About a month I ago I started some fruits and vegetables indoors for fresh produce during the winter. I got mini dwarf orange, tangerine, 3-N-1 citrus trees, and strawberries going for fruits. I took some tomato cuttings and have them going in big pots. I also started bush beans, cucumber, spinach, cantaloupe from seed.
Yesterday I received some seeds I ordered for dwarf zucchini, small cucumber, and strawberries (to replace the end of season freebie starts that didn’t make it). I also started a pot of mixed leaf lettuce.
After more than a year and a half of working on being more frugal, I can definitely say this has become part of my lifestyle. It’s helped me to do some really important things, like using the money I saved to pay off my student loans early and buy my first home. It also put me in a better mindset for my bigger goals of living simply and urban homesteading.
This is one of those goals I’ve only been keeping up with on and off. I’m going to try working harder on it. Joined the gym at work last week and have been getting up at 4:30 every morning to work out at least an hour before work, and was even in on the weekends. My workout is more serious too. On the elliptical have been alternating 2 mins jogging speed and 2 minutes walking speed for a half hour. The other half hour is spent on the weights alternating with calestenics.
For freeweights I’m now doing 2×10 each of Bicep Curls, Shoulder Raises, Tricep Kickbacks, Overhead Extensions, and Upward Rows. On the machines I’m doing seated leg presses, seated leg curls, lat rows, lat pull downs, reverse flys, flys, and shoulder presses. On rest days I’ll be working on putting together more calisthenics and a core routine.
I was really pleased with my first garden. So much so that I’m going to start making attempts at moving towards urban homesteading and growing as much of my own food as I can.
I grew a little bit of everything to see how well they worked for me: corn, beets, kohlrabi, spinach, potatoes, carrots, mixed greens, cauliflower, broccoli, cantalope, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, and bush beans. I started a dwarf apple tree and raspberries. Also constructed coldframes at the end of the year.
I’ve forgotten to check into the site for a while. I seeded mothers day weekend (only tomatoes were from starts) and reseeded he couple missing spots memorial day weekend, and things are looking good. I’m excited to see the progress of things I’ve never grown before, like this corn. It’s up to about 8 inches tall now. It better get a move on if it’s going to be “Knee high by the Fourth of July”.
It was finally dry and warm enough for me to finish preparing my garden this weekend. I pulled sod off the 7×15 area, added fresh topsoil, compost, and fertilizer. Now all I have to do is give it a good turn when it dries out again and it’s ready for seeds! I even took off May 8th in hopes of good weather for planting weekend.
I think I’ve completed this goal to my satisfaction. I’ll be closing this and moving on to “cook with dehydrated food”, now that I’m busy dehydrating.
Another batch is out of the dehydrator. This time it’s lemons and limes. I washed the fruit, used a food slicer to get them cut evenly (about 1/4 inch), and dehydrated at 155 for about 24 hours until crisp.
I love having a lemon slice in my water or iced tea, but too often forget I have lemons in the fridge so they go to waste. This way they are always fresh and available :)
I’m so excited about how the Aldis spaghetti sauce same out! This is one jars worth of sauce. Half is shown as hard chips, the other half I vitamixed into 1/3 cup of powder :) It took almost 48 hours of dehydrating at 155 to get it dry enough to powder, but I’m really tickled with this “spaghetti sauce bullion” I got as a result.
Off to finish powdering the other 5 jars!
I made big batches of pb&j sandwiches and cookies then froze them for grab and go lunch options on busy mornings. (There’s no excuse for eating in the cafeteria now!)
I know I missed posting a lot of these here. The rest are on my blog.
The grocery store had big signs up saying banana prices are on the rise. So the next time I passed Aldis I stopped to get 4 bunches of bananas to dehydrate. That way I’ll have cheap banana chips to munch on when fresh banana prices are high.
I’m still busily working on building up a stash of dried fruits and veggies. Here are the new batches: frozen corn, broccoli, mushrooms, and onions.
I learned the hard was onions should be dehydrated outside. The house smelled for days and my eyes watered as they dried. Ugh!
Someone I went to a gardening class with is involved with The Victory Garden Initiative. They are based in my area and I’m excited about getting involved. It’s still quite early for gardening in Wisconsin, so I’ve just started digging. I got halfway though tearing off sod and will have to wait until after tonights blizzard is over and melted before I can finish.
Here’s batch 3. One bunch of celery sliced and dehydrated at 135 degrees over night on fruit roll up trays produced 1/2 cup. Since these shrink so much it’ll take me 3 more bunches to fill a mason jar…crazy!
Batch 2 just came out of the dehydrator. I used an apple peeler to core, peel, and slice these apples. They were spritzed with lemon juice and dehydrated at 135 for 12 hours.
I think I could have taken them out sooner. I was a little confused though because they were always still a little pliable when I checked them. As soon as they were out from under the heat though they crisped right up.
I have a feeling I’ll be in for a treat when it comes time to cook these up :)
After watching Dehydrate2store’s videos on youtube and checking out various how-to sites, I decided to start out with a 2 pound bag of carrots that has been sitting unused in my fridge.
I sliced the carrots, put them in the steamer for 5 minutes, then let them cool in ice water for 5 minutes. These were then strained and dehydrated at 135 for 6 hours.
The one hiccup in this plan was that I decided to use the food processor to slice the carrots for me. Mid-way though an unchopped carrot piece got jammed into the output opening. This caused the whole lid to pop off and carrot slices to escape and fly wildly around the kitchen. The lid jamming open also caused the tab that activates the safety switch to break off, making the machine completely un-usable.
So long story short…although I started out with 2 pounds, I’m uncertain how much survived to be dehydrated. I’ll be running another load soon to top off the jar. Then once I get the 100cc oxygen absorbers I ordered, I’ll throw one in and it’ll be ready for long term storage in my pantry :)
I’ve been saving egg cartons to use as seed starter trays. I’m starting my first garden this year!
After watching dehydrate2store’s youtube videos on how to dehydrate fruits and veggies, package them for long term pantry storage, and how to cook with dehydrated foods, I decided to give it a try. I’ve gotten a few batches done already and will post pictures and instructions as soon as I get a chance :)
I’m going to have to drop this goal. I enjoyed eating 50% raw for the couple months it lasted, but the grocery bill was several times what I normally spend (I can do $20 a week normally). In this economy and with my lack of job stability (I was actually scheduled to be in the last round of layoffs at work) I just can’t afford to do it.
I am closing this one. I did quite a few but my freezer just isn’t up to the challenge. Luckily I found that out where there wasn’t too much food in there. Between it not maintaining a constant temperature and liking to freezer burn things in the process, this just isn’t going to work for me.