Looks like spring already. The snow’s all gone and some flowers are already in bloom. My main gardening goal for the year is to plant a vegetable garden. I know many of you are hoping to do the same thing. Growing your own food is one of the best ways to save money. I’d planned to feature an interview I did with a gardening expert in this newsletter but she had so much great information to share I’ve decided to post it on the site all by itself next week so be sure to check it out.
However, I do have more tips for you here-
P. Allen Smith
For those of you who watch public television, you might have seen a show by gardening expert P. Allen Smith. Smith, an award-winning garden designer and host of P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home and P. Allen Smith Garden is one of America’s most recognized and respected garden design experts. If you haven’t already seen his shows, check them out because for us avid gardeners they’re pure inspiration. Smith also has a Web site www.pallensmith.com that’s fun to browse too.
If like me, you’re planning a veggie garden, here are some specific links to check out-
Unusual plants from seeds
Vegetable Plants that can be grown from seeds
Starting Seeds Indoors
Common Seedling Problems
Freebie Seed Starter
I can’t remember where I saw this tip, and I haven’t tried it myself…yet but keep those plastic containers that strawberries are sold in. You can fill them with potting soil, plant your seeds and because they have a lid, they’re perfect for creating a humid environment that seeds seem to flourish in.
Other Seed Starters
By now you all now I invested in an Aerogarden. Seems like it was a good buy because they’re not just for growing food, you can also use them for starting seeds too. It’s called Garden Starter Tray from www.aerogarden.com $19.95 and the larger variety is $29.95. Once you’re done with that they also sell a refill pack which is $19.95. I
I’m going to buy one because it’s an investment in something I’m going to use every year.
Gardener’s Supply Company
A few week’s ago I received a gardening catalog from a company called Gardener’s Supply Company
www.gardeners.com Not everything in there is what I consider budget priced gardening supplies but many items like their potato growing kit are. And the prices on their raised bed kits aren’t that expensive and once again, an investment that’s going to last year after year. And check out their free Kitchen Garden Planner. You simply drag and drop items to create your own garden. Plus, you can enter to win a garden cart.
A Kitchen Garden
If you’re worried about how to set up your garden, I found this informative article titled Starting A Kitchen Garden, check it out at-
The Great Thing About the Internet
One good thing about searching online for tips is you find at least one site a day that’s worth bookmarking. I found this one while researching gardening topics. And while I never recommend doing certain things yourself like wiring your home, this site gives you some insider tips when you’re hiring outside help -www.doityourself.com
When we first moved into our house, the previous owners had two fish ponds. We soon discovered two were just too hard work to upkeep so we removed the preformed one. It’s been sitting around the yard for well, I’m too embarrassed to say how many years. This spring I think I’ve found a use for it. Growing vegetables. It’s above ground which means bugs and bunnies will have a tough time getting to the plants. I can plant the veggies earlier than in the ground. And here’s the biggest plus, not so much bending when it needs weeding. So think what you have sitting around the house or garden that could be a garden freebie.
And speaking of…
Freebies. Check out plants that might have grown too big for their space. Spring is a great time to divide plants. Also, do you have neighbors who admire your plants and you admire theirs? How about a neighborhood swap?
Budget Minded Shows
Okay, enough about gardening. Here are some shows I’ve discovered on cable TV that are just for us budget savvy folks.
www.foodnetwork.com Ten Dollar Dinners, Good Deal with Dave Lieberman, Sandra’s Money Saving Meals
Clark Howard Show on HLN check his site for times in your area at, www.clarkhoward.com
Is That Still Good?
When you’re budget minded, you hate to throw food away but sometimes I wonder is it still good? Here’s a site I found that seems to answer that very question-www.stilltasty.com
And the folks at The Spice Hunter www.thespicehunter.com sent the following tips about keeping spices fresh. And they also sent a recipe for you to try.
The Spice Hunter offers the following tips to maximize the life of your spices:
1.Store spices in airtight containers away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight; that means away from the stove and dishwasher.
2.Test your spices periodically. For ground spices, shake the jar, let it settle and give a sniff. If there’s essentially no scent, it should be tossed out.
3.If you choose to store herbs and spices in the freezer or refrigerator, return them promptly after use to avoid condensation.
4.Never shake herbs or spices out of the bottle directly into something you’re cooking — that’s the quickest way to steam and spoil your spices.
5.Catalog spices with the date you bought them, and tape the list to the inside door of the cabinet. This provides quick reference when making a grocery list and also helps to know when to cull aging spices.
1 onion, chopped
2 potatoes, cubed
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. The Spice Hunter Fish Seasoning
2 cups half & half
½ tsp. salt
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 lb. white fish (snapper, halibut, sea bass)
green onions for garnish
Melt butter in medium pot. Add onions and potatoes, cover and sauté lightly. Add Fish Seasoning and sauté briefly. Add water to cover. Let cook until potatoes are nearly done. Add cream and corn. Cook until hot. Add fish, cook 2 minutes or until fish is done. Serve topped with chopped green onions.
Fiber and Legumes
Just yesterday I read that more companies are going to promote foods like lentils and other legumes that good for you but kind to your budget. I guess we’ve known that all along, and another thing that’s good for you and your wallet is whole grains. I found this site with lots of recipes to try-www.wholegrainscouncil.org
Join This One
My parents were always members of the AAA and I’ve often thought about joining but never got around to it. However, this winter with its record snow and bitter cold temperatures, I saw so many cars in ditches or just stranded (and as my car’s getting older), I thought it’s about time I joined. Basic membership cost me just $65 and the biggest plus is I get discounts on everything from restaurants to cinema tickets too. Definitely worth checking out. www.aaa.com
Speaking of Cars
One thing I hate is when something goes wrong with my car and needs repair? Are you getting a good deal or is the mechanic honest? Check out this article titled 10 Things Your Mechanic Won’t Tell You
Invite Some Friends Over
Seems like this recession has changed our habits. More people are staying in and watching movies. Now Pop Secret gives you the opportunity to invite your friends. Check out this article-
Eat Well, Save Big
I’m enjoying my subscription to All You magazine. They also send me e-mail alerts to more savings and this is one that arrived in my e-mail box the other week, thought it might be of interest and there’s a $1 coupon to print www.allyou.com/coupons-deals/all-you-cookbook-00400000062239
On the Web This Month
Here are two articles I found that are budget related-
No need for plastic surgery…ways to look younger on a budget
Freeze these things to save money-
Thanks to everyone who’s been e-mailing me with nice comments about the site and newsletter. It’s very appreciated.