Five Days of Gardening Goals – Replacing the Grocery Store

Do you have what it takes?  Can you grow everything you need and not buy vegetables, preserved or fresh this year?

That is our goal for 2012.  We are upping our gardening goal this year and I must say, I am quite excited!

Will it be hard?  Sure!  Will it be time-consuming?  You bet!  Will it take a lot of planning? Yes!  Can we do it?  Oh yeah!

As always, I am up for a challenge.  Not only will this challenge lower our grocery bill, but, we will become more self-sustainable by using our God-given land to grow our food.   Can we eliminate our grocery bill entirely?  Well, unless I can have a nice little rice patty out back, make my own toilet paper and grow my own mascara ingredients, probably not!

So, let’s talk about this for a minute or two.  How in the world do you plan for something like this?  Does it seem overwhelming to you to even think about making a commitment to such proportions?  I mean, we all have been a little too reliant on grocery stores and to be honest with you, I don’t particularly like them!

How do we plan for this huge gardening goal?

Let’s start with pencil and paper.  Start writing down all the vegetables that grow well in your soil.  Then, next to each vegetable, write down how you plan on using them.  For example, do you like your corn to be canned or frozen along with eating it fresh?  What about tomatoes?  I can think of 100 ways (well, maybe not that many) to eat and preserve tomatoes.  Here are some examples of a few things I’ve jotted down in my worn-out  notebook,

okra – fresh, pickled, frozen

green beans – fresh, canned with potatoes, frozen

winter squash – store in cellar, frozen

apples – fresh, apple butter, maple apple jam, apple pie filling, dried

watermelon – fresh, pickled rinds

Once you have all your vegetables written down and how you plan on using them, recheck it and really think about what you can eat for the year.  What do you buy at the grocery store that you can grow, but don’t have on the list?  Add it.  If you haven’t had luck in the past with growing that vegetable, don’t give up!  If you do some research in gardening books, you can usually find out the cause.  More than likely, it is fixable with the right soil ammendments.  With all of the varieties they have now, you might be able to find one that does well in your soil-type.

Carrots are not just for sandy soil anymore.  They now have types that do well in clay soil.  There is watermelon seed that does well in northern climates.  Read your gardening catalogs.  You will be amazed at what seeds you really can grow.

Some veggies just won’t grow well, period.  But, if you eat a lot of cauliflower, and you never had any luck growing it, it might be worth researching and persevering.  If not, get cauliflower out of your head.

Find out how much of each vegetable you want to eat each week.  For example, say you eat about a quart of green beans once a week.  That’s about 52 quarts (add more for company, potlucks, etc) of green beans for a year’s worth.

If you use about 4 large onions a week for cooking, take that times 52 weeks and you get 208 onions.

How about a couple of winter squash every 2 weeks.  That’s 48 winter squash you would need a year, not including company, etc.

It’s important to figure out those numbers first, then, start your garden layout.  There are a lot of good gardening books out there to help you in this area.  Check out my Farm and Garden Bookstore Page up top.  Any of those backyard gardening books (not market gardening) are good to give you an idea of how to lay out your garden.

You can also go to Johnny Seeds and print out planting dates, harvest info and a whole slew of other stuff.  They also have a planting calculator and a yields chart.  Just click on these links and it will take you right to that page.

You will need a pretty good size garden, especially if you have a large family like I do.  Use every inch, and do not forget to succession plant.  You don’t want all of your green beans to be ready for pickin’ at one time.  That is a cause of panic!

The key here, is to make a commitment to this goal.  It has to be more than a mental commitment.  Bring your family in on it early.  Let others know as well.  This is huge!  You need some accountability to keep it going!

Ask God to give you the strength and stamina to follow through.  Lean on His guidance.  You will need it, especially after canning your 100th jar of green beans!

Remember why you are doing what you are doing.

I’m ready!  How about you?

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Let us not forget….

23 comments on “Five Days of Gardening Goals – Replacing the Grocery Store

  1. since Im just a novice, Im hoping to provide all our tomato, green bean and zuchinni needs to start. those are our top 3(well corn technically should be in there but Im not up for trying to grow that in the city!)

    Any extra i plant will just be a bonus ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hubby and I sat yesterday working out what we are going to plant. What do I use every day– carrots, onions, celery. What do I use several times a month potatoes-red-white-sweet. What do the kiddos enjoy as sides?- beans, broccoli, beets, brussel sprouts(no wonder I spend so much time in the front of the catalog) cucumbers, kohlrabi. What grows well that I can have extra to barter and trade with- zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, butter nut, tomatoes. Oh look I'm making my own post on your blog. I'm so excited this year. The only new thing I'm planting is celery. I'm not planting corn this year because there is so much grown by neighboring farms that I can barter or trade for corn.

  3. This is such an excellent post. I too have been looking at the seed catalogue and have been writing down what to grow and where. We are thinking of moving our garden which will be a hugh undertaking, but allow us more space to grow more. I would be so nice to grow for the whole year.

  4. I'm so excited that you all are reaching for a more self-sufficient lifestyle!

    It is a big undertaking, but I believe we will see the rewards in our health, wallets and land!

    May we spur one another on to reach our goals!

    Have a blessed New Year!

    P.S. Domestic Goddess, thanks for the post;)

  5. We are trying to grow a lot of our own this year as well. Mainly the summer veggies though, I don't have enough space to grow enough winter veg for our family. The daunting part to me is to sit down and figure out what we eat in a year. We eat a mainly vegetarian diet, so vegetables are at the forefront…it is surprising how much a small family of 4 will eat!

  6. I am excited and willing…unfortunately, we have to wait another six weeks or so before starting plants in the greenhouse. I'm hoping 2012 will be our biggest and best harvest yet! I'm bookmarking this page ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I've determined to learn how to can this year! I'm not above freezing what i can tho…as long as there's food for the year, I'm happy. I'm up for the work! TY for the encouragement!!

  8. Just found your blog and it is so inspiring. We hope to be able to grow our grub one day. This year is our first year with a green house. Some kind folks on a small homestead, that no longer operates let us use theirs. We are so excited.

  9. I am absolutely going to do my best to grow all of our produce this year. I'm looking at getting chickens so we'll have eggs and maybe taking the leap to raising broilers as well. It's really exciting to think about!

  10. It is exciting to think and plan our gardening goals and becoming more self-sufficient.

    Maybe I should start a gardening forum in the spring for those of us who would like to lower or replace our groceries.

    As always, my wheels are turning:)

  11. What a worthy endeavor — I hope your efforts are blessed and you attain the goal of producing all of your own vegetables!

    We are likewise planning a large family garden this year and also new fruit trees. In addition to our egg laying chickens and fattening pigs, we get beef from my husband's parents. So we are on our way to self-sufficiency but still have lots to do!

  12. Thanks for this post! The concept is very simple, but I have never looked at it from this perspective before!

    My gardening goal for this year is to have a season where I actually have edible produce! I'm pretty new to this, but I live in AZ where we pretty much have a year-round growing season.

    I'm excited to get started. I'm going to use your idea, but also list things that we eat (and how much) but that I am not up for growing (apples and other "tree" produce, corn etc) and then try to get as much as I can via co-op/farmer's markets instead of the stuff from the grocery store.

    Thanks for the inspiration! Found your post from the Barn Hop.

  13. Being an urban homesteader my space is a lot more limited, but I'm replacing regular landscaping with more edible. I'm canning (try some pickled greens beans!) and preserving more non-freezer foods. Great ideas!

  14. Wow, all of your vegetables! That is fantastic. I have challenged myself to eat something I grew every day for the year. Once I get an idea of how that goes, I plan to expand every year. I would love to get to the point that I can grow all the produce I need, but in the city, I don't think I can do it. I am going to try my darndest and I fill in at the farmer's market to keep it local. What an inspiration!

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