Becoming more self-reliant in your ability to grow your own produce is not nearly as hard as people seem to think it is. I plant a garden each and every year. And (most years) it keeps us fed nearly until spring.
Remember, this is a vegetable-based pantry stock up, not meat, cheese or milk. I live in a rural area, and we are preparing to get both chickens and goats in the near future. We just have to get up the coop and the fencing yet. I would absolutely adore getting a dairy cow, but my Redneck is still on the fence about that. I think that I should get one because the barn already has a milking parlor. Why not use it?? LOL
Want to plan your own garden but do not know where to start? Here are a few steps to get your planning underway.
Take stock in what your family eats for most of the week. Just write down your meal plans and keep a running tally. I’d recommend doing this for two weeks.
Replace Store-Bought with Home Grown
How much of your menu could be replaced by things you grow yourself? For example, how many times did you eat a tomato based product? How many times did you serve green beans as a side? How many potatoes did you use?
By now you should know (for example) that you need 3 cans of tomato or spaghetti sauce, 2 cans of green beans, 1/4 a jar of jelly, 3 onions, 4 green peppers, etc. etc. Take the two-week number and multiply it by 2, and then by the number of months between growing season in your growing zone. (Don’t know when that is? Check it out here.) Now you know your “magic” number for stocking up for winter.
Planning Your Pantry
Figure out how many jars of each you need to be stored, cross-reference that with the recipe amounts, and then you should know where to start.
Don’t worry if you have issues with the plan not matching the harvest amount. I still have years that I plan perfectly and it doesn’t work out. The key is always planning for extra! Better to have enough to share with family & friends than not enough to feed your family!!
If you do all this and it still seems daunting, just start small. Plant a few plants to get yourself familiar with your soil and your actual interest. I know lots of people who want to do it, but once they realize just how much work it is, they go back to the grocery store. And I completely understand. It IS a lot of work.
Just trying it out is great though. It gives you a sense of accomplishment.
If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them!! Post a comment or drop me a line!!