Sunday, January 20, 2008

Garden Math

I guess to anyone who didn't grow up in the country, planting enough food for a year just seems a little off. But if you think about the amount of money you can save even with just one type of vegetable, it is astounding.

Lets do some math. Lets say your family eats green beans 3 times a week. That is 156 times a year that you would eat green beans. Now lets say that you pay 45 cents a can for generic green beans. That is a little over $70 dollars a year just in green beans. When you consider the all of the different canned vegetables your family eats over the course of the year, it can add up really fast.

Even buying vegetables fresh in the produce department of the grocery store is expensive. Fresh green beans at my local national chain are generally around $1.19 a pound. The very few times I have purchased them, it took almost a pound for my family of 4. $1.19, three times a week will cost you $185.64 a year, again for only one vegetable. And I have no idea what pesticides were used or what they have been treated with to help maintain freshness.

Another thing to think about with canned/tinned foods is the amount of processing it goes through. Salt is added to just about every type of canned vegetable on the market. And in large quantities. You will also find other preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, added colors, added flavors, ad nauseum, all for the purpose of making their product more appealing so you will buy it more often.

I am not saying that everyone can or should try to grow all of their own food. That just isn't possible these days. Most of us do not have enough workable space to be able to grow a year's worth of food. The garden that my parents had when I was growing up was about 1/2 to 3/4 of an acre, bigger than the entire lot my house is sitting on now. That doesn't mean that I can't have a garden. It just means that I can only supplement our food supply instead of grow it all. Millions of people do this by growing tomatoes on the balcony of their apartments, or planting blueberries as shrubs around the house. Even miniature lemon and lime trees are becoming popular these days.

By processing and preserving your own home grown fruits and vegetables, you only spend the cost of the seeds or plants, you know exactly what pesticides and fertilizers have been used, you can control the amount of sodium in your food, and you would be amazed at the difference in taste. You will also get the joy of know exactly what you are eating.

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