Many folks grow a garden as an accompaniment to main courses throughout the summer. You know, a tray of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes to go with the barbecued chicken and potato salad, or a nice tossed salad from the garden to go along with the grilled steak and chips and dip for dinner. Yet, what about making your garden the star?
In order to make your garden the star to reduce spending in food expenses, it requires creating your meals around what is ready to pick from the garden as a main course rather than condiments and side dishes. Even if you are not creative or experimental in the kitchen, with such readily available access to the internet, there is no reason why you could not find main course recipes to help you out.
By making the garden a star, my family for the last two months has been able to reduce our monthly grocery bill down to $235 for a family of six. Of course, that does include cat food, personal and paper products, too, and is not just food. We have done this by having the garden provide daily for the main courses for the most part.
To get you thinking, we have made zucchini breads (for breakfasts or lunches), zucchini and green tomato bake with toasted almonds, layered greens, which is basically lasagna with collards taking the place of lasagna noodles. Salads with homemade bread, stir-frys using yellow crookneck squash and, of course, soups to use things like kohlrabi. We look at main dishes for breakfast, lunches and dinners and find making homemade white bread is a nice fill in (especially with homemade jam!) This keeps things really minimal from what we need to purchase at a grocery store.
Fairly soon we will be looking at BLTs, stuffed tomatoes and stuffed zucchini, as well. The list of what you can make goes on forever! When viewing the garden as the main course, it becomes the star that it should be while lowering the costs of a food bill at the same time. The garden should really shine throughout the summer months and stand center stage. By doing so, you could really see a significant savings!
Do you make the garden a star, or is it waiting on the sidelines more in the shadows?
Carrie Hetu is not a financial expert, but has been passionate about finances since the age of 19 years old when a neighbor introduced her to taxes. From that time, she has made a point to increase her financial literacy into areas of frugal living, investing, real estate, budgeting and passive income. She currently blogs at Poor to Rich a Day at a Time and Simply Homeschooled.