Ah, grocery shopping for one. How many of us have experienced the struggle? Anything prepackaged is frequently overly processed, and buying in bulk is difficult without having at least some of it go bad- especially if we’re buying organic. It seems like most bunches of fresh vegetables in the grocery store or farmers markets are catered to couples. Cue the oh so convenient and delicious frozen chicken nuggets and ovenbake pizzas (guilty).
I’ve always been a bulk shopper. I’m convinced I’m getting a “better deal” if I buy more, not to mention I’m not particularly fond of going to the grocery store. I always spend more than I need to, it’s somehow always busy, and tbh I’d rather be on my couch in my jammies. So naturally, I try to “stock up” for the week. Inevitably, I end up meeting up with friends for impromptu happy hours or eating out with my boyfriend, and the veggies I bought go bad.
So how can the busy singleton avoid all of the annoyances above? Start a garden.
The novelty of this didn’t really click for me until I started gardening. I realized that if I can take only what I need and keep the rest on the plant, it won’t go bad because it’s living…lightbulb! For me that is one of the best things about gardening.
So what if you are producing faster than you can eat? No problemo. I have found that for the short term, my organic produce stores fabulously in a Ziploc bag with a little bit of water. I put the unwashed veggies in the bag, drizzle some water, seal it and toss it in my hands a few times to spread the water around. Store it in the fridge and they’ll still be crisp when you’re ready to use them. Certain vegetables also freeze very well.
So now that I’ve hopefully convinced you to try gardening, lets talk vegetable selection. The ultimate bang for your buck vegetable to grow? Lettuce. It is super low maintenance, only needs 4 or so hours of sunlight a day, and it grows back after you harvest it! You know those organic plastic tubs of lettuce that are 5 bucks a pop and last like 2 days? No more! It’s moneysaving for you, and much better for the environment. #winning. Simply make sure to not remove the crown when you’re harvesting and you’ll have salad greens that keep on giving. The same goes for herbs.
Another great, prolific crop to grow is peppers. They are compact and grow great in containers for all of you apartment and condo urbanites. Chilies and hot peppers are fantastic and so delicious diced up finely as a garnish. I’m a sucker for jalapeno poppers, but being gluten free I never find ones that I can eat anywhere. So I grow and make my own! Recipe to come soon.
Finally, tomatoes are another great and container friendly vegetable that produces well. Look for determinate dwarf varieties like the Tiny Tim cherry tomato if you’re pressed for space. Just make sure your plant gets 8+ hours of direct sun a day. If you have the space, go indeterminate and enjoy having tomatoes ripen until weather, pests, or removal kills the plant.
Let’s not waste any more money on food or unnecessary time at the grocery store (couch potatoes unite). I encourage you all to try to at least grow some lettuce. When you taste those tender leaves, I bet you’ll be hooked!