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Whenever I am gardening, I feel such a sense of self-reliance. Growing one’s own food can be so rewarding. When my son was very young, I started to teach him how to grow vegetables and garden herbs in a small side plot along the south-facing side of our home. I let him pick what he wanted to grow so that it would truly be his garden.
His two picks were cornichons (small pickles) and sunburst patty pan squash. Once grown, the first vegetable fits perfectly into a small child’s hands, and the second one looks like a spaceship. Definitely something to enchant a young boy!
February Texas Ice Storm
Under normal circumstances, I would have started my spring garden in February. But this was no normal February! A freak ice storm in Central Texas changed everything. It wasn’t just the ice and freezing temperatures; it was all the falling tree limbs—very large, heavy limbs—that broke under the weight of all the ice that made our property extremely treacherous to traverse. With the possibility of large branches breaking without warning, it was what a local arborist called the widow maker!
Days after the storm and the ice began to melt, the cleanup began. We had so much damage. Our property looked like a hurricane had come through. Our driveway and front entrance were completely blocked with fallen branches. None that could easily be moved but required a chain saw to cut apart. And my sweet husband Ted had to be extremely careful working through the cleanup to steer clear of more branches that might still fall!
So many trees were severely damaged. Plus, both our fences (front and back) were broken in multiple places, one of our light fixtures was badly damaged, and my garden area was completely covered with broken limbs, some of which damaged my raised beds. By the time February came to a close, we were still cleaning up! And come March, yes, we were still cleaning up the smaller debris. The good news is my garden area is cleared and ready for planting.
The one drawback, it’s now April. Keep in mind I live in Central Texas, where summers often pop into the 100s. So come early June, I am basically wrapping up my garden for the summer, hibernating inside, and planning my fall garden.
Getting a Late Start Gardening
To account for my late start, I thought I would plant some seeds, but I would also purchase some established plants to give me a headstart. That is…until I was hit with sticker shock! As you can see in the following picture, small pots of garden herbs were selling for $4.50. And small vegetable plants were starting at around $5.95! My thrifty heart simply could not pay these prices.
So what is a gardener to do, especially when it is already heating up here? I decided I had no choice but to go ahead and start with seeds. I am just doing things a little differently this year.
Raising Garden Herbs in Egg Cartons
Instead of sowing the seeds right into my raised beds as I would normally do sometime in early February, I decided to start my seedlings in old egg cartons and baby them a bit to keep them well moistened and a bit shaded to be out of the direct sun. I thought this would give them a head start.
Once my seedlings are thriving plants, I’ll transfer them to my raised beds, where I am confident they will flourish. I might have to set up some tenting as we go into June, but it is well worth the savings compared to buying small plants that have become way too costly.
You’ll see in the picture below I picked Basil to start my garden herbs from my selection of Survival Garden Seeds.
So my harvest will be a little later than usual, and my garden will require a little more tending to than normal, but my thrifty heart will be happy. And my family and I will be able to enjoy lots of fresh garden herbs and veggies that started by only spending pennies!
Survival Garden Seeds
In my research into the best seeds for vegetables and garden herbs, I discovered Survival Garden Seeds and their extensive collection of heirloom seeds. If you’re looking for high-quality, open-pollinated, non-GMO, and non-hybrid garden seeds, be sure to use my special MARYSNEST discount code to be able to get 10% off any of the three following products:
- Home Garden Collection (30 Pack)
- Homesteader Collection (50 Pack)
- Farmers Seed Vault Collection (100 Pack)
Download Your Free 36-Page Pantry List
For an extensive list of the traditional foods you can make and purchase to stock your pantry, be sure to download my free 36-page Traditional Foods Pantry List. This comprehensive document is full of links to recipe videos, helpful articles, and more!
Kitchen Academy Videos
Are you looking for more traditional foods videos? If so, I invite you to join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy. Members of this optional paid YouTube community get access to exclusive videos, live streams, and other members-only perks. Plus, your YouTube comments include a special members-only badge.
In the following members-only video, I go behind the scenes about the writing of my new book, The Modern Pioneer Cookbook.
And to learn more about my new book, watch my The Modern Pioneer Cookbook announcement video.
PreOrder YOUR COPY Now!
The Modern Pioneer Cookbook
Seasonal ingredients, traditional techniques, and nourishing recipes. Over 85 traditional, from-scratch recipes! Discover for yourself how you can use simple ingredients and traditional techniques to cook the modern pioneer way.
Stay in Touch with Mary’s Nest
- Subscribe to My YouTube Channel for Traditional Foods Videos (Free) - When you subscribe, be sure to click on the notification bell that will let you know each time I upload a new video.
- Subscribe to Mary’s Traditional Foods Newsletter (Free) - Get a free 36-page eBook for signing up: How to Stock Your Essential Traditional Foods Four-Corners Pantry.
- Join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy (Optional Paid) - For more detailed videos, live streams, and exclusive members-only perks, join my YouTube membership community.
- Preorder The Modern Pioneer Cookbook (Optional Paid) - Get a printed book of Mary's nourishing recipes from a Traditional Foods Kitchen. This cookbook will be published by Penguin Random House with their DK imprint.
I look forward to having you join me in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen!
Shop for items used in this blog post or video
Favorite Prepper Pantry Supplies
- Wireless Fridge and Freezer Exterior Thermometer
- Life Straw
- Water Disinfection Tablets
- Water BOB Tub Liner
- Cast Iron Trivet
- Tea Lights
- Glass Kettle
- Manual Can Opener
- Battery Powered Can Opener
- Long Lasting Ice Packs
- Igloo Cooler
- YETI Cooler
- Electric Cooler
- Jackery Solar Power Station
- Jackery Portable Solar Panels
- 10 Gauge Power Cord
- Kill A Watt EZ
- Hand Crank Flashlight
- High Powered Flashlight
- Hand Crank Emergency Radio
Favorite Kitchen Supplies
- Favorite Aprons
- Spice Grinder
- Countertop Burner (On my kitchen island in many recipe videos.)
- Handheld Vacuum Sealing System
- Vacuum Lids
- Silica Gel Packets (Helps keep moisture from building up in your mix)
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- 8-Quart Slow-Cooker
- Fat Separator (Clever kitchen device to help you decant bone broth)
- Flour Sack Towels
- pH Strips (Helps you check on the acidity of your vinegar)
More Kitchen Supplies with Discount Codes
- Mockmill Grain Mill (for making homemade flour)
Use my Mockmill affiliate link for a special one-time 5% discount on Mockmill Stone Grain Mill products, including the new Flake Lover's Flaker. (The Mockmill discount will appear when you checkout.)
Use promo code MARYSNST for a one-time 15% off Masontops and Breadsmart products on Amazon.com.
Amazon Shop and Shopping Guide
- Visit Mary’s Nest Amazon Shop
- Visit my Shopping Guide page
Get up to 15% off for stocking your Traditional Foods Pantry and equipping your Modern Pioneer Kitchen, including discounts from US Wellness Meats, Mockmill Grain Mill, Masontops, Cultures for Health, Survival Garden Seeds, Redmond Real Salt, Plan to Eat, and More!
**Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the MarysNest.com website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.