Friday, July 11, 2014

Food: Grow It Yourself

It goes without saying that, no matter where you fall on the dietary preference spectrum, most of us prefer naturally-grown food. Put simply, organic and natural foods do right not only by humans, but our environment.

But here's the rub; nowadays, grocery stores are so full of different products, with different labels bearing different criteria, that become a challenge to figure out what's what. Likewise, the costs associated with products dubbed “natural” and “organic” is rising.

So, is there a way to know exactly what you’re getting and not break the bank getting it? Yep. It’s called growing your own garden.

Now, vegetable gardening seems like a lot of work to many folks. But, before you stop reading this article because it seems too complicated to grow your own food, know this – A to Z, having your own garden can be surprisingly easy. Let’s keep it simple by using the “5 Ws…”

Well, you of course! No expert master gardeners required to get this off the ground. Your whole family can join the bandwagon and this can be a one big project.

Well, since gardens are customizable, where won't be a problem. Your garden can be in your backyard, front yard, along the side, wherever you feel accessible and comfortable for it to be because that's the purpose of all this – accessibility. While selecting this space, take stock of sunlight. Ask yourself, “will there be enough sunlight?” This is crucial. Your vegetables love sunlight. They need six hours of full sun every day. Also, avoid planting near trees. Not only do they block that precious sunlight, but they will also sap the nutrients needed for your plants.

The best time to plant will depend wherever you are. Still, this is a trick for a newcomer. Thanks to technology, there are apps that are able to tell you what to plant at a certain time, based on your region. For example, you can try the When to Plant app.

Here’s the big one. Some people research for months on what they want to plant based on eating habits, others just go to the garden center and pick out whatever they’re into at the time. Either method works, just as long as you choose plants that will work on your climate, your kind of soil and the amount of sunlight needed and available. Your garden center and other experts can definitely help you out. 

Oh, there are so many reasons why! For one, when you grow your own food, you get peace of mind because you know it's safe. It’s environmentally-friendly because you’re not leaning on pesticides and harmful chemicals. And, it’s cheaper than the produce that you can get from supermarkets!

Beyond the obvious, it’s important to note that many folks consider gardening to hold therapeutic properties. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, “the therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented since ancient times. In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the 'Father of American Psychiatry,' was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals.”

And, with the versatility of your personal garden, you have the opportunity to make it however you’d like!

With that being said, we’d love to hear what the popular items are in your garden! Leave us a comment & happy gardening!