Monday, May 13, 2019

GARDEN CUTS GROCERY BILL; by Mrs. A. T., Iowa; 1927

What is a home without a garden, especially out on the farm? Yet, when I drive by some farm homes, where there are beautiful locations for a garden, I do not see a sign of one anywhere. Many of these gardenless farm homes have big families to feed and it seems a shame that so little is thought of a garden. Is it any wonder that you can hear on every hand. “Oh! It takes all we can make to provide a living,” or, “We are trying our best to make both ends meet,” or, The grocery bills are something fierce”? I hate to hear any of these expressions, because I know that we on the farms can raise most of our food in our own garden or in the field.

We plant a good many string beans and navy beans, usually by leaving an open space for them here and there in the field, while planting corn. It does not matter how hot and dry the weather is, the beans are shaded by the corn and they always bring a sure crop. This method takes only a little work because you can plow them with the corn plow. We always plant them after the corn is plowed twice. By this plan we have more room for other vegetables in the garden.

We also grow cabbage, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, radishes, lima beans, parsnips, kale, rutabagas and turnips. The latter do well out in the field after the last corn planting. Kale makes nice greens in the early summer and when fall comes, after one or two frosts have killed the bugs, we run it through the food chopper and put it down in dry salt. Tomatoes are made into preserves and green tomato pickles. Carrots, rutabagas and turnips, even beets, are stored in boxes, with first a layer of dirt, then a layer of vegetables, and stored in the cellar. Lima beans are either dried or canned. Some of the string beans are dried, some canned. We always have fresh cabbage up to February or March and from then on we have plenty of canned to last us till our next crop. We do not care much for canned peas, so we always have plenty of dried peas for pea soup.

With all the other things besides vegetables on the farm,--I mean cream, milk, butter, eggs and meat,--I don't see why any farm woman should have large grocery bills. Of course there are some things that we must buy, but not so many that eggs will not pay for them, let alone the cream check. Surely, there is plenty of time on every farm to make gardens if every one of the family lends a hand, even if only an hour after supper, or a few hours after every rain.

So, my dear farm sisters, if you are in earnest to help hubby make both ends meet by making the egg and cream checks stretch farther, instead of just paying unnecessary grocery bills with them, let us resolve right now to cut down the living expenses by making a garden.