A couple of days ago I did a gallery of the types of meals we have with food produced from the garden – this makes up a good proportion of our diet. I thought I would show what else we do with what we grow, to save money. We don’t have a large garden compared to many (but well aware much bigger than many as well!) though we have a quarter acre there are a few sheds, carparking, flower and fern gardens, paths, flights of steps and a large chicken area, a little lawn – what’s left over grows our food. We maximise the areas we have and we went hard out with replanting this year, getting our spring plantings in early (under shelter from frost) and grew 2 – 3 harvests in each space through spring to autumn. This list also includes free foods eg field mushrooms, apples we came across (unowned trees out in the wops).
Sorry I don’t seem to be able to work the gallery thing today, it’s just not doing it for me, so photos are few.
Preserving produce allows us to eat our own food throughout the year – we only have to buy staples, we get a good variety, we know what’s in our food. Virtually all of my preserving jars have come from recycling centres, thrift shops, friends saving them for me and garage sales. A secondhand dehydrator makes things handy but solar driers can be made from recycled materials and will probably be the way we go next summer.
Chutneys and Sauces –Tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, tomato paste, mint sauce, apple sauce, pestos (frozen), fig chutney, zucchini chutney, tomato relish.
Fruits: Lots of bottled fruit for desserts throughout winter eg peaches, figs, apples, feijoas, frozen berries for smoothies, jam, 1 jar cranberry jelly (kitchen accident lost rest!), alot of dried fruits for baking, muesli and nibbling. Apple (or any fruit) scraps make cider vinegar and I have my first attempt fermenting at present in a large bucket.
Vegetables: Frozen – eg beans, peas, carrots, leeks, zucchini, beetroot, mushrooms, peppers. Dried – eg leeks, mushrooms, dried tomatoes in oil. Pickled onions, bottled beetroot. Tomato purees and pasta sauce. Stored pumpkin, potatoes, garlic, onions.
We will have green vegetables still growing in the garden through winter.
Herbs: 10 – 12 varieties for cooking eg basil, oregano, mint, chives, coriander, rosemary, parsley etc and for herb teas eg lemon balm, strawberry leaf, sage, gather rosehips before pruning… All dried or frozen in ice cubes . I grow calendula because I can make skincare with it. Soapwort for shampoo.
For the health conscious close your eyes HERE: We also smoke our own herbal tobacco…having quit the real stuff, this has saved us heaps. Raspberry, strawberry and blackberry leaves plus marshmallow weed make a very ok tobacco. We blended 1/2 and 1/2 at first then decreased tobacco over time.
We are also trying our own wine so will post at a later date the results of that. This is our first batch and I am not terrible confident but we try anything…The grapes were given to us and apart from a few hours squishing them and taking all stalks out, it seems easy enough and cheap. Next year we’ll try different fruit wines!
I think we counted 49 varieties of plants in the garden last summer. A plum, apricot and peach are not producing yet but should next summer. This was our first or second year of alot of the different berries so next year will be verrrry good. There are other things we still want, like a persimmon tree. As I was working as well I found it hard to keep up with all that could’ve been preserved eg cucumber pickles, more fruit preserves.
This was our first year of not growing corn. We love it but it takes up alot of room in the garden we needed for other things. I missed it though.
Anything we need on top of what we grow we buy as cheaply as possible and I make most things from scratch eg muesli, baking