The high season of the garden is upon us. Summer. It is the divine appearance of luscious fruits and vegetables that make summer absolute perfection. Just thinking of that classic watermelon scent is creating a smile on my lips.
For those who do not know me yet, this is my passion. Above is a picture of one section of my garden. It will always be at least a little different from year to year, but it will always be full of organic vegetables, ready for eating or for preserving. On my acre plot here in the lovely community of Cherry Valley, I grow a mixture of fruits and vegetables, as I also have fifty fruit trees to create a beautiful orchard full of cherries, peaches, plums, apples, persimmons, pomegranates, and a couple beautiful rows of concord grapes as well. I really herald diversity in our backyards so I want to share some important reasons that every single one of us should be growing our own foods.
Diversity of our foods leads us to better health
We can grow many different foods in our gardens. Peas and beans provide tons of fiber and protein. Peppers give us loads of vitamin C and a huge array of different flavors and colors. Tomatoes provide lycopene and Vitamins A and C for eye health and heart health. Zucchini give us precious electrolytes and minerals so that our electrical system functions well. The different colors and flavors we experience lead us to be more diversified in our tastes and in the health these foods provide for us.
Eliminate your pesticide use.
Chemical farming has created a host of health problems. We are learning that Round-Up has caused some real damage to our bodies, and look for future articles to explain this threat in great detail. We can completely control what we put on our crops, and we can eat vegetables that are full of nutrition and life straight from the backyard to the kitchen. There is no way of knowing how many chemicals were used in conventional crops, so the more you can grow yourself or buy from a local, trusted farmer, the better your personal health will be for you and your family. As you grow your own fresh food, you will learn what the best organic techniques are optimal for your ecosystem, in your own backyard!
Teach the value of fresh and delicious foods to your children.
Children love to participate in all facets of life. I help install school gardens in my local area, and the children are unbelievably excited every single time I come to the school. They are curious, and they LOVE to eat what they grow. This helps them get back to the earth and just enjoy being dirty! It also exposes them to soil microbes which will enhance their immune systems and strengthen their health. It also introduces them to new foods and also to new occurrences in nature. Children are very interested in insects, birds and butterflies, all an important part of the ecosystem of the garden.
Gardening is great exercise! It feeds your body and your mind.
Gardening provides the best opportunity to become healthy and trim at the same time. Our bodies are designed to “work” and the beautiful thing about gardening is that the results are so tangible. We can work towards a specific goal and so the work seems like fun! Also gardening stimulates our minds. I spend a good deal of time with farmers, and they are some of the smartest people I know. Educating yourself about each and every plant you grow is easy with the internet and it helps your mind expand and grow new neural pathways. The joy of eating in your garden also keeps your brain healthy and functioning well.
Gardening sparks creativity.
To me, the most fun thing about gardening is choosing what to grow. I am a master at “armchair gardening” and I hate to admit how many beautiful catalogs I receive in the mail. I read every one! I keep them in a pile for my father, the farmer who instilled a love of plants in me, so that when he comes to visit there is plenty of reading material. I LOVE to see all the different varieties and colors that are available as an heirloom garden. Above I am holding a big bunch of white turnips. It’s always so fun to see what works and what doesn’t. Gardening can be super creative with thousands of varieties and hundreds of different types of plants to choose from.
Now is the time to take your health back. It all starts in your backyard. I plant to dive deep into the importance of our own foods and our local foods to bring us back to the dynamic and healthy people we are meant to be. Get out there and find a farmer and find a nursery. Get going today!