We may actually get a rainy day today! Well, so far it’s pretty dry, just a few sprinkles, but the weather has promised us rain… I made sure to water the garden this morning to encourage it! It’s been about two months since we’ve had any real rain, so it would be really nice if it managed it. I’ve got a bunch of fall veggies in the garden now (broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips) and they would enjoy some more rain. It’s funny, you’d think the harvesting part of gardening would be the easy fun part, but it can also be a challenge. I’ve picked the peppers, eggplants and zucchini, but it’s tough. Sadly that’s it for this year’s zucchini, it will be replaced by lettuce and carrots. Overall though gardening has gone pretty well this year. Next year I’m going to actually manage some squash though!
We got plums and apples from my father-in-law’s trees when we went up to visit him, so there is now lots of applesauce (15 quarts) and lots of plum jam (9 half-pints). I’m really happy to have some more fruit stored for this winter! It also makes me really look forward to when we have fruit trees of our own since the fruit we brought back was only a tiny part of what the trees were producing. Someday! (I have plans for two apple trees, a pear tree, a peach tree and a cherry tree, maybe plums or figs if I get ambitious).
We also canned a whole bunch of pickled hot peppers (10 pints of jalapenos and wax peppers) too. It’s awesome to go down and see our awesome stockpile in the basement. It really brings home how effective the garden can be. We’ve got a lot of food in the basement now, and if we’re smart in planning our meals it will have a pretty awesome influence on the grocery budget. I could do a lot of math to try and figure out my exact return on investment, but for me, my gardening spending comes out of money I’ve allocated for personal stuff/hobbies, so the vegetables are effectively ‘free’.
For those who wonder what the actual cost would be and whether gardening is secretly super expensive it’s about $5 for a ‘market pack’of 6 plants at the local nursery or about $5 annually to grow about 10 plants from seed (assuming you have the equipment, buy nice pre-made potting soil and buy nice seeds). At that point (assuming your garden is made up) just put the plants in the ground and you’re set. There are some start up costs for gardening, but you can get good results with pretty minimal annual costs. Of course there is a steep learning curve like sewing. And making mistakes means losing plants and starting over or trying something else, but this year I feel like I’m finally starting to get it. Also even in a bad year, your plants generally still produce a little (even my poor squash…*sigh*) and that return is enough to offset the minimal annual costs. And when you win? You have at minimum a year’s supply of that food, which is amazing and awesome.
Of course you’re paying for that with time, but at least for me gardening is something I enjoy, so it’s worthwhile. Like sewing and knitting!
Speaking of which, I have sewing and knitting projects to work on too. Since the season has definitely started to change I’m sewing some new clothes for work (some shirts for me and Patrick and a new skirt too) and I made some fall decorations for fun. I’m also knitting a new winter sweater. Having unpacked my fall/winter clothes, I’ve been doing really well and knitting sweaters and cardigans. It’s nice to know this winter will be warm!