Another parable He put forth to them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. –Matthew 13:24
As I was writing a blog about gardening, it hit me that spring was the perfect season to remind people if they grow their own food, they’ll not only eat healthier but cut their grocery budget as well. Why don’t we? Some are like me and just don’t have a talent for growing plants, but the greatest reason is convenience. Grocery stores are a lot more convenient than clearing land, preparing the soil, planting, watering, harvesting. Besides, most of us don’t have a lot of real estate to invest.
We do Things When the Need Becomes Great Enough.
Everyone was called on to contribute to the war effort in WWII. One of those ways was to grow a Victory Garden, the idea being if people grew some of their food, there’d be more to send to the soldiers overseas. Gardens sprang up in the country and in towns. I’m sure even apartment dwellers had their container gardens. That was a real “get ‘er done” generation.
We don’t have a world war going on now, but the economy has made it expedient to do anything to stretch the budget. Produce is an expensive item. You can do a lot of stretching with not much effort.
Consider a Herb Garden.
The price of fresh herbs is outrageous, and if you want “organic” you’ll pay even more. It takes little effort to construct a box planter, and those helpful garden supply people can answer any question. Just remember they may want to sell you more than you need. A container, soil, and a sunny spot is all required. Put it outside if it’s warm enough, or keep it in a window, and you can grow herbs all year. The garden may inspire you to cook more, and the dishes you do cook may be more flavorful, motivating everyone to want to eat in, and eating in will definitely save money.
Expand to a Kitchen Garden.
If you have the space and the energy, think of a kitchen garden. Lettuce, cabbage, carrots, radishes, beets, tomatoes, onions, berries. All those salad and stew vegetables that cost a lot in the grocery store, and you don’t know how they were grown despite what they claim. Adding all those vegetables to your family’s diet can only improve your health, so you’ll save on health care costs too.
I admit the only vegetables I’ve successfully grown are spinach and tomatoes. They’re the only vegetables I’ve ever tried to grow, but they make a good salad. If they just grew at the same time… But I count the effort worth it. I get two months of the freshest, most tender spinach possible, and a whole season of the sweetest, juiciest tomatoes on the planet.
Go Big Time with a Truck Garden.
With enough land, you can even grow a truck garden and have an abundance of vegetables. You can stock your freezer and pantry for the whole year. But anyone serious enough to have a truck garden already knows that. Here’s something else to consider.
Grow more than vegetables.
Most large gardens produce more than the needs of the average family. Gardeners are a generous people, and they share with friends, relatives, and neighbors. I’ve been on the receiving end of their generosity many times.
Even so, sometimes produce dries up in the field or is thrown away. I’ve seen this happen many times, and it’s a sad sight when so many are malnourished. Take care not to let this happen. Call on your church or children or anyone to help harvest the vegetables and take them to food shelters or just leave them at the corner of a street in a needy neighborhood. They’ll be snatched up.
We have the ability to sow good seed in the spirit as well as in the ground, and while saving money in your budget by growing your own food is good, this by-product of generosity is more important. If you truly want to live richly, there’s no better way than this.
Whether it’s a pot of herbs set in your kitchen window or a field of vegetables to fill up your own pantry and share with the needy, nearly everyone can benefit from working in the good earth. So get those little seedlings growing.
Next week I’ll be discussing buying second-hand, where you can find items for one-tenth the price of new, and serve the purpose just as well.