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Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Grocery Garden is Like Having Money in the Bank

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt!  >> Margaret Atwood


   A Grocery Garden is Like Having Money in the Bank

      Although I’ve never fully regained my stamina and strength after my heart attack and bypass surgery, I still enjoy having a garden, though it is much smaller and I now must hire someone to operate my rototiller and I now resort to using vegetable plants which have already been started [at least I barter for them with a local nursery].

Nonetheless, nothing beats the taste of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and other vegetables and it is pleasurable to enjoy being out in the sun.  Since our city financially rapes us for the cost of water we make extensive use of 55-gallon rain barrels in order to save money on watering and I encourage others to recycle rainwater wherever possible.

>>Personal Hint:  If you live in a muggy climate like I do, try this cooling energizer:  Mix ½ cup of lemon juice, ½ cup lime juice, a few drops of lemon extract in a bowl and add a ½ cup of baking soda or magnesium flakes into a bath of tepid water and hop in for a soak for as long as you like!


Here’s another money-saving hint…save bath water, the water from floral arrangements, from when you change your fish tank, etc. and use it to water your plants – it’s a great tonic for all your plants!

>>Marvelous Container Booster Mix:  When planting vegetables in containers, add this to a half-n-half mixture of commercial potting soil and compost:


½ cup of Epsom salts, 14 cup of coffee grounds [rinsed], 1 tbsp. instant tea granules, 4 eggshells [dried & crushed] per gallon of soil


Combine the ingredients thoroughly with your potting mix.  Then plant your seeds or set in your transplants.


For some reason over the years we’ve had tremendous success with bush zucchinis and make bread and vegetable dishes with it and they grow well alongside eggplants.  We’ve experimented growing these and cucumbers vertically along with peas and spinach using a small trellis or if space is very limited you might consider using self-watering containers.  They have a kind of false bottom that you fill with water, which the soil wicks up.
 You can go away for several days and your container garden will still thrive.  You can find Bloem Living Lucca planters on Amazon for about $19 or check with your local Home Depot.

There are new tomato plants called Dwarf Sweet Sue and Blazing Beauty and Rosella Purple that are bred for flavor and their compact size.  I plant a variety of tomatoes as they are my favorite for side dishes and BLTs.  My Dad used to line his driveway with tomato containers and place pots on his back deck.  Although he worked part time at a local nursery, when he got older he ordered online from and

We’ve been lucky in that we have wild raspberries in our yard but I plan to try some of the new BrazelBerries Rasperry Shortcake, the first ever dwarf raspberry this year which supposedly grows well in compact spaces [so do blueberries] which you can find at

In the previous two summers I’ve planted dwarf fruit trees at our little farm and each year they fail…probably the deer eat them.  I think next year we’ll plant much larger versions and include fencing around each tree and see what happens.

We do maintain our soil by keeping a scrap heap of egg shells, vegetable peelings and other compost materials which we add to our topsoil and fertilizer which always give our plants a boost.  The one thing which never does well for us is corn.  We manage to get a few decent stalks and the rest are usually consumed by animals or bugs so we’ve given up on corn.


The Veggie Garden Maker kit from Idaho-based Potted Shed Creations includes all the tools necessary for starting a backyard vegetable garden. The handy set would make a great gift for the individual with a green thumb of all ages, while it would be an especially great introduction to the cooking with real ingredients and to the joys of gardening for young children [food52]

Other  DIY gardening innovations range from at-home herb kits to mushroom-growing logs that are ideal for eco-conscious, urban dwellers. The rising popularity of DIY gardening and food cultivation kits is a result of consumers' lack of outdoor space.

Urban Oasis Pots Contain Everything You Need to Start Your Own Microfarm

Urban dwellers often lack a backyard or balcony space, making indoor green walls, at-home composters and DIY gardening kits all the more prevalent and convenient for this demographic. Millennials with an appreciation for locally sourced and sustainable food products have quickly embraced this DIY gardening products thanks to their convenient and cost-effective nature.

In addition to traditional DIY gardening innovations, other standouts in today's market include DIY hot sauce kits that are equipped with fresh herbs, spices and dried peppers along with kid-friendly planting sets that encourage young generations to replace screen time with quality outdoor play. [

There is no shortage of gardening books and websites out there and many suited to whatever climate or part of the country you’re located in.  You might try or

Sign up for free newsletters from Mother Earth News, [founded by my late friend, John Shuttleworth] at:

Small-Space Gardening

Growing food in small spaces can be fun and productive — you just need a little sunshine and some imagination.


Additional Resources


·  Buying Rural Property
Prices seem so low. How can you avoid making a big mistake?


Yours for better living,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’


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1 comment:

Yanik said...

Thanks for all the resources and with the price of food and everything else shooting through the roof I plan to put my kids to work in the garden this year!