Eating Healthy on a Budget: Backyard Gardens

 “GIVE me the splendid silent sun, with all his beams full-dazzling;
Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard;
Give me a field where the unmow’d grass grows;
Give me an arbor, give me the trellis’d grape;
Give me fresh corn and wheat–give me serene-moving animals,
teaching content…….”

Excerpt from the poem “Give Me The Splendid, Silent Sun”
by Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

 

There is nothing like the warmth of the golden sun, and with the warm weather, planting a garden can be ideal, even in the city. Growing a garden in your own backyard is the epitome of the agarian lifestyle that supports healthy living.

524238_399079770141180_106914954_nFor me, having a garden  is the connection to my grandfather’s spirit and the continuation of the family “farming” tradition of having the virtues of sustainability, cultivating homegrown produce, and making homemade dishes that grace the dinner table every night. 

Growing fruits and vegetables can seem overwhelming to most people, but it’s actually much simpler than it sounds. All you need is a few square feet of the great outdoors, a water source, and a little time and patience. Your grandparents did it, with those “Victory Gardens” during World War II and so can you. Even if you don’t have big backyard—or any yard for that matter—you can still grow food. Consider container gardening if you have a sunny balcony or patio or an indoor herb garden on a windowsill. You will be amazed at how many tomatoes or peppers can grow out of one pot. gardensIf you lack space in your urban environment you can find out if your city has a community garden, where you can tend to your very own plot.  Follow  the link www.CommunityGarden.org to locate a community garden near you.

Growing your own food will get you the nutrition you need as you enjoy the tastier produce you cultivate with your own hands.Fresh food is the best food!  Have you ever thought about how long has the food on your supermarket display shelf been sitting there in the store? Have you ever wondered how long did it take for the produce to travel from the farm to your table? There is  just no comparison,  in the flavor of  homegrown tomatoes with the taste of a store-bought ones. If the produce  tastes better, you will be more likely to eat the healthy, fresh produce that you know your body needs and craves.

Did you know that  having a garden can reduce your environmental impact? Backyard gardening helps the planet in many ways. If you grow your food organically, without pesticides and herbicides, you will spare the Earth the burden of unnecessary air and water pollution. You will also reduce the use of fossil fuels and the resulting pollution that comes from the transport of fresh produce from all over the world, in planes and refrigerated trucks, to your local supermarket. Many studies have shown that organically grown food has more minerals and nutrients that we need than food grown with synthetic pesticides. And there is a  good reason why many chefs use organic foods in their recipes—they taste better. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which eventually leads to the nourishment of the plant and, ultimately our bodies.

10514683_698024410246713_4397772866959103042_nGrowing your own food can also save you money. Your grocery bill will shrink as you begin to stock your pantry with fresh produce from your backyard. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars and month at the local grocery store on foods that don’t really nourish you, spend time in the garden, outside, exercising, learning to grow your own food. A packet of seeds can cost less than a dollar, and if you buy heirloom, non-hybrid species, you can save the seeds from the best producers, dry them, and use them next year. If you learn to dry, can, or otherwise preserve your summer or fall harvest, you will  be able to feed yourself and your family, even when the growing season is over.

Having a garden will also improve your physical health, in terms of exercising. Planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting add purposeful physical activity to your day. Be sure to lift heavy objects properly, and to stretch your tight muscles before and after strenuous activity. Gardening is also a way to relax, de-stress, center your mind, and get fresh air and sunshine.

Being a gardener builds  self esteem and gives you a sense of pride.  Watching a seed blossom under your care to become food on your plate at the table is gratifying. Growing your own food is one of the most purposeful and important things a human can do—it’s work that directly helps you thrive, nourish your family, and maintain  your health. Caring for your plants and waiting as they blossom and “fruit” before your eyes is an amazing sense of accomplishment!Gardens also help beautify your neighborhood and improves curb appeal. Besides being used to grow food, community gardens are also a great way to beautify a community, and to bring pride in ownership.

In growing your own garden, you will reap the delicious rewards in fresh meals all season long.

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