Supplement Your Budget with a Garden
By Debbie Roland and Emmy Ulmschneider, Master Gardeners
I guess you have noticed that the price of things is going up. One of those things is food.
So, what can you do instead of letting worry get the best of you? Last year I started wondering what exactly my family would do if the supplies were low. I wanted to be prepared so I did a “2021 trial run”. Here are the results: I grew enough veggies in two raised beds to satisfy a family of two (with some giveaways) for the summer and fall season!
I have an 8’ diameter blue tub that was a pond years ago (see picture below of bed ready to plant). I bought it at a feed store. When we did away with the pond I started using it to grow vegetables. After drainage holes were added I set it on the ground and added a few inches of potting soil and compost mix. Over the years I have added more of that mix in addition to any organic materials I could get, including kitchen scraps, leaves and grass clippings. It is now almost full with delicious soil.
I want to share with you what I was able to grow in the round bed and one more 3’ x 10’ bed. Both beds get full sun. In the 3’ x 10’ bed I planted black eyed peas directly in the soil. I had never grown peas before but since they are full of protein I decided to give it a shot. I am here to tell you that I grew some peas!
In the round bed I planted a tomato plant on the West side of the bed. My hope was that it would get the sun it needed and maybe give the plants on the East side a little shade in the afternoon. On the North side I planted a jalapeno (because who can do without a hot pepper). On the South side of the bed I planted a bell pepper. On the East side I planted various lettuces and spinach. I replanted these through the summer so that I could pull the leafy plants when they started seeding out. There were still onions from the winter planting which I left until I needed them throughout the summer.
Guess what? I had enough vegetables for the summer and into fall. In the round bed there was plenty of room to plant more and different types of vegetables which I feel, along with the black eyed peas, would have been about what a family of four could eat. The experiment was a success.
The stores have their plants and seeds out now. Go grab some and get started. STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK! We will talk about some easy container gardening.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and westtexasgardening.org.