I have never been much of a gardener even though my parents had a pretty big garden when I was growing up. I truly regret not learning from their expertise. I just never really took an interest in the garden as a kid. As an adult, I tried gardening and found that keeping up with the weeds was very difficult and I always produced too much food, so a lot of it seemed to go to waste. So, I stopped gardening.
A couple years back I decided to give it a try again. Being a plant-based eater (which I never was when I tried to garden before) I figured I would be more enthused about gardening with my new love of everything green, red, yellow, orange, and purple. Plus I wanted to learn how to can my own tomato soup with chemical free tomatoes, so I was doubly inspired. I am so glad I gave gardening another try. If you would like to check out my Mom’s wonderful tomato soup recipe CLICK HERE.
An early crop of lettuces and peas
There are so many great reasons to try gardening:
Getting your hands dirty is healthy! We have been ingrained to think dirt is bad, but when you play in the dirt you expose your body to microbes that helps to boost your immunity, leading to overall better health. I read once that kids who aren’t allowed to play in the dirt are much more likely to be sickly adults. I am so glad I was allowed to play in the dirt as a kid. I think it has led to my overall good health as an older adult. It’s never too late to play in the dirt. Start by just picking it up and experiencing how it feels and how it smells. The smell of fresh soil is so wonderful. It does a body good to get dirty!
Gardening gives you exercise. As I prepared my garden for planting this past weekend, it was hard work for my legs, arms, and shoulders. I will admit I was a little sore, but it was a good kind of sore. I felt muscles I don’t exercise when walking my dog. You do all sorts of bending and stooping while gardening which leads to a healthier and stronger body. If you’re like me and you don’t like to go to the gym for a workout, working in the garden is a perfect solution. Plus, when you are in the garden you are getting a boost of Vitamin D from the best source — our wonderful sun!
Broccoli and cauliflower
You get free food! Yes, I know that seeds and seedlings cost money up front, but in the long run you get so much more from veggies by gardening. Last year, we planted 9 tomato plants which provided about 2 dozen jars of soup for me and my mom. I also got about 5-6 quart Ziplocks of sauce. It would have been very expensive to purchase that many tomatoes for all we canned and froze last year. Due to the pandemic, our food supply seems to be in jeopardy with what I have heard from my trusted news sources. Having a garden makes you less reliant on others for food.
Tomatoes from last year’s garden
Putting your hands (and feet) in the dirt is a spiritual experience. While you are in the garden it is a great time to sit back, relax, and stick your feet and/or hands in the dirt. This will get you grounded and living in the present.. When we ground ourselves, we get our heads out of the clouds and begin to think more deeply. Spending time in nature is extremely important to humans. However we have lost much of that in our modern society. We have slowed down recently. Let’s keep slowing down in nature — in our gardens. You will be amazed how many problems can be solved by pondering life in a garden!
My chair in the garden
Gardening gives you the opportunity to breathe fresh air! Don’t get stuck in the AC all summer! Get outside and take deep breaths of fresh, summer air. We have been told many things about staying indoors and fearing the outside lately. That is ridiculous. Fresh air is a wonderful pick me up when you are feeling down. Gardening is also a great place to try some breath work. This means simply paying attention to your breath while sitting calmly in your garden. Breathing fresh air strengthens your heart and lungs. It also helps give you energy and helps our brain — who doesn’t need that these days?
Gardening exercises the brain, warding off such diseases as Alzheimers and dementia. As you grow older, it is important to exercise the brain as well as the body. We often forget about our brain and that it needs attention too. With gardening, you get both your body and brain exercised! When I am in the garden I am constantly thinking about what I should plant where, how to best meet the plants’ needs, and what do I need to do to keep things growing strong. You have to be very observant in a garden. You have to look at the leaves and see if you have any pests, check for weeds — what are they and what is the best way to get rid of them? When you garden you are learning. As a lifelong learner, what better situation could I ask for? Are you a life-long learner? If you are, a garden might just be for you!
You may be like me and think gardening is just too hard. But you can start simple and keep it simple. My garden is a combination of regular garden (stuff planted directly into the ground) and container gardening.
My garden transformed over Memorial Day weekend.
Container gardening may be the easiest way to keep it simple. Weeding is so much easier — it can be done in a few seconds per container. Plus you can move it to another location if you find that something is not growing well. Start small and begin by growing whatever veggie is your favorite. Care for it, water it, feed it, and your work will result in a delicious, organic, healthy veggie that you grew with your own two hands. You can’t get better than that.
Finally, you can do this cheaply. Flower pots are plentiful if you ask around — friends and neighbors can help you out. The large pots on the table above were gotten at a Goodwill for $2 each. The rest my mom gave me. So all the pots cost $6. I even found a way to mark my items cheaply. Last year I got paint stirrers at a local box store, but by the end of the summer they had all deteriorated. I decided to try plastic tableware that I wrote on with a Sharpie. I will have to see how they last the summer. My eventual goal is to get some real silverware cheaply — at a garage sale (if those even happen again). A life without garage sales is a sad world, in my opinion.