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VICTORY GARDEN GAL

Battling inflation in the victory garden

Posted on October 18, 2021

OpinionColumns

DeeAnn Rivera

DeeAnn Rivera

I’ve been seeing the term “hyperinflation” a lot in the news recently. I’m not an economist, but from what I’ve read, it’s a devastating increase in a country’s inflation rate that takes drastic measures to correct.

While the U.S. may not be in an actual hyperinflation situation, I have noticed that everything costs more. My salary has not increased, but all of my expenses are on the rise.

I recently read a book called,“Toilet Paper Entrepreneur,” by Mike Michalowicz. It’s actually a business book, but the idea is relevant to running a family as well. If you are “doing your business” and you find yourself with only three squares of toilet paper, what do you do?

Basically, you figure out how to do more with less and when you have more, you don’t waste it. That sounds like a victory garden to me.

I feel like victory gardening is an attitude of abundance using minimal resources. For example, I took my grandkids to the thrift store to find Halloween costumes this week. They had a wonderful time picking out a costume that they will wear once or twice, in the dark. I spent a few dollars, supported a nonprofit and recycled clothes.

Victory gardens at home are similar. You are spending fewer dollars on food, supporting your family — typically a nonprofit organization — and you can recycle your seeds and scraps, which benefits you and the environment. Bonus: gardening is a habit that is good for you!

So, if your inner warrior is ready, I’d like to share some ideas for battling inflation with your victory garden:

1. Keep it small.

Determine what you can handle without causing stress. After all, one of the benefits of victory gardening is that it reduces stress. Growing in pots is easy for keeping it small and mobile. It’s also a great way to get started if you are wanting to start growing during the winter.

Grow some basil and chives in the laundry room or kitchen window. Peppers and cabbage look great tucked into your flower bed — functional and beautiful. If you have a large garden space that you can’t handle, plant what you can and put a thick mulch on the rest. Your soil will benefit greatly and will be ready for planting next season or when you are ready.

2. Only grow what you love.

Does your family love a great salad? Then definitely grow a nice heirloom tomato like Cherokee purple and a lettuce/spinach mix.

Are smoothies your go-to breakfast? Microgreens are fun to grow and quick to harvest, not to mention that they’re packed with great nutrients. Love stuffed jalapeño peppers? Three pepper plants will provide all you can eat, even into late summer and fall.

3. Try something new.

Along with what you love, try something you never grew before. Peruse your favorite seed catalog and find something different like autumn zebra bean or rapini broccoli. Baker Creek Seeds has its 2022 catalog out — the whole catalog is $12.95, but you can get a smaller one for free or browse the company’s website.

4. Join a garden group (even online).

Gardening groups are fun ways to exchange ideas, pick up new ideas and meet new people who enjoy gardening as much as you do. If you don’t have time for weekly or even monthly meetings, there are plenty of online groups.

The advantage is that you can “meet” when it’s convenient, or when you have a few minutes to spare — but I recommend in person if at all possible. Gardening with friends is just more fun! Spring Hope’s Garden Club meets monthly, and you can find the group on Facebook.

5. Save/share seeds to keep costs down.

Saving seeds helps you keep what you love. Also, seeds are cheaper than buying live plants, so try to save seeds from the open-pollinated plants in your victory garden and share with friends and neighbors.

6. Compost.

Even when you aren’t growing vegetables, you can compost. Save your eggshells, peels from fruits and vegetables, coffee and tea grounds, dog hair, cardboard packing (Amazon boxes are now part of my soil) — all will work together to produce awesome compost in your victory garden. Make use of the leaves you rake this fall and add them to your compost as well.

Leaves are also great as a mulch cover to keep weeds from sprouting in beds you are not using for the winter.

Composted soil is cheap. It uses your trash and turns it into super-soil! Plus, recycling is great for our environment. Your plants, the earth and your wallet will thank you!

Growing takes practice, patience and a little luck. Teaching yourself the art of growing is a lifetime hobby that helps lift depression, is good for the environment, good for your community and keeps you moving.

Victory gardeners have a legacy of making do with abundance in the face of inflation and shortages. Not only does your victory garden help stretch your dollars, but the health benefits of gardening are also far beyond what you harvest. Small victories are still victories.

One last thing: Absolutely no vegetables go into the making of this cake; but this pound cake is amazing! If you need to throw something together for a potluck or holiday party, this cake goes together quickly and uses only five staple ingredients.

Happy planting!

DeeAnn Rivera is a Spring Hope resident who blogs at VictoryGardenGal.com. Email her at VictoryGardenGal@gmail.com.

Friend Pound Cake

INGREDIENTS

Put the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour (sift into the bowl)

1 cup soft butter

6 whole eggs (large)

1 teaspoon vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Beat for 12 minutes with an electric mixer.

2. Pour into a greased, floured Bundt pan (You can use a loaf pan, but it’s not as dramatic).

3. Place in cold oven. Set the oven to 325 degrees and bake.

4. Check with a toothpick after 50 minutes. (It can take 10-15 minutes longer). In my oven, it takes 60 minutes. When your toothpick comes out clean, it’s ready!

5. Cool for 10 minutes. Go around the edge of the pan with a butter knife to loosen the cake.

6. Turn it over, and the cake should come out easily.

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