Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My 5

Coles might be abandoning their my5 rewards program, but I am starting my own. I aim to achieve great savings through working towards only buying 5. Let me explain...

Looking at the January garden figures, 30 kg of total produce, it’s clear the garden is pumping it out. And if the fridge could hold more I could have even harvest more than that. So it has made me question - why when the garden is highly productive are we still buying vegetables?

After some deep thought I came to the conclusion that the problem is actually in the kitchen, not the garden. It appears the kitchen isn't totally aligning with the garden. It has become quite a challenge to cook with only what is available, particularly when you are surrounded by a society that cooks what it wants, when it wants. It is clear Melanie and my recipe repertoire is going to need to improve.

The other problem is that I overlooked growing some of the common staples, such as carrot, onion, and garlic. There are also some staples in our diet, such as chickpeas, and lentils, that I am unlikely to grow in the near future due to the quantity we consume. And as we eat minimal meat, they are an important part of our diet.

So to help me reach this 80% goal I have set for myself, I have decided to apply some reverse logic. Rather than planning what I will grow, I have decided to plan what I won’t grow. Looking back through my previous monthly summaries, we seem to consume on average about 29 different varieties of vegetable, thus 20% of 29 is 5. If we are going to reach 80% we need to be working towards buying a maximum of only 5 vegetable types. So here is the 5 I have come up with:

Avocado - don’t want to wait for a tree to grow.
Chickpeas - all year round staple, require lots.
Lentils - all year round staple, require lots.
Kidney Beans - all year round staple, require lots.
Tomato - winter only - not very seasonal I know, but don’t want to live without through winter.

What would your 5 be?


  1. G'day Jason,

    Potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and garlic at our place. We could probably name a few more such as carrot, radish, celery and leeks because we use these in our meals continuously. Our problem is not so much growing what we eat, but timing the overlap of crops where one lot is ready for harvesting and the next lot is ready to move from the greenhouse. The weeks we need to buy vegetables are when we get our timing a little wrong. We have a calender to remind us but plants dont know how to read. We are getting better but it needs a lot of practice. In the meantime our backyard garden is in full production and I cannot wait for our tomatoes to ripen; all 12 different varieties. Our corn and pumpkins are about a month away. Check our blog for details.


    1. Yes I struggle with the timing as well Steve. Particularly when the seedlings don't quite work out, such as a snail attack. 12 different varieties of tomato, now that's exciting, enjoy.

  2. carrots, garlic, onion, celery, potatoes

    Only because I haven't figured out how to grow enough of them yet and we use them all the time. They are also top of my list of things I really need to figure out how to grow lots of! Pretty much everything else we just use whatever is growing or buy cheap when in season. With the tomatoes, have you looked into canning your excess during summer? It seems that garden/kitchen management is as much about managing the excesses as growing in season. I have been busy drying and freezing anything that we have extra so I can us it later. You post also reminds me that I should keep better records!

    1. Canning (bottling) is indeed something I have been looking into. My mother got me book on the topic for Christmas and my sister got me one for my birthday. So I have no excuses. Might look at getting the jars this week.

  3. Capsicums (too cold here in tassie to grow enough for year round supply),
    Onions (we can handle half year supply, but always run out),
    spuds (I could grow 200kgs to handle the household but always seem to never quite get there plus storage issues.
    Broccoli/cabbage/cauli - the spring grown broccoli is hit and miss depending on season
    chickpeas/lentils as pper your comments.


    1. My family loves Capsicum. To my surprise we have managed to hold off for months. We are just starting to get our first fully ripe ones now.

  4. Good thinking! Eating seasonal is a hard mind set to achieve - Good luck!!


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