It all started with this idea about 7 years ago. Only plant what we could eat. Grow things you can’t get at the store. Start living Greener. Start being more self sufficient. But how? I was not a farmer. Born in New York City during the 70s, gardening was something my grandparents from Italy did. Not me. I worked a real job. I used paper plates and napkins. I drove everywhere. I used instant mashed potatoes! I told my husband about this idea and he thought I was nuts! But somehow it seemed like the right decision. Food was being poisoned with pesticides and prices kept creeping up. Our landfills are getting huge and leaching toxins. So my first decision is to do what all Floridians do, plant citrus trees. That passed by the spouse’s nut radar. I put in a few and ate them every winter. It was a small thing. It was just something to “do” but not anything close to self sufficient or even “green.” The idea of gardening on a larger scale was daunting. I was so NOT green. I didn’t have the time or knowledge. I barely knew how to cook a vegetable let alone grow it. My yard was lawn and sand. It wasn’t even dirt. It would never be enough to actually make a difference so why bother. My mind was full of every reason to not start! Then I thought, “Why do I need to do it all.” Who made this rule. NO ONE! So there is the beginning. Each year I did something else to add to the idea of survival and also being green. I never asked for jewelry or trips for my presents. I asked for composters, worm bins, chicken coops and berry bushes. I got serious about coupons. I stockpile. I learned to can and make my own laundry soap and cleaners from just a few items like vinegar and borax. I stopped feeding into the “keep up with the Jones’s attitude.” So my point here is this. You can do it! One year at a time, one non-necessity at a time. No acreage or special skills needed. In the long run you will acquire all the skills you need to save a lot of money, eat better, and be prepared for whatever comes our way.
So where do you start. That is a great question. I started in the smallest way I could think. Are you sitting down yet? You ready. It is so simple yet powerful. Cloth Napkins! Yes I said it. Napkins like we had when we went to grandmas. And while you are at it, try handkerchiefs. Do you realize how much money you save not using all that paper from napkins and tissues? Buy enough to get one per person per meal. No more relying on the store to wipe your nose or mouth. I bought 12 black napkins (so no stains show) years ago from a major retailer with a coupon of course. I had a small stockpile of paper napkins at the time and have never bought napkins since. If TSHTF you won’t need to run to the store to blow your nose or wipe your mouth.
The second thing I did was start composting. I was a bit radical and bought a worm bin. It is best to get an actual worm bin as opposed to making your own from a storage tub. Those aren’t as efficient, a bit messy, and you get what you pay for. My worms have multiplied so much that I barely have enough food to keep up with their hunger. It is important to start composting as much as possible first. This will make you more self sufficient and save you tons of money on fertilizer and composted material. Ideally you will need 2 to 3 methods of composting: a pile, a tumbler, and some worms. I say this because the next thing you need to do is befriend someone who owns a horse.
There is nothing like helping out someone clean up their yard and score some sweet fertilizer. It composts quickly and will enrich the soil while keeping your pocket full.
As time went on I added more things, a real garden, fruit trees and shrubs. I began to learn about herbal medicine and growing native plants for medicine. Chickens are a must. I know most ordinances don’t allow for them, but the movement is on in most areas to push our governments to allow them. Where there is a will there is a way. Gardening in the front yard is also attracting attention. I have been doing it for years but in not so obvious ways. Want to learn more about actually making these changes, then come back and visit as I share step by step how to make permanent, easy and doable changes to your habits that will make you more self sufficient, green, and put a few extra dollars in your pocket.