Growing your food

There are a lot of good reasons for growing fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits. Being a stay at home mom, you might want to consider planting and growing some of your own food as a way of shaving money from your grocery bill. The cost of fresh produce at the grocery store is outrageous and getting higher all the time. So, it’s possible to make substantial savings by growing some of your own.

Besides that, the health benefits of gardening are wonderful! Fresh air, exercise, eating food that isn’t laden with toxic herbicides and pesticides and that is fresh from the garden so that it retains all of its natural vitamins and good nutrients. All of these are great reasons to plant a garden.

But there are even more reasons. Gardening is good for your health and your budget; and it’s a great way to exercise your creativity, too! The satisfaction that comes from gardening is enormous. If you’ve never prepared a garden plot, planted the seeds or seedling plants, nurtured and cultivated them to maturity and then reaped the harvest of delicious, fresh food as the fruits of your labors---you’re in for a treat!

Gardening is an activity that is good for the entire family, something you can get your children involved in, too. The benefits of fresh air and exercise, plus the gratification of working toward a goal together, is equally beneficial to children. It’s also educational for them because it helps them learn about nature and growing things.

A garden doesn’t require a great deal of space. If you have just a small area outside that can be used, you’ll be amazed at how much food it can yield. More and more vegetables are being developed that are bred to produce maximum yields in a minimum of space. If space is at a premium for you, look for those varieties. For example, if you want to grow zucchini, there are “bush” varieties that remain compact instead of vining, thus taking up less room in the garden.

Ditto for squash, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and much more. There are also many “dwarf” kinds of veggies to choose from that produce full size produce from small plants. Consider intensive gardening. This is a method of gardening ideally suited for small spaces because it makes the most of every square foot of soil. Many books are available on the subject of intensive gardening, and gardening in general. Check your local library, or stop by the county extension office for free booklets on gardening. Of course, there are also many, many websites online chock full of useful information about gardening.

When you plan and design your garden, try and incorporate even a small amount of space just for your children to plant. Kids of all ages thrill to the pleasure of choosing what they want to grow in “their” spot and then planting it, tending it and watching it grow. One popular item for kids gardening is the pumpkin. It’s fun for them to grow jack-o-lanterns and there are varieties that don’t vine and ramble, so they can be grown in a small plot of ground. It’s also nice to have kids plant at least one thing that matures quickly, like radishes, which furnish almost instant results so that kids can see how the growing process works in a short time after planting.

If you live in an apartment or some place where it isn’t feasible to have an outdoor garden, you can still experience many of the benefits of growing things indoors. You might want to have an indoor herb garden, for instance. Many herbs such as chives, rosemary, thyme, parsley and basil, to name just a few, can be successfully grown on a kitchen windowsill. Fresh herbs can add much to a recipe and you’ll enjoy having them at hand.

The children can participate in indoor gardening, too. Any kind of gardening is a fun and educational experience for adults and children alike! So, whether you garden indoors or out---get growing!