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Everyday Cheapskate: Grow Your Own Food -- 1 Square Foot at a Time

Mary Hunt on

For years, I tried to grow a decent vegetable garden. It was the high cost of fresh basil -- $3.50 for a few measly, wilted fresh basil leaves, ditto for a pound of somewhat reddish tomatoes and mostly pink strawberries, that prompted me to try.

I started with tomatoes, basil and peppers -- a salsa garden! In no time, I added zucchini and cucumbers to my repertoire, even corn one year.

But I have to be honest. My harvests have ranged from disappointing to mediocre. Only that one year did my garden produce enough to share with others. I'm still trying to remember how I did that. So far, I've been unable to duplicate the results.

UNIQUELY TALENTED

One thing I do quite well is weeds. I try not to take too much credit here, but I have to tell you I've never seen anyone else grow weeds quite as successfully as I do. And I can take them right through the season until they actually re-seed themselves for the next!

OH, THE EFFORT

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While I love the concept of a garden that's not only nice to look at but also actually produces something we can eat, I'm not 100% in love with the anxiety, pressure, guilt, backaches, leg cramps and fear of needing hip replacements.

THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY

While in the past my efforts to grow a garden have been more of a hobby than a serious endeavor, I feel that changing. The high cost of food -- specifically, produce --tells me it's time to get serious. We need to become more self-sufficient but in a cost-effective way.

TRUE COST? YIKES!

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