Gardening and Summer Food – What’s in It for You?
Are you someone who closely marks the calendar in springtime, eagerly awaiting the day when you can put seeds in the ground to grow your vegetables? Gardening is a wonderful way to connect not only with our food, but also with the soil, air and water that nourishes it.
Many of us had our first gardening experience in Kindergarten, where we carefully placed a bean seed in a paper cup filled with soil, watching the first sprout grow into a tall plant. If it’s been years since you’ve put seeds in soil and this memory sparks a desire to grow things, this may be the year to do it again.
Gardening used to be seeds in the ground. Today there are many ways to grow seeds. If you are in an apartment, window boxes or vertical planters do the job.
You may decide to have a couple of raised beds built where you add quality soil and compost, keeping easier control over the space you use for your vegetable gardening. If you are lucky enough to have a large yard, you might cultivate the soil and plant several rows of vegetables.
Too Much Work?
If you are thinking this is too much physical work for you to do at this point in life, here are a few suggestions:
- Go small. Do a window box and put in your favorite herbs.
- Share your garden. Invite a friend or neighbor to garden with you and share the work.
- Hire a weeder/waterer. If all you want is the end result, hire out the labor.
Health Benefits for Do It Yourselfers
If you are willing to do the work yourself, here are just a few of the benefits:
If you are an avid gardener, you are bending, crawling, shoveling and pulling. It’s a great workout! Stretch before you start your work, gather your tools, including a knee pad and gloves, and protect your skin.
Soil Has Bacteria
Just like humans, soil contains its own microbiome, or community of bacteria. When you garden in your own soil, you expose yourself to native bacteria, a useful companion to your own microbiome.
Gardening Builds Community
Neighbors are always curious about what’s growing. Mine stop by with comments and questions. I love sharing my extra veggies with them.
Knowing Food Origins
Unlike food in the grocery store, you know exactly where your food is coming from. You can enhance the quality of your food by using organic soil, seeds, and weed control, so you are not consuming any toxins or chemical pesticides. See why organic matters.
Counteracting the Pandemic and Other Health Threats
Throughout the pandemic, we heard about the vulnerability of older people to the virus due to weakening immune systems. A weakened immune system is not a byproduct of age; it is the result of years of poor nutrition, exposure to toxins, stress and chronic illness.
That is why eating the highest quality vegetables is so vitally important to each of us, and growing your own makes sense.
Why Vegetables Matter
Vegetables contain a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Did you know that eating different color vegetables will give you different vitamins?
Minerals only come from food grown in organic soil. Antioxidants are disease fighting chemicals that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables. And did I mention fiber? The kind you find in vegetables is the kind that supports regular bowel movements.
Weight Management and Vegetables
If you are looking to manage your weight, you can literally eat a plateful of vegetables and take in fewer calories than a single cookie. If you gained weight from the stress of confinement and worry over the pandemic you may want to look at my 4 week online Post Covid Weight Loss program.
Vegetables Contribute to a Healthy Microbiome
Eating vegetables nourishes your gut microbiome. Research is showing that a healthy microbiome supports mood, immunity and metabolism, all vital pieces in your overall health.
Be Proud of Your Efforts
And last but not least, imagine the pleasure you will get when you see the fruits of your gardening appear on your plate in all its splendor. It’s worth it, isn’t it?
Do you have a garden? How small/large is it? What do you plant inside? Do you have a container garden? How do you use your space? What benefits have you seen from growing your veggies yourself? Please share your tips with the community!