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Preparing for the 2022 Season

How does one prepare for this 2022 season? A season where we are already seeing severe grocery price increases, soaring fuel costs, shortages on the store shelves and wars raging in other countries.

I have been busying thinking about the additional efforts and ways I can save money and prepare for the challenges that we all are facing. It can be overwhelming but we must consider what we can control and focused on the things we can do rather than the things we can’t control.

To break things down, I have created a short list of things I can do.

  • Stock up on additional staples
  • Have a well stocked food pantry
  • Buy extra things when on sale or with coupons
  • Plan on expanding my garden for the coming season
  • Drive less and plan my trips wisely to save gas
  • Save money and keep additional cash on-hand

I know many people are saying that these are things that they already do or that we should always be focusing on but with the urgent situations that we are facing, I think that additional emphasis should be made on these basic ideas.

Remember the old adage “One is none and two is one.” I think 3 or 4 is one now. Watch for sales and stock up. Cut out those coupons and watch for store discounts. If you use retail apps, use them to save money and get discounts where ever and whenever possible.

Buy garden seeds even if you have a stock of them. You may need them in the near future and prices are only going higher. Buy fertilizer and other garden supplies now for the coming year(s) as who knows what you can buy with these shortages in the future. Prepare to plant a larger garden than you had last year. If you didn’t have a garden in the past, plan to have a least a small garden or some container pots to grow some veggies this year. Every little bit helps and homegrown veggies are so much richer in nutrients and tastier than store-bought ones.

Lastly save some money. Have some cash on hand. Cash is king and it’s always a good idea to have some extra money should things get tight as I believe we are all seeing in our world today. But one final useful idea to share, plan now and don’t be anxious for anything but pray about everything.

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Roasted Tomatoes

I had many green tomatoes still when it was time to pull up the tomatoes plants for the season. Just like last year, I saved all the green tomatoes and wrapped them in newspaper for ripening. You can read about those tips here. This idea works well and given a little time, the green tomatoes turn red while stored in a bag.

But on with this post and how I roasted some tomatoes that were ripe and needing processed. I have frozen tomatoes, made salsa and tomato sauce and used many of my tomatoes already this year. But I hadn’t tried roasting in the oven yet.

First I washed and cut up the tomatoes in about quarters. I placed them on a baking sheet that had just a bit of olive oil spread over it. I sprinkled the tomatoes with a dash of garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. You can use any spices that you like to season your roasted tomatoes. I dribble a little more olive oil over the tomatoes and tossed them a bit to cover them with all the seasoning and oil.

Here is my pan ready for the oven.
Roasted Tomatoes Ready for the Oven

Bake at 400 F degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Just check them at 30 to make sure them aren’t burning or overdone. I think mine took Continue Reading →

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Wild Cantaloupe Harvest

A few months ago I shared about my wild cantaloupes that started growing in an old wheelbarrow. Well I nurtured the vines and they took over the whole wheelbarrow. After a while I did cut back new blooms to keep the energy going to the 7-8 actual cantaloupe melons growing. Just short of three months, I started harvesting my melons. Here is a photo of the largest one I grew.

Wild Cantaloupe

It is just so sweet and juicy! It sat on my counter for a week as it was a bit green and hard, but it ripened up as seen in this photo. Here is another photo of it ripening on my counter. It is 13 inches around which is small but oh so tasty.

Cantaloupe Ripening

As I mentioned before, I have never planted cantaloupe before and had no idea how to grow them. I did do some reading and I know they love lots of water and heat. But they do not like to have their feet wet according to an old gardening book. By feet they mean, don’t let them sit in over-moist dirt too long. Good idea to use a sandy top soil or I sat them on top of a vine to keep them out of puddled water in the wheelbarrow.

I hope you have enjoy reading about my wild cantaloupe melons and find these tips useful. Here is one final picture of my cantaloupe cut and ready to enjoy. Continue Reading →

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Garden Update

I haven’t posted in awhile and thought I’d share a garden update. It has been a challenging year with many of my seeds not wanting to grow very well. I had trouble with green onion seeds from two different companies that did not sprout. Then my tomato seedlings did not want to grow much after about an inch or two of development.
Zucchini 2021

But I am having success with my zucchini plants. See photo above of the big one which I have already harvested several zucchinis from already. There is another little one on the upper right which is hidden somewhat. I planted this one later so to stagger my crop. I love zucchini and what to be able to have an on-going crop so I planted one early and another seed was started recently.

Next I want to share an interesting development that happened in a old wheelbarrow that I keep for composting in the garden. I just throw all sorts of composting material like coffee grounds, egg shells, veggie trimmings, and whatever else I might have to toss. Well about a month ago I threw in some cantaloupe rinds and seed pulp into this wheelbarrow. Guess what, I have several wild cantaloupes growing now. I cleaned up the area around the plants and have been watering them faithfully. Check out the photo below.

Cantaloupe growing from seed pulp

I have never grown cantaloupe and not sure if it’s very conducive to growing in our climate but I’m giving it a go. I can’t wait to see how this experiment turns out.

Here are a few more photos of my tomato plants. The one tomato plant in the distance was started from some later seeds so it is smaller. I hope it will have enough time to development. But the big one closest to the camera already has many green tomatoes on it. Continue Reading →

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Spring Garden Prepping

Spring is nearly here and time to start planning for this season’s garden. Last year I started seedlings indoors and had lots of extra time for spring garden prepping due to the pandemic shutdown. I was off work and had more time to get my seedlings started and work on my garden area.
Garden Seeds

Last year my husband built cedar raised bed boxes for our garden and fenced a large garden area to keep out critters. We live in the woods and have to fence out deer, moose, elk and other critters that would love to eat my garden for their meal.

So this year, I have the garden area already fenced and the garden boxes in place. I just need to do some clean-up, fertilizing and tilling to get things ready for planting. But I also need to get some seedlings started in-doors.

If you are on a budget like I am, you will probably want to check out your local dollar store for garden items that you can pick up cheap. I scored some veggie and flower seeds that were priced 4 for a dollar. I also got some nice white garden stakes that I can write on to mark my plants. Additionally I was able to get some flexible tie wiring that is very handy for tomato plants, beans and other veggies to keep them off the ground and tidy. They also have garden gloves, planter pots, potting soil, and other gardening supplies which are all priced at just a dollar. You can’t beat those prices.
Garden Supplies

I used some dollar store tomato, lettuce and other vegetables seeds last year and they produced nicely. So if you have a chance, check out your dollar store to score some extra seeds and supplies as it is always wise to have extra items that you obtained at great prices on-hand. These items sell out fast so don’t wait too long.

Anyway hope everyone is thinking about gardening and growing some of your own food this year. As they keep saying, these are uncertain times and we need to be certain we have food growing in our yards that we can eat and supplement what we can or cannot buy at grocery stores.

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Homemade Tomato Sauce

I had a huge garden of tomato plants this last year. So I ended up with lots of tomatoes and wanted to make my own homemade tomato sauce with this abundance of tomatoes.

Tomatoes in Pot for Tomato Sauce

I first cut up the tomatoes and placed them in a large pot for cooking. I generally followed a vintage tomato sauce recipe where I cut up the tomatoes and let them stand a few minutes in a colander to drain off some of the excess juice. I added a bit of dehydrated green peppers and onions (one tablespoon each), and a sprinkle of cayenne powder for a bit of zing to my pot.

Tomato Sauce Start with Spices

Next, bring to boil and cook for about an hour on low. Remember to stir occasionally until you have a nice pulp. I then used my food mill to make a smooth tomato puree.

Tomatoes in Food Mill

I ended up with this lovely pot of tomato puree ready for the next step. Continue Reading →

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