Tired of hunting down the freshest ingredients for your meals? Keep them on tab at your house by growing them yourself!
As more and more people are trying to turn their diet a little more organic, gardening is gaining popularity as a way to do just that. The good news is that you don’t have to have a large level backyard to have a garden.
Many people are planting edible plants in flower pots on their patios or windowsills and in raised boxes of all sizes in their yard. The main reason people plant an edible garden is to provide food for their family while saving money, but there are multiple reasons to grow your food. And it’s not all that difficult.
Here are the top reasons for a home garden and some tips to get you started.
Like buying local, organic produce? There’s nothing more local or organic than food grown in your own backyard. You’ll know exactly what’s gone into your food and its exact origin. Besides providing food and saving money, here are more reasons to garden.
#1: Organic food often tastes better and has more nutritional valuethan food grown on depleted soil filled with chemical fertilizers and sprayed with synthetic pesticides. Homegrown food will also be safer for you and your family. Many pesticides have been linked to cancer and other diseases. These pesticides are made to kill living organisms and can harm humans as well. A home garden keeps chemicals out of your food, out of the soil, and out of your water supply, protecting your family’s health and future generations.
#2: Keeping a garden is a great way to get your recommended amount of daily exercise. Gardening for 45 minutes can burn as many calories as 30 minutes of aerobics. The bending, lifting, squatting, and digging get your heart pumping.
#3: Gardening is a great hobby to take up. It’s a healthy way to manage stress. Being out in the fresh air and soaking up a little vitamin D will improve anyone’s health. Teach your children or grandchildren to garden and they’ll not only learn a valuable skill, but they’ll learn important lessons about where food really comes from. (It doesn’t magically appear at the supermarket.)
Like the idea but don’t know how to start? Start small. Each year, add and improve. To start, you’ll need good, rich soil that gets plenty of sunlight. Either buy gardening soil to put in your pots or raised beds or till an area of your yard and test the quality of your soil with a home test kit. This allows you to learn the pH levels and types of nutrients in your soil. Depending on the levels, you may need to add organic fertilizers for best results. During the year, add compost (old leaves, grass, manure, or food scraps) to your soil for nutrients.
It’s now time to choose your plants. Choose plants that will grow best in your climate zone, in the type of soil you have, and in the amount of sunlight you have to work with. You can either buy seedlings (young plants with few or no blooms) or start with seeds. Plant your garden in rows with space between each plant (check each plant’s spacing recommendations so all your plants will get enough sunlight and moisture).
For beginner gardeners, good options to start with include tomatoes, pole beans, zucchini, snow peas, and Swiss chard. Cherry tomatoes, strawberries, and herbs grow well in flower pots.
As your plants grow, they’ll need plenty of water. The best time to water your garden is in the morning while it’s still cool. This helps your plants stay hydrated in the heat of the day. Water at the root of the plant instead of the leaves. Rather than watering everyday, try watering heavily a couple times a week.
To make sure your plants get all the nutrients possible, weed your garden, and do it by hand. If you hate the weeding process, use organic mulch between your plants to keep weeds from growing.
New to gardening? Keep this extra tip in mind. Your plants produce more food when harvested. Therefore, once your plants begin producing, pick the ripe food as often as possible for maximum results. Harvest more than your family can eat? Freeze or can the extra food so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long!
If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.
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