Whoa! August was a BIG month for us on many fronts. We took a big 2 week vacation to Cape Breton with our extended family and friends and we left the garden alone to fend for itself for 2 weeks (thank you to my Mama who dropped over to pick and weigh our goodies). Being able to spend 2 full weeks as a family, surrounded by friends, in the gorgeous outdoors and the freedom of being unplugged was a BIG blessing for us all. We had plenty of time to splash, hike, play, pick wild berries and visit many wonderful sites, including an heirloom 1744 garden tour (I posted about this the other night because it was really neat)!
Lots of grass and weeds…
We returned to a lot of veggies waiting to be picked and a lot of BIG weeds around the plants without mulch or plastic film. Thankfully the combination of mulch and the timer on the sprinkler worked well to keep everything healthy and happy! Before we left, we filled our picking buckets, loaded them into our truck and had plenty of fresh veggies for 2 weeks. We were both pleased and surprised to find the entire countertop on the BIG kitchen island was covered with a great variety of garden treasures, including Kale, which we are trying very hard to learn to love…
Big harvests before and after our vacation
We have decided to spend this year weighing and tracking the savings that come out of our garden in order to share with others some of the BIG benefits besides health and stress release that growing some of your own food can provide. We are blessed to have enough garden space to nearly negate the need to buy produce from May until at least October and freezing/preserving allows us to enjoy our own food long after the snow flies. I would call our garden a “medium” sized garden – 46 feet by 24 feet, but certainly growing in any sized “garden” that we have had the pleasure of nurturing; from a few small pots, to multiple pots on a trailer (yup, I took my garden with me one summer when we had to move!!) right to a permastructure designed to last for years, has been extremely fulfilling. By weighing and tracking cost savings, the kids are secretly doing math and book keeping on top of learning about sustainability. That is a BIG deal for kids who openly declare their disdane for math homework. Since our minions…ahem…children have been big enough to help, they have always played in the dirt and it is so rewarding to watch them learn about their food sources, the science and art behind it and the passing of seasons and life. Now they are learning about budgets too!
The BIG part of this experiment is that this month, we were featured in MoneySense Magazine!!! The girls were soooooooo excited to see themselves in print in a National magazine and to share with their friends! We can’t share that link because of copyright stuff, but you could always pick up a copy or look at the online version in the “How I did it” section.
The photoshoot was a big deal, but seeing themselves in a magazine was a way bigger deal!
On top of the magazine being published, they were also on the radio yesterday on the Weekend Gardener with Niki Jabbour, which pretty much blew their minds! Here is the link if anyone would like to share, it is a BIG deal for our family and a pretty neat way for other kids to hear how exciting getting involved in a family garden can be! Really. We are the 10:30 time slot, but the whole show is always great if you have time to listen.
Finally, as my husband would quote, we are “Putting up some big numbers, big numbers folks!” I totalled up our weight and savings for August (see Picked and Planted – August 5th to 29th for more details) and we had picked over 100 pounds of produce and saved nearly $500 dollars this month alone! That was a big shock and reaffirmed how important it is to us to grow our own.
Lastly on the BIG theme, we have set a big family eating goal for the month of September by joining the 50% Local September Club. It is a local movement encouraging people to eat 50% local for the month. That can be 50% by weight, percentage of ingredients, purchasing etc, but it forces us to look at what we eat, where it came from and how much of a footprint it leaves. The girls have already looked very hard at the pre-packaged granola bars when reaching for a snack and are asking some very mature questions, makes me proud. I don’t think eating local will be a problem, you can’t get much more local than your own backyard. I do foresee some interesting decision making at the supermarket when picking out dairy, meat and other staples that cost will play a part in. That said, I was very pleased to see how easy it was to find products from our own province by paying a bit more attention to the labels, it is worth the extra seconds.
I think that is a BIG enough ramble for August, see you next month! I have a big job to do planting the fall veggies and getting the frost blankets a hoop tunnels out again soon…but for now I will procrastinate reading the Garden Share Collective and the End of The Month Views posts!