Cheap Family Meals FM. The Podcast that shows you how to have cheap family meals without living off just chicken and rice. Learn that cutting costs on grocery shopping is not about living a boring foodie life. We eat amazing cheap family meals and we want to show you in our Podcast how you can do the same.
Cheap Family Meals 003 – This month we are sharing with you how to get started in growing your own fruit and vegetables from home.
Whether you have a small space or a large space, we want to share with you the benefits of growing some of your own in order to create your own cheap family meals.
You can listen to the Cheap Family Meals Podcast on the link above, alternatively access it on Stitcher. You can also read all about it below or click to download the ebook version. Or alternatively subscribe below to get the transcript of this Podcast:
Links & Resources Mentioned In Cheap Family Meals FM 003
- In January we showed you how to make a cheap KFC at home
- Last month we showed you how to bulk cook meals using clearance vegetables
- Growing Ginger From Scraps
- Growing White Potatoes From Scraps
- Growing Sweet Potatoes From Scraps
- Growing Avocado From Scraps
- Growing Celery From Scraps
- Growing Leeks From Scraps
- Growing Spring Onions From Scraps
- Growing Garlic From Scraps
Cheap Family Meals FM Podcast
Welcome to our cheap family meals Podcast. In January we showed you how to make a cheap KFC at home, last month we showed you how to bulk cook meals using clearance vegetables and this month we want to show you how to grow your own fruit and vegetables.
Something that we started the process of back in October. What we wanted to do was give ourselves a couple of months to allow things to grow and then feature it as part of our Podcast. Well today as I record our Podcast, take videos and photos it is the 20th of February. Exactly 4 months to the day, that we started planting and turned into the accidental gardeners.
Accidental Gardeners You Say?
Yes, I am no gardener. In fact, I am so rubbish at it that I would probably manage to kill a tree, if I was left in charge of it. Which is crazy considering how many amazing gardeners I have in my family.
My Grandad Tom was obsessed with plants and had a back yard full of beautiful plants, they even looked good after Kyle (who was a toddler at the time and was named after him) hit them with his football.
My Grandad George (who my youngest son Jorge is named after) was not just a plant grower but had a massive allotment too. It was full of fruits and vegetables and I loved to eat his carrots raw, just after they had been picked out of the ground and rinsed, or binge on his gooseberries.
My Mum also grew a lot of beautiful flowery plants. She had a small patio and made good use out of them and her garden looked like something out of a movie set. As well as this she used to enter the yearly flower competition for hotels and guest houses and ALWAYS won!
So surely, I can’t possibly be that bad?
Well for starters I will not lie, and I will say that I find it boring. It bores me to death and whenever my mum has tried to get me excited over gardening, I have always rolled my eyes and found some kind of way to escape her.
The Next Door Neighbour
I got a guided tour around the next-door neighbour’s outdoor areas with the kids in tow recently. I had wanted to have a look for a long time, but never got the chance and it was a real eye opener.
She has made a lot of use out of every spare bit of land that she has. She bought what was some extra land that came with our house off the previous owner’s years ago. It includes a big grassy area that looks worn out. It has lots of plants growing in the ground and reminds me very much of an old style British allotment. Then in the corner of it is the chicken shed.
Not only does she grow lots of vegetables but has her own eggs too from the chickens.
In her garden she was growing lemons, swiss chard, lettuces and cabbages. I also saw on the side a massive amount of pumpkins that she had previously grown that were still waiting to be eaten.
Then she took me into her front garden where there was plenty more. It housed her broccoli, cauliflower and mixed herbs.
Inside her house you could also see a massive sack of sweet potatoes that had been picked and was in the middle of being used.
Then outside at the front across the road is some land we jointly own. Here you will find figs, olives and plenty of other seasonal produce.
Then in the garden of my other neighbour’s house is a huge tree producing a Portuguese type of green beans. The tree is huge and comes into our garden and means that when it is windy we have FREE green beans!
It reminds me of the rationing during the second world war!
You got very little in allowances towards food during the rationing era, so it was expected that every spare bit of land that you had, went towards growing your own fruit and vegetables.
You didn’t bother with cute flowers instead you grew whatever you could and knew that even if you couldn’t afford much meat, that at least the kids and yourself, had plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables inside you.
It was known that the rationing diet of the Second World War is one of the healthiest diets that any of us ever had!
In The Milner Family Garden
I wouldn’t say that we have a huge garden because we don’t. Its better than some but a lot smaller than many. We have a driveway, a small patio area at the bag which houses our broken jacuzzi, the washing line and an old set of tables and chairs. Then at the other end is a small grass area that needs improving on.
But still enough room to house 4 allotments if you wanted to and perfect for our grow your own experiment.
We decided to split our experiment into 2 different ideas:
- Regrowing fruit and vegetables from leftovers
- Buying soil and some cheap vegetable plants
Growing Fruit & Vegetables From Leftovers
First of all, we decided to experiment with the idea that you could use leftover scraps of food to make it regrow and create new food.
We even did You Tube videos for each of them:
Firstly, we attempted to grow ginger and when you do ginger you simply place some root of the ginger below some soil.
In a similar way with white potatoes you place some potato scraps where the eyes are on the skin and place them below some soil.
Sweet potatoes is done in a similar way to white potatoes but tends to produce a flower on your plate much quicker than what white potato scraps do.
Take an avocado stone, place some cocktail sticks inside of it and balance it over some water. Our favourite instrument for doing this is our baby’s old bottle. It is currently sat on our window ledge waiting for its next growth spurt.
When you grow celery you simply place the big root from the celery into water. Then you leave it on your window ledge and then let nature take its course.
The same can be said for leeks. A bit of the root and some water and it will grow new leek for you in as little as 2 days. Yes really 2 days. Then after a week you have enough to make a stir fry with.
Spring Onions are expensive in Portugal compared to white onions so it makes sense to regrow them in a glass beaker on the window ledge. Just add the root with some water (like you do with leeks and celery) and watch the regrowth happen. Like with leeks it can be going in your stir fry after a week.
Break up a garlic bulb into garlic cloves, bury them under some soil and water it regularly. What you will end up with is the most delicious garlic chives that you have ever tried. After 3 weeks you will have a LOT to use and after 4 weeks look at growing another. Its also the perfect use out of garlic bulbs that you have that are looking old and need using up.
With each of these it was all a case of growing the vegetables in either water or soil from the leftovers that you would normally just throw in the bin.
But that is eight different vegetables to regrow, what if you don’t have the space. Well if space is an issue and I could choose just ONE thing to grow from scraps it would garlic.
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What happens to garlic when you regrow it is that it turns into this beautiful and delicious garlic chive. Think growing your own fresh chives but with a garlic flavouring. Next time a recipe calls for chives, oregano or basil add a little of this garlic chive to your recipe and you will feel like you’re having something extra ordinary.
You can also grow them in a small pot on your windowsill. So, if you live in a tiny apartment then remember you have SPACE.
Then carrying on with this small apartment theme, add the leeks, spring onions and celery to your list. They can all regrow in water fast on your windowsill. Each one will produce the product another 2 times. Therefore, before throwing out your waste, reuse it and then you can cut down your purchase by a third.
With the other vegetables from scraps, we found that we didn’t get results quick enough from them, therefore in the future we will stick to buying the plants to grow these rather than using scraps.
Buying Soil & Some Cheap Vegetable Plants
Second on the list was to go out and visit a garden shop and get all the bits and pieces to grow our own on a budget. I wasn’t planning to spend a lot as after all this is all about cheap family meals on a budget!
But I still wanted to put a small investment down that would come back and help us with what food we would have to put on a dinner plate and whether or not it would be worth it for working parents like us to grow our own.
We went to the garden shop. I picked up some soil, some little plants and went home. I had already got some free pallets to use to put the plants in and I had lined them with some scruffy green bits that we had found in our shed.
The plants that we went with were:
- Brussel Sprouts
They cost very little. In fact, I was surprised with how cheap they were. We then planted them in our pallets, watered them daily and let the plants do the work.
Then today we grabbed the vegetables that were doing good. We have several broccolis, a couple of lettuces and an enormous bowl of cabbage. The Brussel Sprouts are still growing, and the cauliflowers are still baby plants.
As well as this when we bought them we also got ourselves some fruit trees. We are now proud owners of lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, fig and blueberry trees.
You can see the video from when they were originally planted:
We also paid less than 30€ for everything and after we have picked some of our vegetables we can still re-use the soil for the next round.
Cheap Family Meals FM 003 – The Vegetable Garden
I must admit I have the bug and want to grow them again and again. I may mix things up now though, so that we can try some different vegetables and see what works and even look at getting some seeds.
But what I will say is that put aside the excitement and think about growing fruit and vegetables that your family will actually like. There is no point growing something that is something you rarely eat.
We didn’t grow mixed peppers, mushrooms, nuts and beetroot because it is food that as a family we don’t all like.
Then another idea, is to look at vegetables that you would eat, but can’t afford or that you feel is a luxury item. Then by growing these you can have your favourites.
For us we find that the following is overpriced here in Portugal:
- Butternut Squash & Pumpkins
- Spring Onions
- Sweet Potatoes
So, if we could just grow these we could drop our grocery shopping bill and eat many of our favourites.
In my mind growing carrots and cabbage is a waste as these are the items that cost us the least when we go grocery shopping.
Just start with something and see what happens and see how well it does and then expand from there. If something doesn’t work, then try something else. Its okay if something fails, just reuse the soil and move onto the next fruit or vegetable.
Cheap Family Meals FM 003 – The Reflections
We wanted to make this Podcast real and not feel like we are growing something that is unobtainable. That everyone can do it. Therefore we also did a video before back in October showing our just planted vegetables.
Now we have a video showing our progress:
It shows what has grown, how the vegetables need the dead leaves removing, so that it can continue to grow and for us to pick what we currently have.
It’s a much watch for anyone that wants to grow their own.
Reflecting we would say that we would definitely do it again. Just be more selective over the fruit and vegetables that we plan to grow. Then we can do more of our favourites and less of the ones that didn’t turn out for us.
I should also point out that we live in Portugal and that the weather is a lot warmer here than many parts of the US and the UK. Therefore things grow at a different rate and can often need extra watering.
Here we are in February and the sun wont stop shining and is giving our lemon tree a great start.
Cheap Family Meals The Vegetable Garden Ebook
If you can enter your email address below and have the Podcast transcript sent directly to your email inbox:
Then you can digest our ideas and then decide how you too can use your leftovers to grow extra food or start your own vegetable patch. All you need is a windowsill and a spare glass container to get started.
That’s A Wrap
Thanks for listening to our Podcast and don’t forget how easy it is to cook delicious family meals on a budget. For the year of 2018 we have decided to feed our family of 5 on a budget of $300 a month and this cheap family meals: the vegetable garden fitted in perfectly with our plans. Just by putting aside 5 minutes it’s amazing the vegetable garden you can create at home. Then you will spend less money on vegetables in your grocery shopping.
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