We are in the heat of the summer months – plenty of daylight, warm weather, and tasty summer produce. There are tons of ways to get the necessary ingredients for your scrumptious Sizzling Superfood Salads: grocery stores, fruit and veggie stands, or farmer’s markets (more on that next month!). But, have you ever considered growing your own? Gardening is a fun summer activity and a great way to spend time with friends and family. Soak up the sun and take a deep breath of fresh air while planting your own cooking ingredients. Everything from vegetables, herbs, spices, and fruits can be planted right in your backyard! Gardening can even be as simple as planting herbs in a pot and watching them grown from your windowsill. Read below to discover the many reasons why gardening is a delicious, nutritious, and sustainable way that will add a boost of flavor your summer meals.
- Ripe and fresh ingredients: with produce, herbs, and spices right in your backyard, you are guaranteed the freshest ingredients. Keep tabs on what is planted and harvest it right when it’s ripe – how convenient!
- Sustainable eating: gardening is as local as local shopping can get. Growing your own produce saves you trips to the grocery store, reduces additional food shipping, is cost efficient, plant based, and requires less natural resources – all of which are sustainable actions.
- Seasonal eating: focus on foods that flourish during specific seasons. There is a reason why produce is recommended based on the season – it tastes the best during those seasonal time periods.
- Cost efficient: seed packets are typically inexpensive and can be saved and reused from year to year. You can have a garden full of produce, without having to run to the store and spend additional money. And – you have more seeds to plant next time around. It’s a win win.
- Appreciation for food: when we grow our own food, we tend to appreciate it more. We see the full process and understand the time and care that produce needs to thrive and grow to become tasty. It is also a wonderful way to teach children where food comes from. If you have a garden full of fresh fruits and veggies, you will most likely incorporate those items into your meals more often!
Not sure where to start? Here are some tips to start your very own garden:
- Choose the location: pick a nice sunny area that is easily accessible so your garden can be watered. It is recommended that the site get at least six hours of sunlight each day.
- Map it out: calculate the space available before buying seeds or plants. Create a garden map and choose where to plant each item. Some plants may require more sun, shade, or space to grow.
- Test the soil: there are kits that can help assess your gardening soil to see what it is lacking and test the soil quality.
- Get the proper tools: take some time to research the necessary tools needed to make your garden thrive. Shovels, a hose, fertilizer, or other equipment may be needed to keep your garden fresh and healthy.
Start small: your first garden doesn’t have to be super extravagant. A simple garden of a few windowsill pots of herbs may be a good place to start, learn, and appreciate the freshness of home grown food.