Sheri Ann Richerson's exotic gardening, elegant cooking, crafty creations, food preservation and animal husbandry... all on two and a half acres in Marion, Indiana!

Tips For Stocking Up

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The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

October is Energy Awareness Month. That makes it a great time to upgrade to new ENERGY STAR APPLIANCES, televisions or computers to save money on your home energy bills. After all, one of the main reasons we grow our own food and preserve it is to save money. Old appliances don’t always work as well as they should and sometimes cost us more to run than a newer model would, not to mention when a kitchen appliance such as a freezer or refrigerator breaks down, unless we are home, we often lose the food inside of it. Best Buy has more than 2,300 unique ENERGY STAR certified products available. You can view these products in Best Buy stores and online at http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Global-Promotions/ENERGY-STAR/pcmcat149900050024.c?id=pcmcat149900050024&ref=184&loc=01

The average home’s annual energy bill is $2,200. That’s a lot of money to put towards a single bill each year. Believe me, I know.  Energy efficient products can save you money.  It’s easy to find out just how much you can save by replacing an older appliance in your home with a new appliance by simply visiting http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Global-Promotions/ENERGY-STAR/pcmcat149900050024.c?id=pcmcat149900050024&ref=184&loc=01

The savings don’t stop there however, many local utility companies provide additional rebates that can save you up to $300.  To find out what ENERGY STAR Rebates  are available to you, check out the Best Buy online rebate finder here: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Appliances-Promotions/Appliances-Eco-Rebate-Finder-Tool/pcmcat239700050034.c?id=pcmcat239700050034&ref=184&loc=01

ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. For more information, see http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.ab_index

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While this may seem like a topic that needs to be in the gardening section, it really is a topic that should be filed away under tips for stocking up. After all, if you are growing your own food and preserving it, you do need to know how much to grow!

So here is a simple chart that hopefully will help you plan your garden and stock your pantry!

Beans: 1/4 pound of seed plants one 25 foot row. Each 1/4 pound of seed yields somewhere between 12 to 15 pounds of beans.

Broccoli: Plant five plants per person.

Cabbage: Plant five plants per person.

Carrots: Each 25 foot row will produce 1 pound of carrots.

Celery: Each 25 foot row will produce 30 pounds of celery.

Corn: Plant a total of six 25 foot rows per family of 4.

Cucumbers: Plant 22 plants for a family of 4.

Lettuce: Plant five rows of lettuce that are 5 feet in length per family member. Plant one row per week for five weeks, then begin again as the first row is cleared away. Remember to keep lettuce cool by planting in a partially shaded location or using shade cloth in the heat of the summer.

Melons: Plant 2 to 4 hills per family member depending on how much you eat.

Onions: Each 25 foot row will produce 20 pounds of onions. One row per family member should be sufficient.

Peas: Plant 3 rows that are 25 feet long per family member. Each row should contain peas that mature at different times.

Peppers: Plant a total of 12 plants per family member. Remember to plant sweet peppers in one area of the garden and hot or mild peppers in different areas so they do not cross pollinate.

Potatoes: Plant seven 25 foot rows for a family of four. If you use more than twenty pounds of potatoes in a month, you will need to plant more than this.

Radish: Four ten foot rows for a family of four. Plant each row a week apart and re-plant each row as it is harvested.

Spinach: One 25 foot row per family member. Plant additional rows every 10 days as weather permits. Spinach is a cool weather crop so it does best in early spring or fall.

Squash: Plant 1 hill per family member.

Tomatoes: Plant at least 4 plants for canning. Plant 3 plants per family member for fresh eating.

Turnips: Plant 10 feet of turnips per family member.

Keep in mind that this is just a guide to give you a place to start. If you can a lot of tomato products such as ketchup, BBQ sauce, pizza or spaghetti sauce, etc. you may find you need more plants.

It is also a good idea to plant a little extra to donate to food pantries or to share with your friends, family or neighbors.

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The first week of the year you should look for nuts. Look at the after Christmas sales. The nuts may be 50% or more off. The dry roasted ones store best, but you can freeze nuts as long as you put them into a freezer bag and keep them for a long time. Try to buy at least two pounds per person.

The second week of the year is the best time to look for cleaning supplies. An average is one gallon of bleach per person. The average person does 156 loads of laundry per year, so stock up on enough laundry soap to get by for the year. Also look for other types of cleansers at this time unless you make your own. If you do, take time this week to stock up on supplies you need to make your own cleansers for the upcoming year.

Week 3: This is a good time to stock up on needed supplies such as feminine products, Pepto Bismal, Vicks, cough drops and syrup, Tylenol, Calamine Lotion, Kaopectate, Ipecac, and sunscreen. Dispose of all outdated medications in your medicine chest. If you make any of your own salves, creams, etc. take this week to stock up on supplies you will need over the coming year.

Week 4: Is a good time to continue to stock the medicine chest with products such as Band-Aids, antibiotic ointments, Ace Bandages, steri-strips and other first aid needs.

Week 5: Is the time to stock up on personal products such as soap, deodorant, toilet paper, shampoo, lotion, hand soap, etc. An average on hand soap is fifteen bars per person. Again, if you make your own, use this week to stock up on supplies you will need.

Week 6: The only thing you need to stock up on this week is peanut butter. Buy ten pounds per person. Peanut butter has a long shelf life, so if you overbuy, it will keep.

Week 7: Stock up on oils, remember the FDA says 60 pounds per person per year. Solid shortening are less expensive than oils. Keep your oils and shortenings rotated so the ones that expire first are used first. These products have a long shelf life and will generally last several years especially if they are kept in a cool, dark place.

Week 8: This is a good time to look for 100% pure juice. Do not buy watered down versions. Go for the gold and get 100% pure lemon, orange, pineapple, whatever flavors you like. If you can your own juice, this may be a good week to look for canning supplies instead as fruit this time of year can be expensive. If you do find a good sale, by all means, stock up. You can juice fruit any time of the year.

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Everyone eats different foods and different amounts of various foods. Knowing how much to store depends on many things including the space you have to store food in and what foods your family eats. Before stocking up consider how you will store the extra food you buy. Do you have plenty of freezer room and a back-up plan in case the electricity goes out? Will you be canning all the food you store? Maybe you will dehydrate your extra food or use a root cellar. Whatever method you choose, make sure it works for your situation. After all storing food is useless if you will not use the items you store.

There are some general guidelines from the FDA to help get you started, but the reality is you will have to do your homework. Some things you may not use at all and others you may use more of. Some things you will need to buy and some you can grow. Anyone can stock up, even if you live in an apartment.

There are different times of the year when it is best to stock up on certain things because they can be found on sale. Here are some yearly averages according to the FDA. These are based on one adult, so multiply this by the number of people in your family to get a better idea of what you will need.

Meat – 200 pounds per year per person.

Flour – 300 pounds per year per person.

Sugar, honey or other sweeteners – 60 pounds per year per person.

Fats or oils – 60 pounds per year per person.

Salt – 5 pounds per year per person.

Powdered milk – 75 pounds per year per person.

Water – 375 gallons per year per person.

Vegetables and fruits – 700 pounds per year per person.

While this is not an end all of what you need, it is a starting point. It is a way to get you thinking about what you may need and a way for you to save some green at the grocery store. How you ask? By buying in bulk when food is in season or by growing your own. Let’s say you grew 50 pounds of green beans this summer. Well, subtract 50 pounds from the estimated 700 pounds of fruits and vegetables if you canned them all. If you bought that 50 pounds of green beans canned you would have spent between $25 and $50 depending on the brand you bought.

While the initial investment to get set up preserving and storing your own food may seem like it doesn’t save anything, in the end, you will come out ahead and best of all, be prepared for almost any emergency that comes your way from being snowed in to being short on cash.

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