Na Na pinches her pennies

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Backyard garden

Using the donated funds to buy fresh food right now is very tempting but I will have so much more if I create a backyard garden.  My garden budget is $200 total.  Twenty five of it is a Kroger gift card.  Gift cards don’t have to be spent on food alone.  I’m hoping to stay way under budget by using my imagination along with all the suggestions offered by readers.  We’ve had so much rain the Ohio River is rising to flood stage again.  Well I had a few minutes between the rains yesterday to create a couple of videos of my backyard.  Please don’t judge them too harshly.  I’m still learning.

Over the years I’ve had a few backyard garden plants.  Nothing really elaborate.  Just the basic ones everyone can grow.  Tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and so forth.  I know the basics but that doesn’t mean I’m physically able to do the work to set up a garden.  Last year I paid a guy a hundred fifty dollars to make one 4′ X 8′ concrete block raised bed but he took the money to buy supplies and never came back.  My fault.  I should have known better.  This time I will to do the planning and have little hands help with the work if necessary.  Grandkids are always willing to help in exchange for cookies.  🙂

When I had talked to someone a few days ago about the yard crashers show I became curious about how homes get picked.  My curiosity is always working overtime.  I don’t know why I thought of the yard crashers.  I don’t have cable so I don’t have HGTV.   I wondered if the show was still active and how homes got picked.  So I went to the HGTV website to find out.  The show host visits various Lowes stores around the country to find a likely candidate for a free yard makeover.  He randomly walks up to people to ask if he can help them with their yard work.  Most just say no and walk away.   Chosen people had to have a photo of their back yard for him to look at while at the Lowes store.  If they didn’t have a photo he could look it up on google earth.  That’s when I started laughing.  You see its like this.  I don’t have a cell phone and I don’t carry photos of my backyard with me.  I doubt he’d want to look at my blog.  The only view of my back yard on google earth is the top of a warehouse and tops of the trees back there.  The yard isn’t visible.  The street view only shows the front of the house.

Of course I know I’d never get picked but I thought maybe I could find the website section to ask garden questions and get answers.  Well duh!  It seems that even asking questions on their website I don’t qualify.  I’ll explain why I am certain I would never be picked in a minute.  This what I tried to leave as a comment hoping to get a reply.

I would have absolutely no chance of getting picked for the show but I would love to get some simple advice about creating a backyard garden.  How would I create an old lady friendly, kitchen garden, next to a giant three story warehouse, under large trees, that would somehow get enough sunlight to grow.  Oh, and also how to keep a groundhog from eating it all before the old lady got any of it.  So please tell me where is your question and answer section on this site?

That’s when I found out I can’t ask questions or leave comments on the site.  They require a Facebook account in order to ask a garden question.  That’s my luck.  I don’t use Facebook.  Never wanted to use Facebook.  Don’t like Facebook.  With all the problems they’ve been having I’m glad I’m not a Facebook member.  Actually people find out that the yard crasher crew is in town by being Facebook members.  People tell other people on facebook and they rush to the Lowes  store begging to get free landscaping.  You see, that’s one very good reason I’d never get picked for a yard makeover.  It would have to be plain old blind luck that I’d even be in the right store, on the right day, at the right time, when the film crew was there.  I assure you I’m not at all that lucky.  No way would I want to be begging either.  I have my pride.

Hmm, come to think of it I already have a great source of garden experts.  My readers.  Thank you so much to those who have offered suggestions for my backyard garden adventure.  I’ve got a few new ideas.  I have a budget to work with.  I’m excited and anxious to get started.  I know I can do this!  I believe in me!

In the first video I didn’t say anything and then realized I should have.   I keep forgetting that this camera has a built in microphone but I also hate the sound of my own voice.   When I said “mess” I over emphasized it.  I don’t know how to do video editing yet so I couldn’t take it out. This camera is old but it still works.  The picture quality is much better when I remember to charge the batteries first.

32 comments on “Backyard garden

  1. Kat Albers
    April 2, 2018

    You have a lot of potential in the front with the existing planting beds on either side of your front door to put in edible landscaping. Since this is where you have the most sun but, are not allowed a vegetable garden. You could plant blueberry bushes, rose variety that produces rosehips for tea, and herbs. Thai basil for example is a beautiful purple. You could extend a planting bed following the path from your front door to the road to plant more herbs. There are lettuces and cabbages that look pretty even. I used a large pot and turned a tomato cage upside down on top of the dirt, so it looked like a small teepee. Planted green beans that trellis and grew up and covered the tomato cage I planted edible nasturtiums around the bottom. They continuously flower and looked beautiful. I did two and put on either side of my door. Looked like beautiful topiaries . No one was the wiser. Gave me lots of fresh green beans. If money allows later you could plant a dwarf fruit tree or two in the front yard. There are lots of web pages online with ideas for edible landscaping to get your imagination going. I am still thinking about your backyard and how to make the most of it on a small budget. And what grows well in shade. Will write more later.
    PS: I really enjoy reading your blog and am glad you decided to continue with it.

    Like

    • Anita
      April 2, 2018

      Ooo, Kat those are some great ideas. I’ll do some online research. Thanks.

      You’re right I do have lots of potential if I apply good plant organizing. I have very limited money though. My garden budget is $200 that I received from readers as donations. I want to honor the gifts by using the money wisely. I visited Home Depot store over the weekend. I went to buy Terro ant killer but had a look around while I was there. Garden plants were all over the place. So much of eye candy to look at and dream.

      I was thinking I could make rose hip jelly if I had a couple of rose bushes. Currently I buy it at expensive price of $7 for a 12 oz jar because its healthy jelly alternative. One jar lasts about 6 months. Rugosa roses (no specific name) make the best jelly and would work well in the backyard but it can quickly get out of hand by spreading underground. I’m not sure I could keep up with it. I need a variety that produces good hips but remains as a controllable bush and not a rambler.

      Like

  2. Lilli
    March 30, 2018

    Mel Bartholomew writes about square-foot gardening and is on YouTube. He has some great ideas.

    Like

  3. R Yourig
    March 30, 2018

    I’m looking forward to seeing your garden. Your yard not that horrible. Mine worse though bigger. Wish it were contained like yours is. You. Need to find the optimal spot for sun and you can go, girl!

    Fresh vegetables and fruit essential to a good diet. Otherwise, less is more. You can save money and lose lbs simply by eating less overall. Though no telling if some bolt of bad luck lightning won’t hit anyone, slim people tend to do better health wise. Best way to get there is to simply eat less. If you are 30% heavier than you should be, that’s how much food you gotta cut

    Looking forward to your writings. Love your blog

    Like

    • Anita
      March 30, 2018

      I do agree with you that eating fresh is essential to a good diet. I firmly believe eating chemical free is the key to optimal health. Because if the food we consume is made in a lab it will take a lab of medicines to digest it. That’s my ultimate garden goal. To eat fresh food as fresh and chemical free as it can get. Located right outside my own backdoor.

      Sorry to say but I disagree with you about the eating. Loosing weight is not as simple as just eating less. If it were I’d be a bean pole size. Lots of people think that way but there are other reasons why a person might gain weight even though they eat very little. Simply being thin is no assurance of good health either. My person opinion is that “health” has very little to do with body weight and everything to do with what food goes into our bodies.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Your opinion is just as important as mine even if we disagree.

      Like

  4. momsav
    March 30, 2018

    It looks like you have it under control. If the sun is better in front, then containers are probably the best for that since you have an ordinance.
    I use a metal garbage can for my compost. (With lid) I used a big nail to put holes in the base and holes around the bottom few inches so water drains. I fill it all Summer long with peelings, egg shells, paper towel, dust lint, anything that disintegrates. (No animal products.) I also add extra dirt that i’ve shoveled. About once a Summer, I tip it all over, mix it real well and put it back in the can. Unless it broke down before Summer is over, I use it every Spring then start over. It’s not a lot but it sure helps.
    Lowe’s is good about offering torn bags of dirt, compost etc. at a discount. Look for that when you go next. (And, you have access to a car.)
    Your video was fine: you sound great!

    Like

    • Anita
      March 30, 2018

      I didn’t know about that at Lowes. I guess I never noticed because I wasn’t looking for it. I’ll probably use a metal trash can with a tight fitting lid for my compost too. Almost all the stores have garden stuff on sale now. I’m supposed to have a yard waste can so maybe I could use that for my compost since I never have yard waste. The leaves would be the only yard waste and those get mulched up with a mower and left on the yard.

      Like

  5. T
    March 30, 2018

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180328-how-sugar-could-help-heal-wounds It seems that sugar is more useful externally?! Another topic to ponder : )

    Like

    • Anita
      March 30, 2018

      I knew honey was good for healing wounds because Grandma Mama used it. I never knew about using sugar. Hee hee I wonder what the grands will think next time they scrape a knee and Na Na puts sugar on it?

      Like

  6. T
    March 30, 2018

    ‘My curiosity is always working overtime. ‘

    To quote fictional SF detective ‘Adrian Monk’- a blessing and a curse!

    Re flooding Anita, same here, the city was on high alert for wednesday’s heavy rains, with strategically placed high water rescue vehicles and the engineers opened some of the dams, but it felt weird. No one I know who lost their homes in the post-Harvey disaster is yet back home, 7 months later. Outwardly the city looks like it’s business as usual but really for many many people it’s not.

    And for work yesterday I drove across town and through some of the worst hit areas last time and every waterway is full- a few more inches and it will flood again.

    My condo leaked ( again ) of course. So I went to last night’s HOA meeting. The HOA chair and management company woman tried to shut me down, said it was an ‘inappropriate’ forum to discuss ‘your issues’ apparently but I did not let them,and
    I said, in response to ‘none of these people need to hear you going on about your problems’ (!) ‘we just discussed dog poop for the last twenty minutes; they’ll cope’!

    The relevance of these people to me regarding budgeting is the monthly condo service charge is now double what it was when I bought and it still goes up. One senior at the meeting said she would struggle with an $11 a month raise. I’ve just taken a job where there’s a food pantry so I will see about getting her help if appropriate, but the younger people don’t always understand how hard it gets getting older and trying to pay for healthcare, help, decent food.

    When asked why the condo charge is so high the HOA respond ‘insurance’ but when my roof leaked during the disaster and did damage the HOA refused to let me use the insurance, so I also mentioned that. I had to pay for the damages myself or use my own insurance or- hire a lawyer. If I hire a lawyer it’s an additional problem because banks won’t generally lend mortgages on condos subject to litigation, renders properties unsaleable.

    Not to mention a condo owner is paying twice- for the cost of the lawyer plus the cost of fighting the lawsuit if it bumps up the property charge or leads to special assessment.

    I would NEVER recommend anyone to buy a condo if the budget is tight. There are too many factors which can spin out of control.

    The last two leaks damaged the property downstairs of me, the owner was livid and wanted me to hire a lawyer with him because the property manager told him ‘there’s nothing wrong with the roof’ when we’ve had leak after leak after leak and this is new roof, new siding, numerous repairs.

    It mirrors a situation in NZ and also Canada which they call ‘leaky condo crisis’, where the poor quality labor has lead to a mass of faulty buildings.

    Interesting times…

    Like

    • Anita
      March 30, 2018

      I didn’t know who that person was you quoted so I looked him up. Sounds a bit like me. A little crazy weird but I get the job done. 🙂

      Kentucky often gets the rain from Texas as it move up and east across the country as do several of the states. Yeah, the flood gates are at the ready just in case. Many are hoping it doesn’t happen because the KY Derby is not far away. There is two weeks of parties for a two minute horse race. Thank heavens I’m no longer living in the middle of all the derby madness.

      Has anyone in the building talked with a class action lawyer about your case? From what I understand the lawyer collects if he wins the case. He gets paid by the person or company he sues. A condo manager is like the responsible party isn’t it? Hmm, a thought. Have the insurance premiums really been paid? But I see your point if you want to sell you need it to look good for the banks. I’m sure glad I have a house and not a condo. I feel for you.

      Like

      • T
        March 30, 2018

        I just told the other owners- if I have to advertise a leaking roof it will devalue their properties also. It’s been a frustration but I’m not letting it bother me too much, fortunately I paid off the mortgage in the first three years so if I have to sell cheaper I owe nothing, and maybe I can hire a lawyer after and recover the difference in value if it seems worth it.

        I asked a few financial questions but my realtor said don’t dig too deep because you’ll have to disclose any problems to potential buyers!

        Like

        • Anita
          April 2, 2018

          Ooo, good idea. Nobody would want to devalue their property. Hmm, your realtor is probably right. If you don’t know you can’t be held responsible.

          Like

  7. Margie in Toronto
    March 29, 2018

    Here are some links for you to look at Anita. I hope they give you some ideas for your garden.

    https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/square-foot-gardening-planning-spacing-benefits-257295

    https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/search?q=vertical+gardening

    Like

    • Anita
      March 29, 2018

      Thanks Margie there are limitless ways to garden in containers. I’m planning on trying some of them.

      Like

  8. stephanie tatum-ford
    March 29, 2018

    Oh really the city ordnance says no vegetable gardens, but that eyesore warehouse building is just fine… do you live in a residential neighborhood, I don’t get it, it burns me to know someone ripped you off like that guy who took your money and didnt come back, I understand your doing it, but man I hope his Karma hits him right where it hurts. I think the front yard is the better place to put a lot of veggies ..in pots, so that when and if,,, likely never, the powers that be try to stop it, you can relocate them to back yard. How much rain do you get anyway? Thank you for sharing your video, and hearing your voice makes me happy, so there. Library a good choice, you’ll meet other people interested in gardening also.

    Like

    • Anita
      March 29, 2018

      The warehouse was there before the houses in this neighborhood. The original owner of the warehouse had a major construction company and is the one who built all the houses. What you can’t see from my yard is that there are several warehouse buildings in that industrial complex. The warehouse does cause shade issues but I do love that big old wall. Its like a giant privacy fence and offers some protection from potential tornadoes. I understand the need for ordinances. Without them there would be ciaos. It doesn’t say no vegetable gardens at all, just that they can’t be located in the front yard. We recently were in flood stage and we are about to go into another flood stage. Its been either cloudy or raining for several days in a row. We had several inches of snow on the first day of spring and snow again a couple of days later.

      Like

  9. Margie in Toronto
    March 29, 2018

    You’ve certainly got the space for a great garden but it looks as though you are going to have to do a lot to prepare the soil. Have you ever thought of vertical gardening? I’ve seen many bits online about people who use things like wooden pallets anchored to a wall – it then holds containers and people seem to grow lots of different things – it seems to work especially well for salad greens and herbs.
    I’m just trying to think of ways of making this as easy as possible for you.

    PS – I share your frustration with having to be on Facebook in order to access certain sites. I used it for about 6 months years & years ago and then cancelled out – it was just overwhelming! Good luck with this.

    Like

    • Anita
      March 29, 2018

      You’re right Margie. I had concluded that same thing last year when I tried to have a raised bed made. There are far too many tree roots and rocks in the whole yard for in ground planting. I had a devil of a time just getting the base for the clothes line in the ground. It took several tries before I found a place it worked. I appreciate all suggestions. I really like the idea of raised beds and vertical gardening. I saw one person using 2 liter pop bottles tied to a chain link fence and growing vegetables. Potential there too.

      Like

  10. Diana
    March 29, 2018

    What about starting a couple raspberry bushes, if you like them that is. They do ok in a somewhat shaded area as long as they get some sun. Mine get morning sun basically. The nice thing about containers is you can move them as the sun moves. I keep my heavier pots in a wagon and just pull it around. I have really good luck with lettuce and spinach in pots. It just keeps regrowing so a small pot does fine for us. I would start some strawberries too. I ordered 25 bare root plants last year really, really cheap and they did very well, and shot out so many runners last year I probably tripled my plants.

    I am excited to see what you come up with.

    Like

    • Anita
      March 29, 2018

      I like just about any kind of fruit. Hmm, strawberries fresh from my yard sounds heavenly. Lately I feel like my backyard is going to be very bountiful. I hope I can do it justice.

      Like

  11. silveryew
    March 29, 2018

    Is there a Freecycle group in your area – maybe people are giving away gardening supplies/seeds/etc for free?

    Like

    • Anita
      March 29, 2018

      Yes, I belong to the local freecycle. I have my email on suspension because of the hugh amount of email. I believe there somewhere around 20,000 members. It would be very difficult to pick up things by city bus. Good suggestion though.

      Like

  12. J.
    March 29, 2018

    University of Tennessee has an extension division in every county. Thru their Master Gardener program, you can call in and get educated answers to your questions.
    Extension.tennessee.edu
    You can also start a compose using a garbage can with a lid, and vegetable scraps!
    Good luck!

    Like

    • Anita
      March 29, 2018

      Hmm, good idea. I plan to buy a can that’s required for yard waste pickup I’ll also look for one to use for compost. I looked at our county extension website. From what I can see there are no garden events scheduled except for 4H.

      Like

  13. craftytadpole
    March 29, 2018

    It looks like you have a good sized back yard. My advice would be to start small and start composting your food waste if you are not already. Don’t forget about your public library when looking for information, chances are they have a gardening section with lots of lovely free books to borrow. Our library also has a seed library where people donate their left over seeds.

    Additionally, ask around. There is probably a horticultural group in your area who can offer you lots of practical advice and wisdom regarding what grows best in your area. Gardeners love sharing their knowledge with newbies!

    Good luck and good growing.

    Like

    • Anita
      March 29, 2018

      Thank you for the suggestions. I do plan to start composting as soon as I figure out where to locate it and how to keep the four footed creatures from thinking I put it there for them to eat and multiply. I’ll be going to the library this weekend providing there is a good break in the rain.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. sarasinart
    March 29, 2018

    What things will you plant? Lots of things work good in containers.

    Like

    • Anita
      March 29, 2018

      I’m not sure yet. I’m going to the library this weekend to ask some questions about local gardening groups. Maybe pick up a garden book or two. My hope is that I’m able to grow some of what I like to eat but is too expensive for me to buy. But I also want foods to can like tomatoes and cucumbers. I know I’m going to be starting very small and that’s ok.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sarasinart
        March 29, 2018

        Keep us posted how it’s going. Good luck!

        Like

  15. Jean
    March 29, 2018

    I know you have a lot of shade, but where, if anywhere, do you have any afternoon sun? That’s going to be the best spot for your garden. Does that warehouse shade your yard in the morning or the afternoon?
    It’s a shame about the guy taking your money for the raised bed. That would have been ideal!

    Like

    • Anita
      March 29, 2018

      The back corner where the bushes are is the east. That area where the clothes line is standing gets morning sun as the sun climbs above the building. The sun then rises above the trees and the area is mostly shade. As the sun moves more to the west the driveway is where the sun is best. The front of my house gets lots of sunlight. There are no hugh trees or buildings to block it. I believe I can get away with having several edibles in the front and along the drive if I keep them in pretty containers. The city ordnance says no vegetable gardens in front yards but says nothing about containers. That’s stretching interpretation a bit. Also, its always easier to be forgiven than to ask permission. Worst that can happen is that I have to move the pots to the back. I’ll do another video IF we ever get some sunshine instead of days and days of rain.

      Like

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This entry was posted on March 29, 2018 by in 1940s (WW2) FOODS, DIABETES AND FOOD BANKS.

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