Mr. Stacky – Growing Veggies in own Apartment
I got a Mr. Stacky for Christmas from my sister in Ohio. Mr. Stacky is the perfect thing for growing a garden in an Apartment. It has four pots that stack on top of each other for a total of twenty pots. I have a great big apartment window for growing plants all year round. I just have to wait until the spring when everything is in season to get my potting soil, fertilizer and seeds.
I looked on youtube to see how to germinate seeds. Germinating seeds seem easy enough. Just soak the seeds a little bit and put on a wet paper towel. Once done with that, put the seeds and towel in a container. Some seeds take three days to germinate while others could take up to three weeks. I guess check up on them every so often to see what is happening with the seeds. I think even the package the seeds come in could also have instructions on how to germinate the seeds. Another tip I learned on youtube is to tell which one of the seeds will germinate and which ones won’t. Put the seeds in a glass of water. The ones that sink to the bottom will germinate while the ones floating on top will not germinate.
For growing plants in a container, they say it is necessary to have potting soil as the plant will grab as much nutrients that it can. I have been shopping around on the internet and find that black gold has the potting soil, fertilizer and plenty of other stuff needed to grow plants in containers. It seems to be the best bet. I don’t have room to make my own compost in my apartment. It seems to be a smelly process anyway. For not too much more black gold potting soil also has compost in it. My friend says she has some dirt but if it is not potting soil I think I will just stick with the black gold potting soil.
Mr. Stacky has a nice water irrigation system. You just water the top and everything is supposed to drip down to the bottom. Since there are holes at the bottom of the pots, there is supposed to be no need to put rocks and sand to break up the water so the roots of the plant don’t get waterlogged.
Beans I hear are the easiest to grow so they are definitely in on my to grow list. Pioneers used to grow beans out on the prairie land. If they can grow beans under those harsh conditions then I say so can I under much better conditions. Strawberries seem easy to grow but I am not sure about the availability of the seeds. I guess I will have to wait until spring to see what seeds are available. Maybe I will grow some carrots and lettuce.
My Mr. Stacky will be nice. I won’t have to depend on the food pantry or the farmer’s market so much. My friend likes to go to the farmer’s market to get zucchini, squash, chard, and kale. She likes to chop them up with her eggs for breakfast and make soup for dinner with those vegetables. Maybe I will try to grow those in my Mr. Stacky along with green pepper and cucumbers.
I personally eat out of cans. I will have a can of vegetables, can of fruits and a can of protein such as tuna, chicken or pork. Sometimes I will have a can of soup. I will make just enough to fill a plate. If I am lucky I will have grape juice or milk to drink but often times I will have tea or water. I have two bags of frozen fish I have to cook up which should last me a while. I also have a bag of beef stew. That should be good.
For lunch I brown bag it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If I don’t have an apple, banana, or orange I will open up a can of fruit and put in a container. Sometimes the food pantry will give me bags of chips, yogurt and cups of juice. Sometimes I even get cookies and crackers, so I pack those in for lunch.
When I make tea, I use a pot with a special tea holder which I found at a rummage sale for a buck. I put about six bags of tea in the container and fill the container up with water. I let it soak for about four hours or until it is the brown color that I like. One time I thought I have given away my tea pot. I looked everywhere but I couldn’t find it. So, I used a big bowl, filled it with water and put my tea bags in the bowl. I let it sit for a while and poured the contents in the tea jug that I put lemon juice and vinegar in with the tea. After a week, I found my tea pot. It was where I would loose it on the top shelf above the kitchen sink. I have been using my tea maker ever since and I am glad I don’t have to use a bowl to make my tea. I don’t put sugar in my tea. I try not to put to much vinegar in, maybe just a couple of swigs. I try not to put too much lemon juice as it is kind of expensive.
I bought my friend a chopper for her birthday. It is the equivalent of 24 knives or so it says. It dices, slices, chops, puree. It makes cole slaw, soups and chops meats and nuts. I got the chopper at Wal-mart. She is always cutting up vegetables. I hope this will be a little more quick of a process for her and maybe even a little professional. She will be skeptical to use the chopper like she was with the oven crisper I gave her, but I think it will be one of those things she will wonder how she ever did without the chopper.
One thing that would save money and time on food is knowing what you have, cleaning out what you don’t want and organizing. In my cupboard I have cans of vegetables on the top of the cupboard, cans of protein in the middle of the cupboard and cans of fruit on the bottom of the cupboard. That way, I just pick out the cans I need to open then eat and put the rest in the refrigerator. If I am running low, I will be able to see it by the groups that I have made. The frige needs cleaning out now and then as the left overs tend to grow. Putting like with like and in order helps to know what have and don’t have and maybe even need. No surprises. The freezer is the same with the frige.
Things that also seem to grow in the kitchen are cookbooks, pots, pans and the like. How many do you actually use? Can you do without? I gave away 10 of my cookbooks and kept 2 or 3 just in case I start cooking again. I gave away my Mom’s blender and mixer since I don’t seem to use those either. I am even finding that I am living without a microwave since it died on me a couple of months ago. I also looked through my plates, cups and bowls. I purged on them also. I have just enough room for what I need.
Sharing meals with friends is nice as it cuts down on the use of food. Also makes buying in bulk easier. Coupons are even easier to use with two people. They might have buy one get one free or two meals for $5. Fresh produce has to be hurried up and used before they go bad. Subway has specials on footlong subs that could be split between two people and Little Caesars has pizza for a group of people. Specials are good for the budget too. Look out for them!
Churches have free meals they offer. Some do it weekly while others do it monthly. There is the community Thanksgiving dinner and of course soup kitchens and the food pantries. Some people are lucky enough to get food stamps.