Saturday, December 10, 2011

Change Should Be Gradual for Best Results

Homegrown organic salad mix, much cheaper than store bought!
When you are thinking about making lifestyle changes, whether they are because of your own core beliefs or are imposed from the outside due to things beyond your control it is always a good idea to work at them gradually.

When you are working with your budget you should take things item by item and make changes slowly. Making too many changes too fast increases your risk of failure.

Right now I am working on changing my diet to one that is nearly all home grown. I can't do that all at once, I must do it at the pace the garden sets for me. But I can concentrate on doing everything possible within the framework the garden gives me. I eat a lot of organic salad greens, generally about 2 pounds a week. at over $5 a pound this amounts to a substantial amount of grocery money each month.

I have several areas of baby lettuce production in the garden, at differing stages of development. In the beginning, as the first area began to produce leaves big enough to pick, there wasn't really enough to make a dent in the grocery budget. Now that I have several areas in production I have been able to stop buying salad mix at the grocery store. Some weeks I am not able to pick as much as I could eat, so I have adapted my diet to the level of garden production. If I don't have enough salad greens, perhaps I am able to pick beets or carrots. If I'm not able to harvest enough vegetables from the garden then I fall back on the grocery store, but now I purchase things that are a little less expensive than salad mix.

I think it's all about adaptability and doing things a little at a time. By this time next year I don't think I will be buying any vegetables from the grocery store at all. My next big ticket in the grocery dept. to work on will be fruit. I do eat a lot of fruit, especially apples and pears in the winter, probably about 3 pounds a week. It will be awhile before I am able to put in a lot of apple and pear trees. In the meantime I need to work on taking better care of the apple trees I do have so that they will bear more fruit. I'll also be putting some other fruiting plants around the place, like strawberries. And of course come summer there will be watermelons and cantaloups in the garden.

Other things in the budget that I'm slowly nibbling away at is of course the last of the debt. I won't be done with it in January like I'd hoped, because I took a nice vacation. But I'll be done with it soon and then I will be able to ramp up the infrastructure I need to become more self sufficient, like a decent building to house the rabbits and some more chickens, where dogs can't kill them. Electric fencing so I can fence off part of my land and perhaps get some dairy and meat goats. There are many other projects planned, but for now I'll just go at them a bit at a time and try not to be too impatient.

Are you thinking you don't have enough land to grow your own food? You might be surprised at how little you actually need, check out How Much Land Does it Take to Grow Your Own Food?