Family Gardening — Growing Your Own Food
There are plenty of reasons to grow your own food. The sweetest might be the satisfaction you gain from planning, working, and harvesting your own garden. Other benefits include a total control over the organic and healthy nature of the food you feed your family. In fact, kids often eat what they grow so including your children in the gardening process not only teaches them life skills; it helps decrease the arguing over what they eat. That's a big win when it comes to boosting your kid's health.
Why Grow Your Own Food?
Save Money on Groceries: One of the biggest reasons people grow their own food is to save money on groceries. A small container garden can produce hundreds of dollars worth of food in a year. A small in-ground garden has the potential to produce enough fresh produce for daily consumption and for preserving for later.
Gain Health: Another reason to grow your own food is to reduce the effects that processed foods have on your health. Fresh fruits and vegetables have more nutrition than do vegetables that are canned or overly cooked. Other healthy reasons to grow your own garden is to avoid GMO's and pesticides. An organic garden is easy to set up and you gain health by growing your own food.
The Love of Cooking: People who love to cook grow their own ingredients. A cook's garden gives you access to the freshest fruits, veggies, and herbs. In addition, fresh foods taste better than do those store-bought foods that are picked green and then transported to the market. A tomato that is home-grown is sweet, tangy, and full of vitamins. One that is picked green and that ripens in the store is often bland and acidic.
What Should You Grow?
The best advice is to grow the types of vegetables that you use the most. You want to make sure that what you grow will thrive where you live. You can check your garden zone for plant tolerance at the National Gardening Association. Their tool is easy to use and you just have to enter your zip code. They also have a link to what grows well in your area for the entire year. Below are common types of home gardens:
Container Gardens: These are perfect for small spaces and for situations when you are not sure if your soil is safe for growing food. There are some amazingly productive container gardens. Some use recycled tin cans and others use large ceramic pots. The trick to growing a container garden is matching the container to the root size of the plants. Plants with little root zones, such as onions, lettuce, and some herbs grow perfectly in small pots. Tomatoes and peppers need more space so that their roots can stretch out fully. A tomato grows best in about 15-gallons of soil.
Cutting Gardens: These are larger gardens with rows of many different greens such as Bok Choy, chard, spinach, kale, collard greens, lettuces, and herbs such as cilantro or basil. The idea is that you harvest a little from each plant instead of harvesting the entire plant. In so doing you gather ingredients such as you would use in this Quinoa Salad or this Sizzling Steak Fajita Wrap. In the grocery store you by a head of Bok Choy, but in a cutting garden, you harvest a few leaves from many Bok Choy plants so that those plants continue to give you fresh greens all season long.
Theme Gardens: These are gardens that you grow around a central theme. A good example of this would be a pizza garden. In a pizza garden, you would grow tomatoes, onions, peppers, oregano and ingredients to make a pizza, such as this Chicken Garlic Pizza on a Cauliflower Crust. Other examples include Halloween gardens, which are full of pumpkins and gourds. A Thanksgiving garden might include yams, potatoes, green beans, onions, garlic, carrots, and other ingredients that help make your Thanksgiving meal a special treat. Just pick an event and enjoy your seasonal harvest.
There are a ton of ideas for gardening and many reasons why people pick up gardening as part of their goal to increase health and lose weight. Another helpful tool for losing weight and gaining health is the Metabolic Research Center. We offer tons of support, healthy menu options, and a lot of encouragement.
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