The longing for a healthy salad during a stroll through the produce aisle was all it took to create a full-blown panic bubbling deep inside my soul. Have you noticed grocery prices lately? When did the price of lettuce jump to $ 3.29?
Doesn’t anyone realize how long an employees must work just to purchase a head of lettuce?
Panic accurately describes my feelings. I am also depressed. Apples are $ 1.99 a pound, same for nectarines and plums. It seems the only place in Atlanta offering affordable vegetables is the DeKalb Farmer’s Market. Alas, how many people have the time, or can afford the gas to drive that far? It is becoming impossible to feed our children-and ourselves-healthy food.
And then there was my daughter’s math assignment, complete with recipe. Total cost for ingredients: $ 20.00. Don’t get me started on that little surprise grocery store trip.
It is time-today-to plant some lettuce. Time to plant spinach, kale, collards and anything else green you can think of. All these “winter greens” will thrive in southern fall gardens. Most of these plants will last through the winter until temperatures rise in the summer.
For those trapped in a subdivision, empty a plastic storage container, plunk in a bag of dirt, and shake in a packet of Botanical Interests seeds. I have provided a link for many tried-and-true varieties here.
Do you like snow peas? Plant ‘em my friend, plant them today. While you’re at it, plant garlic too. It is a tasty winter crop.
We’ve got to do something. Soon and very soon, growing our own food will become a necessity. I am trying to remain calm, but the reality is this: consumers have little control over pricing.
Enter my red-neck lettuce bed. I took this photo from the side to show the simplicity of this project. The container is a plastic drawer. When the wheel of the cabinet broke, I converted it into a tiny lettuce garden.
How? I purchased one bag of potting soil (with fertilizer in the bag). Drove the bag home. Opened the bag. Poured two inches of dirt into the container. Because the container will remain on the porch, and away from winter rains, drainage holes are not necessary. I sprinkled a package of Botanical Interests Buttercrunch Lettuce seeds. Added a thin layer of dirt, and then said a prayer of thanksgiving as I lightly patted everything into place.
Lettuce does not transplant well. Neither will any of the previously mentioned “greens.” Determine where you want the plants to live, even if it is alongside the Gardenia outside your front door. Grow spinach in a fancy container, lettuce in the terra-cotta alongside the garage, in a plastic container, greens do not care. They are not persnickety.
Be not proud, my friend, and try not to panic. Keep calm and plant some lettuce, kale, and perhaps a packet of spinach.
Renea Winchester is an award-winning author. Order copies of her books through her website www.reneawinchester.com. She is currently writing, In the Kitchen with Billy: Friends, Fords, and Friend Bologna Sandwiches.