Delly’s Deals Weekly Radio Show Notes

Mar
24
Thank you to our show sponsors, I Am Salon and Day Spa, and Memories of a Child. Please support these local businesses as they help make the Delly’s Deals Radio Show possible! Also, check out the March specials from I Am Salon and Day Spa. Memories of a Child has TONS of great warm weather clothes right now, so if you need spring and summer wear for your kids, as well as water gear, be sure to drop by. You get an extra 10% off if you mention my name (Delly)!


I spent the first segment going over triple coupons rules (triple 20 coupons per day, only coupons less than $1 will triple). I shared on the air some of the amazing deals that my readers have been getting this week. Hop on over to my Delly’s Deals Facebook page to not only see their deals but to also share your deal. I will draw for a Deluxe Coupon Binder Kit on Monday from all who have shared a deal. Remember that you can go to www.southernsavers.com to see three different lists of many of the deals that are available this week during Triple Coupons Week.

Today we also had a special guest on the Delly’s Deals Radio Show- New Hanover County Extension Service Director and gardening expert, Al Hight. He answered my and callers questions about summer vegetable gardening. 


For those who are beginners to growing crops, some of the easier options are cucumbers, peppers, beans. I can certainly attest to the peppers as I had no difficulties growing them- they literally took off for me and had no problems all summer and they continued to produce into the fall. I also put them in my front flower bed where they were beautiful ornamental plants and added spectacular color.


Some of the more difficult choices would be tomatoes (interestingly, many people choose tomatoes as a starter plant when in actuality they are one of the more problematic crops to grow). One tip for tomatoes is to add calcium sulfate (found in bags at your local home garden store) when the tomatoes start flowering. This can help prevent the blossom end rot which is the grayish/brown circles under the bottom of the tomato.


Corn may be fun to grow (which I did), however from a frugal and spacial standpoint it may not be the best choice since one stalk may produce only one to two ears. Corn must also be planted in several rows at least in order to cross-pollinate. I do plan to plant corn this year in a bigger space in my backyard, as I loved the convenience of picking it when I was ready as well as the fresh and sweet taste. Here is a great article on planting corn in the backyard.


Pumpkins grow in this area too (a reader on my FB page wanted to know this). Plant your seeds in July to have pumpkins in time for October! Be sure to give yourself lots of space, as pumpkins vine all over the place and can quickly take over an area.

Something interesting that I learned was about fertilizer and adding organic matter to the soil. This is good for the garden and a product that I loved last year was “Black Cow,” which I bought at Lowes (can also be found at Home Depot). It is composted cow manure but it comes in a nice bag and doesn’t smell nor look nor feel like cow manure! It looks like beautiful soil and it seemed that anything that this stuff touched grew amazingly well. I bought five bags for about $5 each and simply mixed it into my soil. You can even plant young tomato seedling plants directly into the bag and they will grow right out of the bag!


One thing Al told me was that I overpaid by buying the name brand of Black Cow (I will search for coupons :)). He said off brand could be purchased for half the cost of what I paid and can be found at most home garden centers. I will certainly be looking for the off-brand if I can’t find coupons for the Black Cow.

Finally, Al mentioned the fall garden, too, so I may have him back on late summer/early fall. He mentioned that lettuce is super easy and can be an enormous value to grow versus buy. For example, he paid $3 for lettuce seeds and probably ate $300 worth of lettuce this fall/winter. I’m definitely curious to learn more about fall gardening!


In conclusion, Al said that it’s feasible for a family of say, five people, to do a garden for less than $100. In some ways, it depends on your infrastructure. If you are starting from scratch, say converting grass to a garden, there may be some initial expense such as renting a rototiller, but subsequent years should definitely be a lot simpler. I will say this- I did a patio garden in a former flowerbed last summer. The area was probably 3 feet by 8 feet and I was super impressed with my results. My crops did extremely well considering that I put very little money into them (never tilled, never really fertilized, minimal pesticides). This year I will spend a little more as I intend to have a bigger garden. 


If the task seems daunting to you, try a container garden in pots and maybe only try one or two crops. You don’t have to plant everything! Give it a shot and you may be super impressed with the results. 

For more information on local gardening (here in Southeastern NC, go here to access the New Hanover County Extension Service). They can be reached by phone at 798-7660 and you can speak to a master gardener who can help answer your questions. Also, Youtube was a wonderful resource to me last year as well. 

Best of luck to you with your summer garden and I will periodically update you on mine!

The Frugal Garden

Mar
23

I am so excited about tomorrow’s Delly’s Deals radio show! I will have Al Hight, Southeastern NC gardening expert and director of the New Hanover County Extension Service on as a guest to answer my and your questions about how to have a successful and frugal vegetable garden. I think doing a summer garden is an integral part to budgeting for groceries as we all know you can’t beat the value of growing your own vegetables. I remember two years ago when I sent my husband to the store for a last minute tomato that I needed to complete a recipe. I was shocked when he came back with a four-pack of tomatoes and paid $4.99 for them! Three went to waste and I would have skipped it had I known they’d cost me almost $5. Last summer I bought a pack of tomato seeds from WalMart for $1.00! That pack had at least twenty seeds in it, so I imagine each plant could produce maybe 50 tomatoes? Anyhow, it’s clear that growing your own vegetables is a better value.

 My tomatoes were so beautiful early on. Too bad I don’t eat fried green ones!

As many of you know, last summer I did my first garden. I  documented it via my blog. I was super impressed with the results and although not everything turned out the way I would have had it, I was proud of my first ever attempt to grow my own food! Not only did the veggies taste so fresh and delicious but it was a pure joy to look at the garden change everyday. The vegetable blooms were beautiful (who knew green beans bloomed purple or that zuchinni squash blossoms were big, yellow, edible flowers before turning into zuchinni). My children also LOVED that garden and checked it everyday.

My daughter, picking her ear of corn.

My daughter approved of the corn.

Last year I planted: tomatoes, zucchini squash, sweet corn, carrots, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, strawberries, green beans, cilantro, basil, and rosemary. The basil, peppers, carrots and green beans did the best. The corn produced fairly well but by mid-summer it started dying out which was disappointing. We did get about 12 good ears out of our corn and that’s one thing I want to improve on this year. I want to plant it earlier and to plant WAY more! The zucchinni squash did awesome until the squash bugs got into it. They damaged the plants irreparably, so I hope to ward them off this year as the zuchinni we did harvest were so delicious. The basil was awesome- we put it in a pot and grew it from seed and had plenty all summer.

My basil was beautiful (in the pot) and the zuchinni was just about to bloom. The zuchinni flowers are giant, yellow, soft and edible. I hear they make a great soup or as a salad addition, but I did not have a chance to try this.

Are you doing a veggie garden this summer? Do you have questions? Are you a beginner like I was and slightly frightened of the prospect of doing your first garden? Have no idea where to start? Are you an expert but have one or two specific questions about your garden? Tomorrow is your chance to have your question answered by someone who truly knows the subject well. Tune in tomorrow at 10 a.m. to the Delly’s Deals Radio Show on the Big Talker FM, 106.3 or 93.7 FM to hear my weekly grocery updates and my conversation with expert Al Hight!

Hurricane Project- Update on my Garden and Seed Collecting

Aug
26

Earlier this summer I did a post on my garden. Thank you all for the kind feedback on it and interest in the garden. This was my first garden and the kids and I really enjoyed working on it. We were able to get corn out of it, a few green beans, a couple of zuchinni (squash bugs got into it and killed most of it), lots of peppers, which we are going to try pickling, a few carrots, strawberries, and tomatoes and basil. We also grew zinnias and black eyed susans, which were perfect for cutting and using indoors as fresh floral arrangements.

                                   My son, Gabe, picking a peck of pickled peppers (sorry, had to say it).


I think we met our goals for the garden. My goal was to have a fun learning experience with the children but also to use the garden as a vehicle for saving money on herbs and veggies. I will say that my biggest mistake was not planting enough. For example, we only planted five green bean plants. I learned that although they did produce, five plants was not enough to serve five people! We would pick what was available and then have enough for maybe one serving for one person. We had the same problem with the corn; we’d pick two ears, cook it for the kids, and they’d beg for more! Unfortunately, there wasn’t more to be had!



So next year I will likely do a bigger garden. I was amazed at what grew. Since I had never done a garden before, I had no idea what to expect. For example, I planted corn on our front patio, thinking it wouldn’t grow, and lo and behold it all produced!


Now fall is approaching, as well as Hurricane Irene. The hurricane should make landfall late tonight so as part of our preparations we decided to do a final cutting of the zinnias. They are so tall that I doubt they’ll make it through the hurricane. We made a pretty floral arrangement and as a hurricane project while we are cooped up in the house, the kids are helping me harvest seeds from the flowers and store them for next year. It’s so amazing how a packet of maybe 20 seeds costs $1.00-$2.00, but from one flower you can gather about 100 seeds! We have probably 100 flowers, so you do the math! We will have thousands of seeds and I can’t wait to use them in our garden next year!

See our video below about how to gather seeds from zinnias (and other flowers for that matter).

Saving on Veggies? Grow a Garden!

Jun
10
My first garden!

Since this blog is about cutting one’s grocery bill by 50% or more, I had to bring up the idea of gardening to save on fruits and veggies.


I recall buying a four pack of tomatoes about a month and a half ago. Not only did we only eat one tomato before they went bad, but we also paid $5 for the pack! I was so upset thinking of the waste there. I decided to grow some tomato plants as a way of saving money on tomatoes AND having fresh tomatoes right off the vine when we wanted them.


Of course, when I went seed shopping I didn’t just stop at tomatoes. I ended up buying seeds for all the following: zucchini, basil, rosemary, strawberries, corn, green beans, cilantro, green onions, and peppers! I got my seeds at WalMart back in the spring for $1 a pack, which was a great deal, considering that each packet had 15-30 seeds in it. Imagine if I planted each seed and if every bush yielded 30-40 veggies! I would have way more vegetables than I could handle!


My father gave me the idea of planting the garden right outside of our kitchen, in front of our front patio. His idea was worth it’s weight in gold because it’s so easy to care for the garden since we pass it multiple times each day. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been walking by and decided to stop and water my plants because one might have looked a little droopy or pull a weed here or there. Out of sight, out of mind, right? If the garden had been in the back yard, it definitely wouldn’t have gotten the attention that it has.


I planted most seeds in April, so we’re now starting to get small zucchinnis, green beans, and green tomatoes. It’s been so exciting! My children (4 and 2) absolutely love the garden and help me tend it. We also planted zinnias in the front for added beauty. Even my husband, who initially was a little perplexed by my desire for a garden, has told me how much he enjoys seeing it everyday. He mentioned how he read that growing a garden was one of the longevity tips for living a long life in a book he had read.


What I love about this is the value. We have spent so little on the garden. We paid for the seeds, three bags of black cow compost (this stuff is amazing and only about $5 a bag), and a botttle of miracle grow concentrate. Beyond that, we use what we have. It’s neat to think of all the vegetables we will be getting for that amount that we spent (compared to buying them in the store) AND they are fresher! We picked two strawberries yesterday and they were unbelieveably sweet and soft. Nothing I have ever bought in the store can compare. A few weeks ago we used fresh basil in my husband’s spaghetti. It was so neat to pick it, roll it, cut it, and throw it in the pot. As a bonus, it smells great!


I did this post to inspire others to consider a garden. You can even plant in pots- you don’t have to have a lot of land. Also, you could just start by planting the vegetable that you buy most. If you eat a lot of tomatoes, maybe just do one or two tomato plants.


Below are some photos of the garden. I plan to update as it gets bigger and better! I will let you know when we finally harvest something!

March 2011- The spot we chose for our garden. Former home of three dead azalea bushes!


My son, staring at the task ahead.
April 2011- Veggies are coming in.

 
Zinnias in front of the corn and beans. They help attract useful pollinating insects like bees and butterflies.
Strawberries coming in.
A huge pot of basil and zucchinni plant blossoming.
Green tomatoes- too bad I don’t like them fried!
Banana peppers in a flower bed in the front of my house for color.
These jalapenos will taste great on tacos!
Flowering green beans- they were so pretty. Now here come the beans!

I hope that I have inspired someone to grow their own garden!