I am a stay at home mom on a very tight budget. With grocery prices on the rise, my husband and I plan to do all we can to save on that particularly expensive bill. “Looking ahead, we expect food prices to rise by 3 to 4 percent during 2013, which is slightly higher than the average rate of inflation over the past 10 years”, according to John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. Here I explain how I do it, how I include the children in the process, and how much money we expect to save. (http://www.fb.org/index.php?action=newsroom.news&year=2013&file=nr0404.html)
Our household consists of 6 people, and all are boys except me. As it is we spend $800 per month on groceries. Most of the foods we buy in our household are vegetables, fruits, meats, milk, and bread. Our household goes through about $50 a week on vegetables, fruits, and herbs alone per week. If we grow them ourselves we are saving about $200 per month on produce.
The concept is fairly basic. With the help of my children, I planted the herbs we use the most in recycled pickle and Alfredo jars based on instructions from a Pintrest post I found. I saw this post and thought, “Hmm, we could do that!” So I used a variation of this, where I used chalk board paint from a can instead of spray paint and let the children paint it on after I sanded the area I wanted painted with a small grained sand paper. I wanted a more hands on experience for my children to feel more involved. We just added gravel from our driveway to the bottom first, then potting soil next. The gravel is for drainage so the herbs will not get root rot. We added seeds instead of buying the plant already grown so the kids could watch the whole process. Then, we added seed starter soil, just a little bit, to the top. We just watered them, and kept them in the sun. We planted mint, rosemary, thyme, sweet basil, cilantro, green onions, chives, and lavender. (http://media-cache-ak1.pinimg.com/originals/e4/96/55/e496558b7cdacbf553911aa4acbc1bd9.jpg)
For the vegetables we used the same approach as the herbs, but we used a trough planter instead of jars. We first painted the whole thing in chalkboard paint, added gravel from the driveway for drainage, and added the soil. I used potting soil, and a lot of it, since these are vegetables we are talking about here. Watching our spacing we planted the seeds, covered them in seed starting soil, watered and placed in sunny areas in the house. Once the seeds grow to a decent size, we will put them outside. We don’t want the frost to kill the seeds since it is just the beginning of spring. For the vegetables we planted spinach, onions, cucumbers, garlic, radishes, and sweet peppers. We just followed the planting instructions on the seed package.
I have a lot of mouths to feed, so I will try to save on grocery bills any way that I can. This is just one way I plan to do that. The idea seems very simple, and we can keep them in the house to continue growing through the winter months. So far the herbs are growing very fast. They have already popped through the soil. It may take longer for the vegetables to get going. I hope this helps you save a little bit on your grocery bills, and good luck. Be sure to include your children in the process as it teaches them how things grow, what they grow from, and what a plant needs to grow. It is also a great sensory bin exercise for them. My children had so much fun and are still learning from the project as they track the growth of the herbs and veggies they plan to eat.