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Rising Food Prices: Don’t Have a Catniption – Stick That Grocery Bill Where the Sun Don’t Shine

Hi all you fellow revelers,
I had a GREAT time on the wild edibles tour in Prospect Park, Brooklyn on Saturday with Wildman Steve Brill (who, btw, prefers to be called, simply, Wildman … when you have a criminal record concerning eating dandelions, who’s gonna call you anything else?).  That aside, I also met some great folks and fellow gardeners, including Ralph, who posted this comment today.  I’m still working with the Word Press format and trying to figure out, among other things, how to not have all these great comments hidden.  Until then, I thought I’d excerpt some of it here, including some comments on culinary herbs and an inventive way to stick it  da man (and cut your grocery bill by a scallion) …
Ralph ⋅  JUNE 19, 2011 AT 10:10 AM  …. I restarted gardening a few years back starting with containers and slowly reclaimed about a third of my back yard to plant. The rest is just doing it’s own thing for now. Most of what I’ve been able to use from the yard so far is herbs. Basil, mint, scallions/ bunching onions, sage, catnip, arugula, parsley, red clover, and oregano which is still too small to use. About all I’ve used them for is to add into salads. Small strawberries which survived outside through the winter go into salads which give a nice little burst of flavor in your mouth.

The scallions I started from seeds last year came back after being outside all winter. The ones inside grew all winter long on a window sill. A few of the outside ones grew flowers this year and I got some seeds from them. A quick way to get a few growing without the seeds is buy a bunch of organic scallions in the store. Pick a bunch with the largest roots still on that look healthy. Cut the tops off so you have the roots and bulb with about an inch or two of stalk to stick out of the soil when you plant them. You can plant them close together since they grow straight up. Within a couple days you will be able to see the growth, and soon after a new shoot will appear. I use the shoots rather than pulling up the whole thing to use the bulbs. I cut the largest shoots off the ones with the most shoots and they just keep growing back. I believe that like onions they help keep bugs away too. For a dollar or so invested you can have fresh scallions for over a year.

  • Hey, thanks for posting that. There’s a lot of good information in here I’m planning on putting quickly to use. A couple follow up questions: how did you come to find out about catnip? I saw somewhere recently that humans may like it too but I never considered eating kitty food before.  Doesn’t it make them high?  You know that leads me, of course, to the question … how’s the taste on a scale of 1 to 11?  How did you decide to start growing catnip?  Is it a cat magnet? (I have a neighbor cat that likes to saunter through my herbs when my dog is either away on a date (she has a lively social life) or when she’s in the basement being lazy.  I’ve been wondering how to keep the feline away – maybe distract her with some kitty cannabis?).

    Second question: what a great idea for the scallions! Where do you do your grocery shopping? Is there a market (super or green) you’d recommend for this kind of thing?

    Last question/comment: hope you don’t mind I find this useful enough I want to share with more folks — I’m making it my daily comment and inviting some feedback on the above and the following ….

    QUESTION: what other ways do we know of to extend the usefulness of groceries purchased in a supermarket, green market, CSA, or other? In other words, does anyone have more suggestions to add to Ralph’s excellent suggestions for getting the most of your scallions? What are some other ways to keep the grocery list, bill and god-awful end of the day visits short?  Hey, maybe we could use the bill for compost!!  Think that’s soy-based dye they’re using?  Go ahead … gimme the dirt!

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3 responses to “Rising Food Prices: Don’t Have a Catniption – Stick That Grocery Bill Where the Sun Don’t Shine

  1. Ralph ⋅

    I heard about catnip on a podcast, but I listen to quite a few of them so I am not sure which one it was. To me, catnip kind of tastes like mint. It is in the mint family and from what I can tell so far it grows kind of quick. The bottom of the first stem that grew has a lot of little stems growing out of it now. I am not sure since my plants are not extremely large yet, but I have a feeling it may grow to the point of being invasive like mint. All of mine is in containers. Usually I just pick a couple small leaves and mix it up into my salad. It’s supposed to be good as a tea but I am waiting until I get more large leaves to try it out. I actually bought the seeds last year but wasn’t able to get any growing for some reason. This year I have a few plants going in pots and containers. I transplanted 4 plants into a small container (a cleaned out Chinese food takeout container) to give to a friend who has a cat. I was curious how it would react but haven’t brought it over to her apartment yet. BTW, the clear covers on those takeout containers are good for a small greenhouse to keep seeds warm and moist until they germinate.

    The organic scallions I bought came from Stop & Shop. A bundle of about a dozen runs about 1-2 dollars- your mileage may vary. You can use the tops and plant the bottoms. They grow pretty quick in the ground and containers. The ones I had inside produced shoots all winter. With a dollar or two and a little luck you may never have to buy another scallion. When you cut off a fresh shoot the scallion juice oozes out some- it doesn’t get any fresher than that.

    Basil is another good one if you like it. Buy a couple plants or a pack of seeds. It grows pretty fast. It hates cold (I think 50 degrees will kill it) and is perfect for a sunny window sill. I kept one plant inside last year. Just touch a leaf and the smell jumps out at you. It produced leaves all winter, and now it’s in the ground out back producing seeds. Basil makes lots of seeds, buy it once and you’ll probably have it forever.

    I haven’t tried it yet, but a program I listen to said to go to an organic health food store and buy some unroasted coffee beans and try growing your own coffee plants. The same with beans. Try to plant seeds from cucumbers, tomatoes, water melons, peppers and the like from stuff you eat. Not everything will work out, but it won’t cost anything to try. Those styrofoam egg cartons are perfect for this and you can write on them so you know what’s growing where. I would steer clear of corn and soybeans unless you get the seeds from a seed company that has open pollinated or heritage seeds. Commercial corn and soy products are pretty much all genetically modified now days 😦

    If anyone is interested I can post links to a few gardening podcasts I listen to and get a lot of good information from. I listened to one last night where an herbal doctor was interviewed and gave his 10 must have medicinal herbs to grow in your garden. A few are probably in your spice rack already!

  2. Ralph ⋅

    All the sites below are free 🙂
    The podcasts are in MP3 format, the same as music files you download. You can load them into your MP3 player like I do, play them straight through your computer, or save them on your PC for reference as I also do. I am not sure, but I believe they are all available from iTunes.

    A really good place to start listening for gardening information is:
    http://theselfsufficientgardener.com/
    There are close to 100 episodes of shows now. I learned lots of good stuff there, even on things as seemingly simple as watering your garden. There are episodes on various bugs, and if you have one in your garden and don’t know whether it’s a good or bad one Check the site. If it’s not there you can take a picture and email it in. Jason who runs the site likes to identify the critters. His gardening methods are about as close to natural as you can get- no chemicals except in the rarest cases. Episode 96 may be a good place to start- 4 Misconceptions About Gardening. Since these shows are generally on a single topic you can skip around and listen to them out of order.

    A second show worth checking out is:
    http://borntofarm.com/
    I started listening to this one recently beginning with episode one. This podcast is probably best if you start listening at the first episode and work your way up. There are lots of good ideas even if you haven’t started your garden yet. How to decide what to plant, where to plant, when to plant, tools you may need, &c. As the year goes by he tells you things you should be doing in, or for the garden. Another show I listen to regularly.

    A third program I look forward to is:
    http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/
    Check out Episode-689- Dr. Kyle Christensen on Herbal and Alternative Remedies. This is the program I briefly mentioned on 10 medicinal herbs to grow. This website has much more than gardening in it. The economy, buying gold and silver, politics, debt reduction, preparing for storms and disasters, hunting, cooking, and firearms, are just a few of the things covered. There’s a search box so you can find whatever it is you are looking for. There are nearly 700 episodes to choose from so there’s something for everyone. Type “money saving” in their search box and listen to the episodes to get some really good ideas. This is another show on my regular listen list. This show truly is a wealth of knowledge worth checking out. I think this is on iTunes, but due to the wide range of subjects you may want to go straight to the link above and use the search box to find specific topics. Each episode is about an hour long, 5 episodes per week, and rarely the same subject 2 days in a row. Don’t forget to do a site search on ‘gardening’. A search on ‘cooking’ will bring up some ways to use and store what you grow.

    ENJOY

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