Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gardening to Keep Your Produce Costs Down

I spent some time in my garden plot over the weekend to check on 2 chokos I planted earlier in the week. Unfortunately they did not look too good. But there might be a little hope. I'm crossing my fingers as I love chokos with a dab of butter and sprinkle of salt. No one else has chokos in our community garden so I'm learning from books on how to grow them.

Here is my glorious harvest from the weekend which will be incorporated in this weeks meals to help keep within the weekly meals budget. I love organic, grown by me produce. It makes me proud to know I can achieve fresh produce from my own sweat and labour.

Pumpkin, 2 Varieties of Eggplants and Winged Beans.

Two years ago I would have never imagined that I could grow food for my own meals. But it's possible. And if it's possible for me - (a lazy, procrastinator - that likes things done quickly because I'm always getting bored and ready for the next thing) - then it's possible for anyone. If you haven't tried your hand at a bit of gardening, I say "Give it a go". Start with a few herbs in small pot plants to get your meals tastier, healthier and greener. And go from there. Get bolder, bigger and greener.

As always I am interested in your comments. Do you grown anything yourself? What do you have growing? What are your harvesting? Or even, what is preventing you from planting a few items to add to your meals?


  1. I've never seen winged beans before. They look so cool! How do you eat them?

  2. Hi Lena, I stir fry them or steam them. Small ones I also eat raw. Winged beans a versatile. You can eat the green bean small (mild) or large (slightly bitter). As they become large you can pop out the seeds from the pod and dry and cook like dried beans. You can eat the flowers and the roots have a tuber which you can also eat. I don't way all the parts as I want my plant to produce green beans for me. It's a popular vegetable in countries like Burma.

  3. Your aubergines look amazing! I have never been able to grow them - have tried again this year. We grow a lot of our own fruit and vegetables - each year we try and become a little more self-sufficient in food. As we're just coming into spring I've only just sown lettuce, rocket, leeks, chillies, mange tout and brussels. But we're harvesting brussels, cabbage and swede still. I've never heard of winged beans before, but they look very interesting!

  4. those winged beans are so cool, I've never seen them before!

    The only financial hard part about gardening I find is the start up costs. Soil, fertilizer, seeds, yikes! But totally worth it.

  5. Wow i havent even heard of some of that veg.Well done.
    Ive started sowing seeds.So fingers crossed for a bumper crop.

  6. I am only just planting here in the UK. are those winged beans what we call asparagus peas? http://www.thompson-morgan.com/vegetables/vegetable-seeds/pea-and-bean-seeds/asparagus-pea/136TM

    they grow like the clappers over here. I didnt really get on with them. I think I over cooked them, do you have a favourite recipe for them?

    1. I thought they looked a lot like asparagus peas too!

  7. Those winged beans are wild looking. It is just now time to start seeds indoors in the US. Not being able to bend or do things that are physical and procrastination are what is slowing me. I fear I may not be here in this house all summer. Sad thing. Most things would have gone in pots instead of the ground, anyway.

  8. I've got my cabbage and leek seeds planted, onion sets are in the ground. I have some tomato seeds that Dad said will never grow into a decent crop, so I am DETERMINED to nuture these plants to life! They're not planted yet. I'm waiting for the temperature to creep up a couple of degrees!

    Soon I will be planting my potatoes (Dad's not keen on that either - he says they take up too much room! But they're the most fun crop to me so I will plant some somewhere!), swedes, turnips, maybe some caulis and broccoli, some spanish chard, spinach beet and pumpkins! :)

    P.S. Even having googled Chokos, I have no idea what they are! :D

  9. Oh, and while I've got you, I wanted to ask you about scary wildlife! Pretty much nothing in the UK is particularly harmful, BUT we have discovered that we have false widow spiders (Steadota grossa) IN MY COMPOST BIN! Probably nothing to an Aussie, but I am not used to things that might cause "general malaise for several days"!

    So my question is, how do you not get bitten by scary looking invertebrates? I need to compost my veg patch!

  10. Gosh I am amazed in the last comment that winged beans grow in the UK - I thought they were only grown it the tropics! Your eggplant look amazing - I can only grow the lebanese ones - trouble with bacterial wilt.

  11. The fruits of your labour look delish Stephanie, well done.

  12. I am so pleased that you are growing a garden! I could not live without mine and that is the truth. We are just getting ready to start our seeds as we see the snow melt. In NY this year, we have had the mildest winter I have ever seen. I was checking on you to see if that cyclone had hit you. I see you are safe, thankful for that. Happy harvesting!

  13. HI Philippa, I'm lucky - I inherited the eggplants and just prune back a lot to keep them from branching out too much.

    Anti Hoarder, I was new to winged beans too. I saw them in Asian markets but never paid too much attention. Some one gave me 3 small plants and 1 took off well. I'm now waiting to harvest a few bigger beans to gather more seeds to increase my plant numbers.

    NTO - good luck with your growing. My bok choi, spring onions and chives didn't succeed in 2011. I hope better luck this year.

    Sol, Thanks for the info for the interesting info. Some other Ukers may try to grow them now. I just stir fry them and or lightly boil/steam them. Nothing fancy.

    Practical Linda, Some of what you sow may be a delightful surprise when you back to your home. Are you going on holidays?

    Bryallen, I've linked up the chokes in my post to a wiki. My uncle who lives in Limoges struggles with over growing jeruselum architoke. That might be a good root vegetable for you. I love them. He hates them. As for spiders and snakes I just keeps my eyes peeled and move artfully around them. I don't kill any spiders unless I think they are a risk to my daughter such as Red Backs in our home.

    African Aussie, There's a new product available that helps prevent Bacterial Wilt. I think you can only purchase in large quantities and you only need a tiny bit. I think... it was called Bactivate.

    Thanks NixNax. I'm getting there. Small steps to earthy goodness.

    Katlupe, I'm so surprised you knew we had a cyclone heading our way. Lots of rain and wind outside but it doesn't seem any of the banana or pawpaw trees will come done this week as it has bypassed us.


Thanks for commenting - I love getting feedback, sharing experiences and learning from you.