Friday, March 7, 2014

Drought causing higher food costs? Fight the price increases by growing your own!

Container grown Fresno peppers
These peppers grew in a container on my small balcony
Yahoo! published an article today, 10 foods eating into your budget. In it, they list lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers in their article as increasing in price. This is because most of those are sourced from the California Central Valley, where a major drought is causing trouble with farmers. So to fight this, I recommend attempting to grow your own. Aside from sunlight and warmth, these plants don't need more than a little bit of water each day to live.
Nevada Lettuce Containers
They don't sell Nevada Lettuce in grocery stores
The easiest of the plants I mentioned above to grow is lettuce. It can literally grow in juice jugs cut in half on an inside windowsill. Plus, when you grow your own, you can choose from varieties that you cannot find at the local grocery store, such as Salad Bowl, Grand Rapids, and Nevada Lettuce. It's never been a better time to grow your own salads than now.
Colorful lettuce harvest
All different colors!
Tomatoes were one of my more successful crops last year, particularly cherry tomatoes. Varieties with smaller fruit, like cherry tomatoes, grow better in smaller spaces. Tomato plants are thirstier than lettuce is, but they produce much longer than lettuce can. Try an indeterminant variety to keep the harvest going until winter.
Harvested Cherry Tomatoes
A big harvest from 15 square feet
I have not discussed growing peppers in my Vegetable Variety Database yet, but they aren't that much harder to grow than tomatoes. From my experience, they need a little help wind pollinating. In smaller spaces, chili peppers do better than bell peppers. I recommend trying to grow Serrano, Fresno, Anaheim, or Jalapeno.
Fresno Pepper plants
Look at all the little peppers
With the rising prices of food this year, growing your own makes a ton of sense. The plants don't need that much care, are compact, and provide good yield. It's time for the gardeners to bite back at rising food prices.

Visit the Vegetable Variety Database to learn more about what I've been growing.

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