Friday, May 23, 2014

Rising Food Costs-Problem? Solution!

As the heat index rises, so will your grocery bill this summer.

It’s all thanks to Mother Nature, who has been doing a number on our food supply. Ongoing droughts have bumped up prices for produce and produced a trickle-down effect on meat, since feeding cattle has become costlier. At the same time, a virus has been plaguing pigs across the nation, spiking prices on pork.

Vegetarians aren’t immune from wallet-squeezing this summer, either. An ongoing drought in California is impacting almost every type of fruit and veggie that makes it to your dinner plate.

According to a recently released Arizona State University study, nine types of produce are likely to see a serious price hike this summer: lettuce (at a whopping 34% increase!), avocados, broccoli, grapes, tomatoes, melons, peppers, berries and corn. Packaged salads are also expected to jump by 13%.

Meat is a non issue for me. I don't eat it. I do eat fish, shrimp, clams and oysters (caught in my backyard in the mid-Atlantic) as well as chicken (free range/farm raised) on occasion, but as stated above, because of drought and a long winter in many optimum growing areas of the country, fruits and veggies will be in short supply.

The solution?  Here's mine...

#1 Go fishing! I am very fortunate to live 3 miles from the Atlantic ocean but most everyone lives near     a lake, river or creek. Even if you don't , it may very well be worth the drive. Salmon was going for       over $8 a pound at Costco last weekend. Good Lord!

Yep! That's me with a beautiful Red Drum..

#2 Grow your own garden! Don't have room you say? Sure you do!

In addition to a large organic garden about a mile from my house (thanks to a great friend with a spare lot) I grow a quite adequate garden in a 3 ft. wide space outside of my fenced back yard in a residential neighborhood. The yard is for my 3 dogs and nothing can grow there with the constant activity.....           however, 3 yrs ago I read an article about vertical growing and gave it a try...with great success!

I tilled up a few feet from the fence, added some black cow and potting soil, got some organic seeds and got them started in early April. When I was certain the cold weather was gone for good and they were big enough, out they went!

Your crops must be chosen based on your location, but for most people in the USA, it's not too late to get started. Again, I recommend you get organic seeds. Buying starters from a nursery is not recommended unless you are certain and confident they are not GMO seedlings.

I take advantage of having a chain link (hurricane) fence and use it as a lattis. As my climbing veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans get large enough, I tie them to the fence with twine so they grow vertically and leave room for upright items like peppers, carrots, celery, spinach, etc. to grow behind them. Herbs are very easy to grow and I mix them in with my veggies. I have found that mixing seems to cut down on insect infestation. If I do happen to have any bug problems, I mix some cayenne pepper and water in a spray bottle and spritz. The insects don't find it appealing but use in moderation so as not to shoo away the bees. In my garden bees are plentiful..... thank goodness.

I pull weeds by hand and never use pesticides. Nothing like getting your hands dirty with Mother Earth!

This tiny garden keeps my refrigerator full from late spring until late fall :))

There are tons of videos on YouTube to help you get started. From planting to harvesting and preserving...whatever you need to know is there.

Here are a few pics of what I'm growing this year. Happy gardening!!

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