There was a time when all families grew their food or purchased fresh food from neighboring farms.
The barter system was alive and well. Trading the yields of their gardens ensured everyone had a healthy variety of fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy.
Today, the modern family has two working parents and children with an educational and social calendar that leaves limited time. We buy our food from mega-grocery chains or whole food stores who specialize in organic produce. The taste of the produce does not compare to the taste of fresh produce from the garden. We worry about the pesticides and chemicals that are used to treat the food so that it appears to be “fresh” even after days on the road getting it from the manufacturer to the grocer. Foods purchased in organic stores are not grown without chemicals. They are grown with restrictions on certain pesticides and certain fertilizers which are defined by the USDA. Different countries have different regulations.
There are other ways that gardening is good for us. They include, but are not limited to the following:
- Mental stimulation
- Gardening is not 100% teachable from books. There are many ways to enhance your garden, and ways to limit your harvest. As you grow your vegetables, you are learning. The experience opens your mind to the wonders of nature.
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin D is an important supplement for our health. It is found in limited foods. But, nature took care of that too. Being bathed in the sun will give you all the Vitamin D you need. (of course, wear sunscreen to protect the skin from harm.
- Physical exercise
- Whether you are putting in a raised garden, backyard garden, or a patio garden, there is a certain amount of labor required. Gardening will get you moving, bending, stretching, and walking.
- It has been proven that sunlight and fresh air has a direct and positive impact on the brain. Getting outside, staying active, and then enjoying the benefits of your work is a great way to fight depression.
Note: While it is not a physical or mental benefit as such, home-gardeners tell us that they like the idea of growing their food which protects the ecological balance of the land.
If you are new to gardening, you need to know that many vegetables harvest more than once per season. For example, tomatoes will continue to produce even after the first batch are picked. The same is true for lettuce, snap beans, and many other plants. It is important to know this information to determine how much produce you will get and how much you really need.
Getting started – What Do You Need?
If you are planting your garden the ground, you will need the garden bed to be broken and grass, weeds, and debris removed. If you are planting in a raised garden, you will build boxes that are off the ground and filled with soil and designed to allow water to drain.
We are going to explain what you need for a patio garden. A patio garden is a good choice for a new gardener who needs food for a small family.
- Several planting pots that are 6” deep and wide across the top. A few plants (like lettuce) needs a larger pot. That pot needs to be 10” deep and wide enough that you can plant your food 3 inches apart.
- Gardening hand tools and gardening gloves
- A large watering can
- Potting soil
It is important to note that your garden will only be as good as your seeds. People who buy cheap seeds at their department store do not know what they are buying. First, you do not know if the seeds are fresh or left over from last year. There are no experts to help you understand how to plant them or if they are difficult to grow.
Buying your seeds from an industry leader is smarter. The seeds are guaranteed fresh. There are professionals who will explain if the seeds will grow well in your area. Click here https://www.myseedneeds.com/collections/seed-collections for a professional seed vendor. Your seeds can be ordered online and shipped right to your door.
Herbs are easy to grow, right in your kitchen window. Fresh herbs are the perfect complement to your fresh vegetables, fruits, and berries. Grow them right in your kitchen and you will have a great addition to salads, sauces, and in pasta or soups. Just like with veggies, you don’t know what you are missing, until you have tried them freshly grown.
Go to your app store and look for free gardening apps. There are many free apps that will help you. Some features you can look for are:
- Reminder for watering your garden
- Reminder when it is time to get some plants out of direct sunlight
- Keeping up with when you planted and when you can expect to harvest
- Plant identifiers (in case a plant comes up in your garden that shouldn’t have)
- Insect or damage identifier
Some of our favorite apps include:
- Grow It!!
- Balcony Garden Web
A Gift For Your Kids
Teaching your children about gardening is an awesome gift. They learn that hard work pays off. They learn that the easy way is not always the best way and they can taste the difference. Gardening allows you an opportunity to show your children that if we take care of our planet, it will take care of us.
Your children will learn a skill that will serve them well and they can pass that skill down to their children. Your children will grow up understanding the difference in the real and healthy foods they know and love and prepackaged, processed, and canned foods that they get from the store. You will see the difference in them right away. They consume vitamins and minerals from the food they eat, and they grow a sense of pride that they had a part in growing the food. Because of that contribution, the children will be open to trying new foods.
Growing your own food from seed is good for the entire family. Now is the time to begin. Fill your kitchen with freshly grown foods and be proud of your success.