Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Save Money: Plant Spring, Plan for Fall

The second “spring peeper frog snow storm” started howling the evening of April 6th and it snowed all day on the seventh. It should end around daybreak, the eighth. I'll count it as the second snow storm though it has lasted for three days. According to the spring peeper frog weather lore, we should have one more blast of winter weather.
The full moon is April 9th and is called the Full Pink Moon after some early blooming, pink wild phlox. There sure isn't much color this year except for patches of green where the leeks emerged last week. Today, I might have some better names for the April Full Moon which I am not sure I want to record publicly.
Peas, both Alaska and Little Marvel were planted in the vegetable garden April 2nd. With the Alaska peas (pictured above but the planted seeds are under snow), both oakleaf and buttercrunch lettuces were planted from seeds left over from last year. The Marvel peas were planted in the larger garden next to a row of garlic. Peas and lettuce can be planted early in the spring and with the costs at the grocery stores, these vegetables should save some money.
They should be warm with these cold temperatures, I'd guess we have about six inches of snow on the ground. I'd imagine the spring peepers frogs are warm buried deep in the mud.
The “on top of the refrigerator” broccoli plants (pictured above) emerged within three days and are now in a southern window. Broccoli is another vegetable which can save money. It is expensive in the supermarket. Last time I looked $2.99 a pound and likely shipped from California.
Broccoli can be planted early and matures quickly if given plenty of water and compost or organic material. It enjoys cooler weather but not a hard freeze (below 28 degrees).
Once the main head is cut, smaller florets appear and these can also be harvested. Broccoli can be replanted in August for a fall crop. There are numerous companion vegetables and herbs which can be planted and grow well with broccoli which also save money in the kitchen budget. Fresh herbs in particular are expensive yet easy to grow. Herbs can save money as much as fresh vegetables and provide enhanced home cooked gourmet meals.
Broccoli can be used in a whole range of dishes and it really is a powerhouse of health benefits, according to medical research. There are broccoli cheese casseroles, broccoli dips, broccoli salads; it can be steamed, boiled slightly or eaten raw.
I realized another extra way to save money with broccoli. Last year, I wanted to plant a fall crop, but all the stores and garden centers had removed seed packages. I purchased a new package of broccoli this year for $1.79. I planted half of the package and have 50+ seedlings growing now. The rest I saved for planting in a couple months.
Broccoli freezes well and this year there will be plenty from plants that cost about a penny apiece. Want to save money and eat healthy? I am thinking broccoli is a good choice.
Now we'll have to wait and see what happens to the snow covered seeds of peas and lettuce.
If your thinking more about a getaway, visit the Helium Zone on New York's Southern Tier by Kathleen Richardson, a fellow write at Helium who also has a blog On My Way Up. For some really good gardening information visit Dan from Ontario at Urban Veggies.
Dan reports snow at his place but his cold frames seemed to have protected his plants.
Thanks for visiting.

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