Monday, September 29, 2014

Three simple ideas: Grow your own food

Even though we call it a "simple life", getting started can appear anything by simple.  Especially if you watch too much Gardening Australia or other DIY programs, everything they do seems to involve lots of expensive inputs, like bags and bags of palletised manures and bales of lucerne hay instead of trying to find simple, cheap and local solutions.  And cooking shows are just as bad!

There are lots of ways to start living a simple life and the path you chose will depend on your priorities and abilities.  I've been thinking about some good (easy and cheap) places to start, based on my own experiences.  I'm going to start with - Growing your own food.





Simple: A backyard vegetable garden
If you have some space in your backyard, you can start to dig up a bit of a garden area.  You can start small, just a 1m square space will produce a little food for you.  Just make sure you will have enough water, sunlight and organic matter (compost and mulch) to feed the soil.  There are lots of options, see here for a wonderful example of what can be done on a budget in a rental property.  More suggestions here.  I do recommend that you also start with either a compost or worm farm, so that you will have lots of nutrients to feed to your garden.  


dwarf lemon tree in a pot

strawberries in a pot

Simpler: A container herb garden
If you don't have the space or money (or you're renting) to start a garden, its amazing what you can grow in a few containers.  The cheapest option is to visit your local dump shop and pick up some pots, or see if your local supermarket or fruit and vege gives away used polystyrene boxes.  I currently grow most of my herbs in pots so that I can move them around the garden in different seasons.  All you need is some potting mix and either herb seedlings or seeds.  You can do the same with various vegetables.  Some good examples of a balcony gardens here.




Simplest: Sprouting
You can start sprouting using some sprouting seeds and a glass jar with a hanky secured over the top with a rubber band, or you can spend $20 on a "sprouting kit".  Either way, its a very cheap way to start growing something green to eat.  See more about my sprouting here.

What do you think?  What are some other ideas to get started with a simple life?  I will have more next week....


11 comments:

  1. Living simply is far from simple. It takes hard work, but is very rewarding. I cant think of anything further to add to your list. I have those foam boxes on my list to grow food in, and I must try sprouting. I am going to attempt growing my own wheat grass this week as I have organic wheat here from my dad, and I can then add that to my green juices for an extra spark.

    I saw a fantastic set up using foam boxes on the SpurTopia blog when the ABC gardening show visited them. I also found other great ideas on their site. Wish I lived closer, I would attend their workshops. I can always learn more even though I do live in a different part of the country where I sometimes struggle with a veggie garden in dry conditions.

    I look forward to reading more of your ideas :)

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    1. Yes, I saw their amazing garden too! The dry conditions are a challenge, and its important to plant no more than you can water on a 35degC day!

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  2. I love to watch the gardening shows even though at times they are a bit idealistic. I think the important thing for people to realize is that you dont grow your own food to save money. Sometimes you manage that, but that cannot be your only reason or you will at times be dissapointed.

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    1. I think you need to want to garden for other reasons, but you CAN save money after you get some experience and if you grow the right things (and eat what you grow!).

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  3. Yes I have a lot of veg in pots as too much concrete under our suburban block. My square metre garden boxes are good though and my worm farm invaluable to put some goodness back in my plants. Just wish I had more space to grow things.
    Ruth WA
    https://livecheaperdaybyday.wordpress.com/

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    1. It is amazing what you can grow in limited space if you're creative, good on you for having a go!

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  4. Simple living is not easy living but it sure is rewarding. I think collecting that by just collecting the water at the start of your showers every day most people will have enough to keep a decent potted garden or a small in-ground garden going through even a hot summer. I would suggest people grow only what they love and what they normally spend the most money on as a priority. Things like herbs spring to mind as they can transform a meal and are often very expensive. Also things like beans that produce prolifically .

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    1. I agree Fee, you need to plan to be able to water what you grow and be strategic about what you grow, definitely herbs and leafy greens are a good place to start.

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  5. I agree with everyone...living simple is not easy but the rewards far out weight the extra work. We garden mainly to not have to consume all the extra chemicals pumped into store bought veggies! I am already planning next years garden!

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    1. good point, there are lots of other reasons to garden apart from saving money :) and not using chemicals is the cheaper option as well!

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  6. I agree too, simple living certainly isn't simple. It's a lot of work, but it is very worth it. I do a combination of in-ground and container gardening. Thank you for sharing this at the HomeAcre Hop.
    Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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