The benefits of growing your own vegetable garden
It’s the time of year to start planning for a vegetable garden!
Now that spring has finally arrived and the warmer weather is affecting our minds and transforming our moods, it’s best to take advantage of this surge of motivation to put our time, energy and dollars to good use. A vegetable garden is the perfect way to combine health and saving priorities.
Here are the benefits to a vegetable garden:
1. Eating fresh organic produce becomes affordable: By growing your own vegetables, you know their source and the conditions under which they are grown. Not only will you enjoy pesticide-free food for significantly less than at your local grocery store, you are now guaranteed an unprecedented level of freshness. Imagine enjoying crisp salads all summer. I salivate at the thought of it!
2. Healthy eating habits are at your fingertips: when fresh produce is literally steps from your kitchen, it becomes so much easier to make healthy choices when planning or cooking meals. The spring and summer seasons are those that facilitate the feeling of lightness – in body and spirit. Your body will thank you for filling up on carrots, snow peas, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers, among others.
3. You will save time and money: Forget frequent travel to the grocery store. By reducing the number of trips you make in a week, you will save on gas. Most importantly, you will save time!
Here are some tips to consider:
1. If you do not have the lawn space to accommodate a large vegetable garden, consider building a box and lining it with plastic.
2. Instead of fertilizer, use your own compost to nourish your garden.
3. Recycle grass clippings by spreading them out on top of the garden soil. These clippings will function as mulch, as a moisture barrier (keeping moisture in the soil and therefore allowing plants to grow better) and will help reduce weeds.
4. Get together with a few neighbours and plan who will grow what crop. If you each grow something different, you can then exchange the produce throughout the season. Sometimes one crop prospers so much at one time that it becomes difficult to keep up with the eating and waste occurs. By organizing an exchange, you benefit from variety and waste less, not to mention building a sense of community.
5. Consider getting a rain barrel to source the watering necessary for growing a garden. By using a rain barrel, your water bill will not be impacted as much as it would if your garden hose was the sole water source. Visit rainbarrel.ca for information on how and when to purchase an inexpensive rain barrel.
As always, remember to have fun and enjoy the process. Maybe even take this opportunity to involve your children. Teach them about the growing process and include them in the food preparation. It certainly is an excellent opportunity for bonding and perhaps even creating a family tradition.