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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Organic Food Doesn't Have to Break the Bank

One of the biggest complaints I hear about organic food is that it is expensive.  From a home gardener perspective I understand why it it more expensive and why it is healthier for you.  Organic foods don't have the synthetic chemical residues from using synthetic pesticides.  That means those residues don't have a chance to become carcinogenic within your body.  Organic foods are by far a healthier food choice that may prevent health issues as well making them a frugal choice.

marketmore cucumber and brandywine tomato
I organically grow as much produce and herbs possible.  My gardens are even expanding as I struggle to fit yet one more fruit or vegetable into them.  The strongest chemicals I use in my garden is white vinegar (weed control) and a homemade soap solution for controlling insects but only if absolutely necessary.  That's it. In addition to using organic practices I also rely fairly heavily on growing heirloom varieties.  That way I know the seed has not been genetically modified (GM0) and will breed true.

Pictured are the marketmore cucumber and my very first brandywine tomato of 2010.  Don't the look yummy?  Both are heirloom varieties.  They are good, well behaved garden performers that demand minimal attention yet reward you with wonderful tasting produce.  Seeds for either variety should be collected and stored for use in the following year's garden.

organic dinner
Accompanying the beautiful organic cucumber and tomato was organic, hormone free Canadian beef (roasted sirloin tip) and organic vegetables.  The potatoes were cooked in with roast while the green beans were from the jar of home canned recently done that had a lid failure so were reheated.  Everything you see on the plate is organic, pesticide and hormone free!  There are no preservatives or artificial anything.  It is just plain old fashioned, home cooked food!  Rather than thickening the gravy that was made using homecanned tomato stock I left is as an au jour.  Tomato stock is something I experimented canning last year that has been a huge success so I will be canning up a couple of cases of it this year!

So you are likely wondering how much this meal actually cost me?  The total cost for everything including the electricity to cook the meal came in at just under $11.  There was enough for 2 servings over 2 meals which works out to $2.75 per serving or in perspective almost half the price of a McDonald's Happy Meal per person and a heck of a lot healthier!  I would hazard a guess there was a lot more food than in the comparison meal as well.  If you start breaking down the cost benefits of using organic produce, meats and fish it quickly becomes apparent that yes some (not all) is a bit more costly but quite a frugal food choice.  Using organic doesn't have to break the bank.

7 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

Please tell me about using vinegar for weed control. I would LOVE to stop using other stuff for that. :)

Loved this post again. Do you have a list of other heirloom varieties you plant?

I get excited every time I read your posts. :)

cassandrasmom said...

Go Organic!
Thank you for the white vinegar tip for weeds. Do you use it full strength?
Any tips for gophers? They ate my ENTIRE garden this year. It broke my heart as I watched them eat my plants one by one and I tried everything short of putting poison out there.

LindaG said...

cassandrasmom, I read somewhere about using Irish Spring soap - the plain, original one - put out on a stick on each corner and in the middle of the garden to deter squirrels and rabbits, I think it was. Maybe it will work for gophers too?

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Linda :) White vinegar can be used without diluting on weeds. Just be careful not to get any on plants you want to keep as it will kill them as well. It is especially useful for weeds in paved areas where you can spray it on. If you find the 5% acetic acid white vinegar not working as fast as you would like it too then 10% acetic acid vinegar is available for horticultural use. Other ways to naturally control weeds can be found on my gardening blog (sidebar badge).

I do have a list of heirloom varieties that I plant. It does vary from year to year. I'll compile a complete list of the heirloom varieties I like then post it on my gardening blog.

LindaG said...

Oh, great, GG. That is great to know. I will definitely be giving it a try. :)

Will add your gardening blog, too. Thanks! :)

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Cassadrasmom :) Organic as much as possible!

Yes I use the vinegar full strength. See my reply to Linda.

I have not dealt with gophers but I had dealt with voles and rabbits. I hear gophers can be a huge problem. One solution is to grow in raised beds with carpenter's with on the bottom. That will prevent them from burrowing upwards to get your garden vegetables. A 10" raised bed will be deep enough to still grow root vegetables and you can make it deeper if you want. For an idea on as to how I construct raised beds there are pictures on my gardening blog (sidebar). I also had reasonable results using electronic devices for voles. They can be problematic in the garden much like gophers. There are vibrating stakes you can get that is supposed to scare them off as well but I have no experience with those.

cassandrasmom said...

Thank you. I tried the stakes to no effect earlier this year. I think I need to check out your gardening blog.