Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Let me give you the background for this post before anything else....

I was musing to myself the other day about "Andy, do you walk the garden walk, or just talk the garden talk?"  What I was getting at was:  for all my yardly adventures, how much benefit am I really reaping?  Am I spending a fortune (admittedly, I came from a very low base before I joined the site) and getting bugga all in return?  Am I kidding myself about my urban farmer skills?

So, I thought I would pose an open question as a bit of a game for us all.  How much do you really eat what you grow? ... and guessing is not good enough.  I aim to answer my own tough question with facts.  Feel free to contribute your facts and answer the question for yourselves.

There is only one way to win this game:  you need to out-compete yourself.  I mean, if my 3 year old garden out-compete's John's 6 month old garden, it just means my garden is more established.  My real question to myself is: am I doing better now than I was doing 6 months or a year ago?  I might also try to use some real costs from Coles on line shopping. 

Go on... take the risk... be honest.  I shall lead by example (wish me luck!)

Night 1's dinner:  Thai Beef Salad.  Four or five different lettuce types and basil supplied by me from the aquaponics bed.  Here is the proof (you don't need to do this - I just want to get us started).  I should have stuck my hand in the shot - those are cos lettuce leaves on top - they are around 15 - 20 cm in size. This was a big salad.  The pic has no purchased add-ins at this stage. 

 I don't expect to have grown my own beef and stuff.  I am just trying to get "real."  I think it was a pretty fine effort from 1 month old lettuces and basil on harvest 4 in the same time.  

Saving: lettuce $2 + basil $2 = $4.

Night 2 dinner: Stir Fry with garlic chicken sausages.

Produce used: Pak Choi ($3) and Silverbeet ($4! - you kidding me? This stuff grows like crazy).  I know, I used shop bought sausages.  I'm stock piling my home made ones for the family Christmas BBQ).

Total Saving this week: $11 (hey, that's more than I expected).

Night 3: True confessions.

Photography course was tonight.  Produce used: none.

Total Saving this week: $11

Night 4: True confessions part 2.

Produce used: none. Steak and potato and carrot.  My carrots are in and I'm about to add some spuds, but don't have any at the moment. 

Total Saving this week: $11 (oh, the shame)

Night 5: True confessions part 3.

Produce used: none. Roast pork with pumpkin, potato and carrot.  

Total Saving this week: $11 (oh, the continued shame)

Night 6: Redemption. 

Used an aquaponic's lettuce (actually, it was half of two).   

Total Saving this week: Lettuce: $2 + $11 = $13

Night 7: Stir Fry 

Used a load of pak choi.   

Total Saving this week: Pak Choi: $3 + $13 = $16

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Your post makes me want to visit Spain, sigh.

I would love a few seed please Rob, thank you. Will send you the address. I'm not good with growing melons but always willing to give a new one a go.

Thinking about set up cost is rather discouraging but gardening is a slow process with long term rewards. We have been eating our eggs steadily and even got more chooks as they can't keep up with us. Oh yes and building Chook Mahal in the process...no saving as yet, except maybe for the fact that our eggs can weigh up to 89g each and hold their shape in a pan when fried. Also love the relaxing sounds of happy chooks clucking when I get back from work. (No price on that) and the smile on hubby's face at being able to use his tools every spare moment whilst building the new coop. (Definitely priceless.:-) so eggs gets the tick!

A punnet of lettuce seedlings ($2.99) gave us a regular supply of lettuce through winter. We normally would buy a whole head and throw away half of it within days due to early wilting. I am sure we saved quite a bit in not buying lunch in the city on working days. Not to mention ours was not bleached to stay fresh or sprayed. I am now collecting hundreds of seeds from them. Surely I should be able to grow 1 or 2 from that next winter. The saving continues...lettuce gets the tick too!

With petrol price so high it is nice to make do with what's in the garden, not mention not having to drag 3 kids to the shops and come back with all sorts you did not need in the first place as opposed to taking a trip to the front garden whilst watching them giggling on the trampoline, showing them the new fruit emerging. Definitely a saving there. Garden gets the big tick ;-)

Love it :) Great mental pictures painted there Valerie.

I get so many lettuce seeds I just pinch some off as I pass and tuck them in around the cement garden edging. They seem to love it there and come up all on their own a year later.

Nice work.  I redeemed myself with another garden lettuce tonight.  LOL.  Glad you used the "priceless" phrase tonight.  That it is. 

Hey, I'm pretty impressed with myself.  I've used $13 worth of home grown produce this week (with still a night to go!)  

What have I learned?  I have a lot of salad planted and not much veg.  I'd actually been thinking that for a few weeks.   The proof was in the counting produce used this week.  That's helped lead me to plant carrots, egg plant (both little plants are starting to produce now), and I threw in some potatoes again today.  My sweet potato is also rapidly multiplying now she's into year two.  

Thanks for putting up with my record keeping.  So at the end of week one, I discovered I used around $16 worth of produce.  I'll stop with the daily boredom for you all now.  Periodically, I'll check back to compare my weeks. 

I don't find it boring at all, Andrew. I've certainly enjoyed documenting my own production (from the garden, dinner tonight had fast pickled daikon, plus the greenery in my salad tonight). I've actually been pleasantly surprised that my assertion that I eat something from the garden in most meals is actually accurate.

I also love to read about how different people think about their gardens. Of course the common denominator is that we all mostly garden out of passion as much as anything else.

Holy cow! Here is something I gradually realised tonight.... 

I'll play out the facebook posting that led me to a revelation:

(First facebook post)  A farmer's work is never done....
Left work a 1/2 hour early. Harvested some basil and sweet potato leaves and made a few bottles of Besto Pesto. Harvested 500 grams of cherry tomatoes and 6 chilies and made a few bottles of Mango Chili Jam.
It's a tough gig I tells ya.... well... kinda...

(Second post - response to comments)  I have the family Xmas party this Sunday coming. So I made 1 kg of Thai Chicken Sausages, 1 kg of Middle Eastern Lamb Sausages and 1 kg of beef rissoles. I'll also take a wheel of Craggy Blue and a block of Pickled Dill Feta. I figured the pesto and jam would be a nice accompaniment. I'll take some liquors for them to try and if I get time, I'll also do some buns. I reckon that should cover it!

(Third post)  Holy cow! If I take a few lettuce, I've pretty much made the whole damn burger!!!!!!

Holy cow, impressive batman!

Great ideas; I like this discussion Andrew. I certainly aim to have maximum
output for my inputs. $ value isn't important to me personally but I can see how you have used that as a point to scale value. What's most valuable for me is knowing where my (and my pets) nutrition derives from. Studying ecotoxicology as a part of my degree really shook me regarding chemicals and their flow on effects from an ecosystem level down to cellular. I actually shiver at the thought of eating frozen vegetable mixes that so many people use these days.
My parents arrived here with nothing, 31 years ago. Their orchard and beautiful vegetable garden is probably my biggest inspiration. Though down sized, They still currently have a full years supply of avocados, citrus, herbs and vege. In complete contrast, I asked my partner once not to water the tomatoes on top, but at the roots., he stood there (watering the tomato) and blankly looked around "which one is the tomato?"
!!
I try to have a green smoothie every day. That's initially why I started the garden, paying $5 for kale that wilted within days was ridiculous. I quickly expanded to vegetables, then fruit.. Now flowers because I need more bees. I love gardening and can't wait to build the next beds to fill :)

If you juice then you'd benefit from allowing the weeds to grow in your garden.  So many valuable (yet free!) edible greens grow in our backyards and we don't even know it.

Let the dandelion, chickweed, amaranth and clover grow wild! :-)

I love green smoothies. I do use dandelion but wasn't aware of the amaranth. No issues with oxalic acid using these daily? My fav smoothie is - pineapple, kiwi, green apple, grape, mint, kale, spinach, dandelion, parsely, memory herb, chia and ice, lots. Mm. Mmm I'm going to go make one.

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

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