Monday, April 6, 2015

Garden Plans and Summer Food Budget

We planted the early garden seeds yesterday morning: radishes, carrots, peas, hardy lettuces, spinach.  Those things can be planted 6 weeks before the last frost.  We used old seeds from last year, sown twice as thick.  

Next planting is May 1: which is most of the rest of the seeds.  Around Mother's Day, we will go to our favorite garden store in Naperville and buy $2 tomato plants, eggplants, jalapenos, herb starts and plant those.  May 12 we harvest the radishes and fill their space with basil and melon seeds, which need the guarantee of no frost.

We estimate it will cost $50 - $100 to get the garden growing this year.  For May 1 - October 31, I want to have an average food cost of $35 per week for the two of us.  $5 of that will be garden start up.  I want to do some couponing and Aldi shopping to stock up a wonderful pantry filled with dried fruits and nuts, quinoa, olive oil, cannellini beans, chickpeas, lentils, frozen chicken breast and bacon and veggies, etc at the start of the season.  I estimate that will be $10-$14 of the $35 per week, will buy it all at the start so I know exactly.  Then, we will spend the remainder ($16-$20) on a quick weekly shopping trip of eggs, cheese, milk, and meat.  We can make our own bread and yogurt!

Ben is excited too, and made a batch of bread dough and a batch of yogurt yesterday.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Planning the Garden and Stocking the Pantry

Garden season is coming up, with all this warm weather we're finally having.  This summer, we hope to build our savings up again.  I want to get my food budget for the entire six month period of May 1 to October 31 down to $35 a week on average.

I estimate that the breakdown will be something like the following:
$100 for the garden set-up at the start of summer (I'm lazy and use lots of starts)
$14 a week in non-perishable pantry staples
$16 a week in perishable necessities (eggs, milk, meat)

Pantry Essentials:
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Walnut oil
  • balsamic vineger
  • sherry vinegar
  • white vinegar
  • quinoa
  • brown sugar
  • honey
  • baking soda
  • yeast
  • walnuts
  • raisins
  • dates
  • asian mushrooms
  • italian pastas
  • asian noodles
  • rice
  • coconut cream
  • anchovies
  • tuna
  • water chestnuts
  • cannelini beans
  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • capers
  • mayonnaise
  • worcestshire
  • mustard
  • soy sauce
  • sundried tomatoes (oil-packed and also dried)
  • canned tomatoes
  • olives
  • cornichons
  • jams
  • frozen berries
  • frozen peas
  • frozen bacon
  • frozen chicken
  • frozen stocks
  • sherry
  • vermouth, red
  • vermouth, white
  • jar ginger
  • garlic
  • onions
  • sweet potatoes
  • lemon juice
  • lime juice
Garden Plans:
  • spinach
  • swiss chard
  • kale
  • arugula
  • eggplant
  • peas
  • carrots
  • jalapeƱo
  • cherry tomatoes
  • raspberries
  • beets
  • radishes
  • scallions
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • leeks
  • brussel sprouts
  • endive
  • cucumber
  • herbs (parsley, basil, cilantro, tarragon, rosemary, mint, sage, lemon balm)