Autodidacts Creating Culture

Growing Edibles and Skimping on Groceries

As the edibles in our garden mature, our reliance upon the grocery store has diminished–which is great because I dislike shopping.

Despite the fact that we live in a city with about 400,000 people, we have a huge urban garden and an apiary I call West Vista Urban Farm.   We ‘keep up’ by tending pieces of it.  Once a day, usually in the morning after coffee, I go outside and gather greens for my Vitamix smoothie.  Being a constant gardener, I can’t help but tidy up by snatching kale leafs with powdery mildew, pulling weeds, and throwing the less than ideal bunch of greens to our chickens, who happily rip it up for entertainment.  Weekends are the time for more involved tasks like pruning, jet-spraying aphids with water, rotating compost piles, cleaning the chicken coop, checking the bees, amending soil, or deterring ants.

My husband David and I try not to let any foods we grow waste.  We harvest the plants regularly in order to avoid them bolting, a natural cycle of the plant to produce seeds and die eventually.  Although sometimes I select a plant and let it go to seed.  

Whether the plants are in the garden or already harvested and wrapped up tightly in the refrigerator drawer, we note what needs to be eaten.  Together, we consider which veggie we’d like to eat with the meat I’ve defrosted for dinner.  David prepares the greens and the bok choy better than I do.  

So here’s what we’ve been eating lately

arugula, broccoli, Russian kale, dinosaur kale, rainbow chard, typical chard, typical cabbage, sorrel, red-leaf and romaine lettuce, spinach, garlic, Portuguese cabbage, Chinese cabbage (like a red leaf bok choy), dandelion greens, tomatoes, poblano gordo peppers, several other peppers, Meyer’s lemons, eggs, and lastly honey

Herbs include

yerba buena, nasturtium, parsley, thyme, sage, basil, and rosemary  

Prepared foods grown in the summer that we’re eating now are

roasted tomatoes, tomatillo sauce, turkey, chicken, popcorn, vegetable and bone broths, dried:  oregano, parsley, figs, plums, raisins, and apricots

Next up 

avocados, snow peas, oranges, and potatoes

What’s growing at your place?  How often do you go outside and tend your edible or ornamental plants?

7 Responses to “Growing Edibles and Skimping on Groceries”

  1. thespunmonkey

    Oh, my, I do sometimes miss having so many months of the year to tend a garden. Planting garlic in October was the last task to perform until I start seeds three months from now!

  2. Stefaneener

    Kristin, I was just thinking today that I hadn’t planted enough kale! You guys seem as though you’ve really got it together.

    • Kristin

      I thought you didn’t like kale, or was it chard?

      Lately I like raw kale in my smoothie with dried apricots, a splash of honey/water, ice, water, goat yogurt, flax oil, cod liver oil and a pro-biotic–a pinch to grow on.

      Greens are my brain food.

      Things are coming together as the edibles mature. It’s hard to keep up with it all–as you know. But it’s a lifestyle.

  3. Beauty Along the Road

    Let’s see, what’s growing here: icicles? Just kidding, we actually got a “lucky” break and spring weather for a few days. But it’s just a teaser before we get more snow. I have winter rye that’s about 4 or 5 inches tall and is a really nice cover crop. I have garlic scapes that somehow make it thru the worst of winters and pick back up in the spring for some serious bulb growing.
    Other than that, the only thing that’s alive and growing is inside the hoophouse: lettuces, mustard greens, spinach, kale. I’ll plant some variety of small carrot that does well hunkering down in the hoophouse and then really takes off in early spring.
    Oh, and my Phaeleonopsis (sp?) orchid has 4 new stalks and I can’t wait for the blooms (but that’s inside my house) :-) Glad you still have access to so much fresh produce where you are.

    • Kristin

      Hi Annette,

      I am dying to see where you live. The bits and pieces you describe sound lovely. You have a lot growing despite the cold. I can’t wait until my cymbidium blooms for the first time since its last blooms when I bought it a few years back. There is something miraculous about plants.


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