Garden Rivals – Day 98: Eating Well On $1 A Day


The weather has been a lot cooler than usual which has meant that the garden which I had planned to use to supplement the food that I purchased with coupons has taken a lot longer to produce food than I thought it would. Had this been the only issue, I probably would have been enjoying the fruits of my labor for a couple of weeks, but that has not been the case. Once again I find myself on the losing side when it comes to nature.

One would think that the area where I live didn’t have much wildlife at first glance, but they would be wrong. There is a skunk family that regularly makes visits into the yard in the evening, possums that I have seen on more than one occasion and raccoons that I see wandering the street when I take evening walks. And that doesn’t even mention the damn squirrels who I am convinced have made it their life mission to deprive me of as much naturally grown food as possible.

While my cooking may not be up to par, the animals obviously think that the stuff in the garden is wonderful to eat because they have no intention of letting me have any of it. I have been staring out the window salivating more times than I care to admit knowing that in another day that the veggies I have growing will be ready to pick only to wake up the next morning to find that the animals were thinking the same thing and were a day faster.

The attempts to keep them out of the garden are so numerous that I could probably write a book about it if it weren’t so humiliating. After trying everything and still having the animals find ways in, I moved onto the next logical step: if I wasn’t going to get to eat any of the food that the garden was producing, then they sure as hell weren’t either.

I started to pick the tomatoes and other veggies at the first signs that they were beginning to ripen. I figured that picking them that soon would mean that I would end up throwing them away, but to my surprise, they did eventually fully ripen and all of a sudden I have this to add to my stash of food I can eat:

day 98 garden produce

I consider this a huge enough victory over my wildlife nemeses that I went out and shouted at the top of my lungs to the squirrels and other animals to let them know that they weren’t the only ones that were able to eat what was growing outside. I was going to make sure that I claimed my small victory and let all the animals know it. Of course, this didn’t seem to phase any of them in the least bit as they just looked down upon me with contempt. Unfortunately, I do believe that it convinced all the neighbors that they have a lunatic living on their block….

Yellow Cherry Plum Smoothie

I will need to use of the last of the yellow cherry plums over the next couple of days because they will be too ripe if I don’t use them up soon, but they still do make for a great tasting smoothie:

yellow cherry plum smoothie

Spinach & Tomato Pasta Salad

I have plenty of the whole wheat pasta left over and need to use up the rest of the veggies I have left, so I put together an easy spinach and tomato pasta salad:

spinach tomato pasta salad

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

I decided to use a cucumber and a couple of yellow tomatoes from the garden and mixed it with a the rest of the store bought tomatoes I had to make a tomato and cucumber salad. I added a half an onion, fresh garlic and then topped it with some Parmesan cheese. I then used small amount of the Italian dressing to give it a bit of flavor:

I love these types of salad and it always seems to taste that much better when you are using ingredients that you have grown on your own and managed to salvage from the jaws of all the critters determined to outwit you (oh, how I wish the squirrels were outside watching while I was eating it…)

This is the current list of food I still have
This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Goal: 100 days eating on $1 a day
Current Money Spent: $76.11
Money Left to Spend: $23.89 ($0.85 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of Everything Purchased: $1473.94

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The Beginning ::: Day 99: Realising I Have No Common Sense

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10 Responses to Garden Rivals – Day 98: Eating Well On $1 A Day

  1. TK says:

    Those heirloom tomatoes are to die for!

  2. dave says:

    get some chicken wire and bend it around to make a sort of tent to place over your plants. stake it down real good to keep the coons out.

  3. Patricia says:

    You will come out victorious, I have no doubt of this. Just persevere! 😀

  4. melayla says:

    Kinda seems fair that they would forage on your turf, as you do seem to forage on theirs LOL

  5. Brenda says:

    Jeffery,
    There are lots of ways to make a garden, even without a yard for those that don’t have a yard. The container garden can even travel with you. Make them lighter with cola cans in the bottom so they take up space under the potting soil. I have gotten free five gallon plastic buckets from sandwich shops and restaurants, and cleaned them, put drain holes in with a drill and a bought saucer under to catch the extra water. You can put them in front of windows, or on an apartment patio. Peppers, tomatos, and pole or bush beans and squash or zucinni will all grow in them. There are lots of magazine articles and places on the internet about container gardening for your readers, and sometimes I have kept the container growing veggies and still planted short flowers or herbs around the bottom to do double duty.

    Try cooking some fried green tomatoes or a tomato pie. They are really good. You will probably get a lot more tomatoes than you want soon. Freeze a few in tomato sauce, or make your own salsa. A shrimp cocktail would be cool and delicious for lunch. You deserve a treat.

    I think your veggies look wonderful Great job. Good luck with the tree dwellers, and other hungry wild life. Last year the rabbits decimated my garden in one night. I really enjoyed your letting us know how uphill the battle is with your gardening adventures. I bet those lovely nieces like helping you garden. Help them build a fairy house with twigs and acorns for cups and put it out to help your garden do well. Fun using imagination with them, and they can use some walking time to pick up things on a walk with you. Use glue that will work in wet weather, or put together with small nails and jute tie. My grandchildren have a whole box and jars that hold their treasures from our walks.

  6. Vicki says:

    My garden is so well barricaded you’d think it was frikin Ft. Knox or something. I used some free materials I got from a neighbor’s remodeling project and have created a gated – 6 ft high fence – with surrounding chicken wire to keep out evil rabbits. Not that I recommend building a similar structure, but it has suited me quite well. Except the time a rabbit got in, but couldn’t get out……

  7. verybadcat says:

    weird, gross, but possibly useful…

    i have *heard* that laying a thin layer of human hair around the perimeter of your garden will scare off critters. they smell the people smell and stay away.

    does it really work? hell if i know. where to get the hair? happily, i haven’t the slightest idea.

    but there you have it.

  8. sara says:

    Did you know you can add spinach to your smoothies and turn them into “green smoothies”. They are a great punch of energy.

  9. rob62521 says:

    Maybe you could have some fried squirrel to supplement your diet!

    Seriously, we had to succumb and purchase the poles and wire to make a fence around our small patch of green beans that a small bunny thought we planted just for him!

  10. Meredith says:

    @verybadcat

    The hair trick definitely works. Every time my grandmother went to the beauty shop she would bring home a bag full of hair trimmings that the stylists swept off the floor. My grandfather sprinkled the hair around their vegetable garden and the critters never came anywhere near it. Best of all, it’s free! The hair trimmings just go into the trash anyway and salons are happy to get rid of them.

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