Thursday, April 2, 2009

Financial Preparedness: Frugality Challenge #5

Grow your own food. Then eat it, freeze it and can it!

Gardening is one of the best ways to save money on groceries and provides you with a spring, summer and fall of enjoyment as you watch plants grow and mature and enjoy the harvest. It also promotes healthy eating habits and teaches your family to work. So if you have the inclination, this is the month to get started. I love living in the northeast U.S. because it's so easy to grow things. Plant a seed or seedling and pretty soon you have a thriving plant! Here's a gardening "to do list" for the month of March I found on This is for my area. . .you may want to look up a to-do list for where you live because it may be different:

Flowers and Vegetables:

  • If you'd like to try your hand at growing your own plants, March is the time to start indoor seeds of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and other warm-season veggies. Tomatoes are best started late in the month to avoid ending up with leggy plants come May.
  • When your garden is dry enough (feels crumbly like chocolate cake, not squishy like Play-Doh), it's time to till and prepare it for planting. Take a soil sample to your Penn State county extension office to be analyzed, and work in fertilizer and other nutrients as indicated.
  • St. Patrick's Day is the traditional time to plant peas and potatoes, but you may have to wait a few weeks until the ground dries out unless you prepared the soil last fall. Rhubarb, asparagus, and onion sets can also be planted now.
  • Remove mulch covers from roses, azaleas, clematis vines and other tender shrubs once nighttime temperatures rise into the 30s (be prepared to recover if a late cold-snap hits). Leave mulch around spring flowering bulbs and tender perennials, however, as it will provide protection to emerging shoots against cold, drying winds.
  • Trim back winter-killed rose canes to one inch below blackened area and all rose canes to about six inches above ground level. Cut back any perennials that weren't cleaned up last fall, as well as ornamental grasses.

Trees & Shrubs:

  • Prune fruit trees, bramble fruits, and grapes (except peaches and nectarines, which are best pruned before they flower) before the buds swell.
  • Prune summer and fall blooming shrubs now (wait to prune spring blooming shrubs such as azaleas until after they bloom). Delay pruning evergreen shrubs and hedges until early summer.
  • Apply dormant oil spray to any trees and shrubs (except blue spruce)that are plagued by scale insects or mites.
  • Now's the time (before it gets too hot and dry) to plant deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, weather and soil conditions permitting.
  • Fertilize established rhododendrons, azaleas, roses and other ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as fruit trees. Follow the recommendations on the fertilizer bag.

Lawn Care:

  • Fertilize your lawn with either an organic or a chemical fertilizer and treat lawns, as necessary, for crabgrass or annual bluegrass problems with a pre-emergent preventer (watch for air temperatures above 60° F for 4-5 consecutive days for the right timing). Consider a product that combines the two to save on application time.
  • When weather conditions permit, remove excess thatch from your lawn and aerate it, if necessary.
  • Fertilize established lawns.

1 comment:

pellsworth said...

Pre-emergence crabgrass killer is toxic. We put some on our lawn and the next time we went out we ended up with a skin reaction on our feet and legs that was like poison ivy: red itchy patches with weeping blisters. We took the package label with the chemical formula to the doctor, and he said that was the cause. We never dared to play in the grass again as long as we lived there.

Preparedness Quotes

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can’t afford it, even though we want it!' or 'We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!'" - Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2009 General Conference

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.

"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference

"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust

“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson

"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference

“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson

"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36

"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball"/>


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