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August Garden Harvest and a Month Without Grocery Shopping

 Cucumbers and Basil The Prudent Homemaker

My freezers are packed full of frozen fruit from both our garden and from deals I found earlier this year. There's some meat in there, somewhere behind all the peaches, blackberries, figs, strawberries, and blueberries. There's lemon juice from our lemon trees too.

The garden has started producing Armenian cucumbers. I'm hoping for enough to can pickles this year. I planted loads of them in several places in the garden and the vines have reached the tops of my five-foot trellises and started producing female flowers.

We have Swiss chard, red noodle beans, and green onions in the garden.

Yellow Pear Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

The tomato plants are still producing (especially the Yellow Pear tomatoes), though they are winding down because of the heat (they are not longer producing flowers).

I've got butternut squash growing and will have a few to pick this month.

I have 5 zucchini plants. None are producing for me at the moment, but the overcast days in July led to cooler temperatures and I can see a combination of male and female flowers at the base of them. Hopefully, they'll be open on the same days to be pollinated and we'll have some zucchini too!

Bartlett Pears on Tree The Prudent Homemaker 

The Bartlett pears are ripe this month. There aren't many, as the trees have never grown very large in 10 years, but we'll still have a decent number.

The table grapes are ripe (the birds have gotten a number of them though). We'll have some to eat (they have seeds) and some to juice. When they're all done, I'll pick the leaves to cook. They have a lemony flavor and are delicious in all sorts of recipes. I'll stuff some this month too.

Bucket of Zinnias and Sunflowers

The zinnias I planted in the backyard are opening! I know they're late but I'm happy to have them! I have a few small sunflowers too (about the same size as the zinnias).

I've got a decently stocked pantry

And I'm not planning to go shopping at all during the month of August for food or toiletries.

We're having a lower income month along with increased expenses. We're adding life insurance to our bills this month and in September we hope to add some online college classes for my eldest, which will mean tuition and book expenses. These will mean increased expenses every month, so hopefully, our income will increase to cover the difference. 

With an irregular income, I never know what our income will be. I try to plan a month ahead for expenses whenever possible, but that isn't always possible. This month, I'm waiting to see what else will come in. Our first priorities are our mortgage, utilities, and insurance. Should anything come in past that, I'll save it to put toward's September's bills.

Whether or not I'll go shopping in September is yet to be seen. If I do, it is certainly to be a reduced amount. We were very blessed last year to make more money and be able to increase our grocery budget. This year, our income has been lower, and if it continues as it has been, we will make 1/3 of what we made last year (Last year was a blessing! We were able to repair several things and purchase some needed furniture. Before that, things had been much lower, like this year, for the 8 previous years). Consequently, it's possible that I'll go back to a $100 a month budget. I know we can do it, as we have in past years where we've made this amount, and we managed to build our food storage while doing so. It's been nice to have had the money to buy other things we like to eat, including more meat and cheese, but we can certainly eat more soups, oats, rice, and beans going forward. I'm collecting lettuce seeds from the garden this week and I look forward to planting them in my fall garden along with other seeds I have on hand. I'm feeling really grateful that when our income was higher last year, I bought a couple of years' worth of seeds, and that I'm growing almost all open-pollinated seeds, which allows me to collect seeds from my garden to plant every year.

Here's some of what I'll have on the menu this month:




Oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, and almonds

Crepes (I still have some eggs and I'll use powdered milk)

Whole wheat waffles with fruit from the freezer

Smoothies and toast with cinnamon sugar 

Bread and jam (I've got homemade strawberry, apricot, and fig jams, plus apple butter on my pantry shelves)


Summer Pasta Salad The Prudent Homemaker



Black beans and rice with tomatoes and corn

White bean dip with pita bread, cucumbers, and tomatoes (produce from the garden)

Macaroni and cheese with sliced tomatoes (on the side!) and cucumbers in vinegar

Tomato Basil Sandwiches

Pasta Salad


Fig Tarts The Prudent Homemaker




Fig Tarts


Peach Pie Popsicles







Black Bean Burgers with Steak Sauce and tomatoes from the garden

Turkey Curry over basmati rice with peas and chapatis

Pork Roast with fig sauce and mashed potatoes, Swiss chard, and butternut squash

Baked Potatoes with a corn and tomato salad

Stir fry with pork or turkey and vegetables from the garden and bean sprouts

Pinto beans and rice with onions and tomatoes

Spaghetti with red noodle beans

Stuffed grape leaves with homemade pita bread

Ham with Rosemary potatoes and red noodle beans

Ham sandwiches with tomatoes from the garden and home-canned dill pickles



If you're living from your pantry this month, check out my two weeks' worth of pantry meals here.

If you need more bean recipes, check out my post on How to Eat Beans Every Night.

If you're looking for a frugal summer menu, check out a month's worth of summer meals here.


Are you planning to go shopping in August? What deals will you be looking to purchase?


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Tagged in: Grocery Shopping


  • Nancy in Eastern WA August 02, 2017

    Mable: That is great information - I did not know that, and I have gardened for over 40 years. I don't get as hot as Brandy, so don't usually have an issue with pollination. Always good to learn something new about my favorite hobby.

  • Marivene August 03, 2017

    Mable, that will only work if you are within the same genus of squash, & there are four separate geni. The male flower from a butternut squash would not pollinate a zucchini, but the male flower from a yellow crookneck would, & so would the male flower from an acorn squash, since zucchini, yellow crookneck & acorn squash are all "Pepi ".

  • Sue August 05, 2017

    Yes, be careful with your cross-pollination! Too many times I have purchased cucumbers that had an "illicit encounter" with zucchinis and the result is cucumbers that are spongy, dry, and tasteless!

  • Rhonda A. August 01, 2017

    Thank you so much for sharing this info with us, Brandy. I am so interested in how one can feed their family on a very minimal budget. Such amazing ideas you've shared today! No one is going hungry at your house, that's for sure!!!

    I am definitely shopping this month. Since I did not put in a garden, nor is it as evolved as yours even when we have one, I am on the hunt for some good seasonal produce deals. I have already special ordered 125lbs of peaches, which will come in mid-August. They are 2nds, but work great for canning, making jam, and this year I'm going to try making peach syrup. I want to buy a bushel or half bushel of green beans to blanch and freeze for winter. Corn is just starting, so I hope to buy a dozen ears each week or two. We like to cook up all the cobs at once, then cut the kernels off the leftover to freeze for winter use. It won't meet all our winter needs, but it's a good start.

    I currently have a list of things we need at Costco, like soap, shampoo, fabric softener, meds/vitamines, lady products, and hot dogs (Costco tends to sell the kind my family likes only in spring/summer, so we buy up a small stash for fall/winter use). I watch for sales on these items when I go in, then stock up. I will continue to watch the loss leader sales as well, for things that my family likes to eat and adds variety to our pantry options. Our pantry is currently well stocked, otherwise, with most of the basics!

  • Rhonda A. August 01, 2017

    I have to correct something I typed. My brain is just not functioning today...even my mom is laughing at me with some of the things I have done today (left the house without my keys to the car, put the keys in the sink when I got home and so many more stupid stuff). Anyways, I ordered 75lbs of peaches, not 125lb, which will cost me $39 total.

  • Donna August 01, 2017

    My goal for August is to go through the pantry and use up what is near the expiration dates. I hope to build up the pantry for one month's meals, using your two week pantry menus. Hoping to have a simpler, more frugal lifestyle and am implementing some changes to accomplish that. I so admire you Brandy; wish I had a 1/10th of your knowledge and skills! God bless you and your family.

  • Melissa August 01, 2017

    I had to laugh about your comment for tomatoes on the side for mac & cheese. My grandma made homemade mac and cheese with tomato sauce in it. Pasta and tomatoes with slices of cheddar cheese on top. It was my favorite recipe she made.

    How old is your oldest daughter, if you don't mind me asking? I'm thinking of homeschooling high school for my oldest, so it's always interesting to learn how others handle it.

  • She's 15. You can see what we use for homeschooling each grade under the homeschool tag at the top of the page.

  • Ja August 01, 2017

    You are inspiring! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jessica August 01, 2017

    I'm always so impressed with you! Been following your blog for years and rarely comment but read weekly :) Can you share your Dolma recipe, please? I've been wanting to make some.

  • I rarely make them so I have to search for a recipe. I've had so many different styles and I liked them all: Lebanese, Kurdish, and Greek. The Lebanese were my favorite; a Lebanese family made them for me in France and I loved them. I made the Kurdish ones with a Kurdish girl in Switzerland, and I kind of remember her recipe, but it was spiced differently. The Greek ones are good but a totally different flavor from the other two. I have enough grape leaves to make them all; I just have to see what ingredients I have to make them and go with a recipe that is closest to that.

  • Jessica August 01, 2017

    Neat! I prefer Lebanese as well, I am hoping to make them vegan.

  • Athanasia August 01, 2017

    Jessica, I don't know of Lebanese but the Greek would be vegan. Normally they are made with just rice, spices, herbs, onions and olive oil and grape leaves. If you want to serve them with the lemon egg sauce you would need to find a substitute there or if you serve with yogurt, use a vegan yogurt.

    They make a nice cold meal for the summer. My recipe makes at least 60 and we serve them on top of salad with olives and feta cheese, onion and tomato.

  • Cindy in the South August 01, 2017

    Do you have a recipe for the fig tarts? I have many frozen figs from my late mother's tree. Figs and mulberries are the two fruits I have stored in my little freezer above the refrigerator. I have a grocery budget of $25.00 for the month ( for myself only), unless I see something that is on sale at an exceptional price, and that I will use, then I will buy it. I, too, plan on eating a lot of soups, bean burritos (from your recipe), and rice this month. I have plenty of canned vegetables also. I have huge medical bills for my youngest child, so that is why I need to conserve. I look at it as a challenge, instead of something to stress over. I cut way back on cheese and meat when I am needing to conserve my money. I tend to use only parm. cheese when I need to cut back on cheese. I am already conservative with meat anyway, but I probably will not buy any meat until before Thanksgiving, unless I find a sale of canned tuna fish or fresh chicken at .39 cents a lb. Chicken has gone up around here. I used to be able to find chicken at .39 lb very easily, but now .59 or .69 a lb is the price for it. I am talking about dark meat only. I think I am fairly well stocked with rice, beans, canned vegetables for the next six months, if I am careful. I consult your meal recipes frequently, and make my own version, depending on what I have available in my house. My favorite are the bean burrito (I am like your kids, I do not like my beans refried) and taco soup recipe, as well as your chicken enchilada recipe. I also like your tomato soups recipe. I wish many, many blessings to you and your family.

  • The Prudent Homemaker August 01, 2017

    I will be sharing a recipe soon, but it is basically a one-crust pie and then figs and sugar like you would for a peach pie. My children said this is their favorite way to eat figs.

  • Becky August 01, 2017

    Our new house has a fig tree, which I have never had before, so I am also waiting for a recipe. I'm just not sure how to use them. Thanks!

  • Cindy in the South August 02, 2017

    I have cooked my frozen figs with a ham. I will also use blackstrap molasses to coat the ham to add iron content (or you could use honey, or cane syrup), also coated the figs, and let the figs cook with the ham. It gives them a nice flavor. Brandy also has a recipe in her recipe list for her fig sauce she uses with pork tenderloin, I think.

  • Amie August 04, 2017

    I have a mulberry tree and have plenty in my freezer also. It's my daughter's favorite jam. She loves them in cream of wheat or muffins.

  • Mandy August 01, 2017

    I was able to purchase 1 dozen eggs, 2 bags of apples, and 1 large bunch of bananas yesterday. That is the first shopping I have done, by force, in 3 weeks.
    I have lots of green tomatoes in the garden that will ripen over the next few weeks. I harvested lots of peas before two bad storms destroyed the plants (they are currently in the freezer). I have loads of green onions, basil, parsley, turnip greens (the turnips are not ready but I have LOTS of greens, I am just careful not to pick to much from one plant). My Bartlett pear tree has given me 2 pears and 2 more are not quite ready :) My Asian pear has lots of little pears, but they are not ready yet.

  • Juls Owings August 01, 2017

    Brandy when we were looking for college books we read this article. Not sure how up to date it is but my grandson said it helped .

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