The Veggie Garden: Benefits Beyond Healthy Eating
Our family has grown a vegetable garden every summer for the past five years. The first year, we were new parents with a one-year-old veggie loving little boy. At the grocery store we were spending more and more to feed his growing appetite, trying to buy organic as much as we could afford. At that point we knew we wanted to try our hands at growing some of our own food! What started out with a few tomato plants has grown into a bountiful garden with over twenty types of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Through the years, we have added raised planters, vertical lattice for plants that vine, researched new varieties of each plant and learned new methods through trial and error.
At this time of year, when we are harvesting the most, we also start planning for the next year. To save money, we have learned to buy the supplies we need when the stores are clearing out gardening items and making room for back to school! Seed packets quickly reduce by 90% off; toss them in the freezer and they are great the next year. Other supplies we have found great deals on at this time of year are seed starting kits, plant food, netting and fences, tools, etc.
The benefits of gardening go so far beyond enhancing our diet. Spending time working together as a family has such a positive impact. The body benefits from the physical labor and getting our hands into the dirt has a special way of clearing the mind.
My husband gets home from work on summer evenings; the first thing he does is head out to the backyard to check on the progress. For myself, during the day it is so easy to go out back while the kids are playing outside and pick vegetables for lunch and dinner that day. Even our son helps harvest many of the vegetables and fruits.. usually just so he can snack on them!
While there is some initial money spent investing in the setup, each year we are spending less to get it going and maintain. I love calculating out how much money we saved on groceries each time we get a larger harvest! It doesn’t need to be complicated to be a helpful and enjoyable activity for your family. Even if you don’t have a backyard, there is so much you can do with container gardening!
What experiences has your family had with gardening? Please share in the comments below!