own food! Not only did the veggies taste so fresh and delicious but it was a pure joy to look at the garden change everyday. The vegetable blooms were beautiful (who knew green beans bloomed purple or that zuchinni squash blossoms were big, yellow, edible flowers before turning into zuchinni). My children also LOVED that garden and checked it everyday.

My daughter, picking her ear of corn.

My daughter approved of the corn.

Last year I planted: tomatoes, zucchini squash, sweet corn, carrots, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, strawberries, green beans, cilantro, basil, and rosemary. The basil, peppers, carrots and green beans did the best. The corn produced fairly well but by mid-summer it started dying out which was disappointing. We did get about 12 good ears out of our corn and that's one thing I want to improve on this year. I want to plant it earlier and to plant WAY more! The zucchinni squash did awesome until the squash bugs got into it. They damaged the plants irreparably, so I hope to ward them off this year as the zuchinni we did harvest were so delicious. The basil was awesome- we put it in a pot and grew it from seed and had plenty all summer.

My basil was beautiful (in the pot) and the zuchinni was just about to bloom. The zuchinni flowers are giant, yellow, soft and edible. I hear they make a great soup or as a salad addition, but I did not have a chance to try this.

Are you doing a veggie garden this summer? Do you have questions? Are you a beginner like I was and slightly frightened of the prospect of doing your first garden? Have no idea where to start? Are you an expert but have one or two specific questions about your garden? Tomorrow is your chance to have your question answered by someone who truly knows the subject well. Tune in tomorrow at 10 a.m. to the Delly's Deals Radio Show on the Big Talker FM, 106.3 or 93.7 FM to hear my weekly grocery updates and my conversation with expert Al Hight!

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