Starting a garden is very trendy. It may be a good enough reason to start one. When I look back at all the stupid fads I have seen, I start to think how much I like this particular craze.
Famous diet trends include the watermelon diet, the cookie diet and the ice-cream diet. Stupid trends include celebrities naming their babies after fruit (Apple-sorry Gwyneth I love you anyway) or names like a sound (Bing-Kate Hudson). Remember wearing pajamas to the grocery store, we looked like homeless people and the crazy hairdo we did in the 80’s and 90’s, with our bangs sticking straight up and the sides pinned back. I bought more hairspray during those few years than the rest of my life combined. There were painter pants, half tops, reindeer stuffed animals under the hoods of our cars, cow print everything and who can forget shoulder pads. What a ridiculous fashion that was, we looked liked football players next our tennage boyfriends. In addition, what about creepy trends like breast-feeding babies until 7 years of age or older or classic trends like: Bermuda shorts, break-dancing and building your own bomb shelter (I had plans for one at some point). Jumping beans, monkeys on TV, flag pole sitting, gold fish swallowing, UFO sightings, waterbeds, mood rings, pet rocks, Max Headroom, Lava Lamps, Blacklight posters and my favourite Cabbage Patch Kids.
On the trendy scale, planting a garden may be the winner of the smartest ever!
Growing plants to eat is like tapping into our history. Imagine generations before us, farming to survive, trading seeds with their neighbours and exchanging crops for variety. When you grow heirloom plants that are native to your area, you keep your heritage alive and keep with the natural order of things.
We are human and humans have grown food since the beginning of time. So, what happened to us? We somehow left the growing of our food, the most vital part of our existence, up to someone else. Moreover, guess what, they are not in it for our health but for the money.
Many children do not know the life cycle of a plant and how it relates to the food at the grocery store. It is time to take back the knowledge of growing and share our heritage with our children.
Top Reasons Why
#1 Power to Sustain
By sharing basic gardening knowledge with our children, we give them back the power to sustain their own lives. That is empowering.
By growing your own garden, you ensure a safe, GMO free product with no pesticides (by using natural alternatives) on our dinner table. Our health should be our #1 priority.
#3 Go outside
Having a garden gives a good reason for the whole family to go outside. From your first seed growing in the windowsill to the last winter Brussels sprout on your table, your family will become involved in your garden, getting them outside in the fresh air.
#4 Stress Reducer
Rearing a garden is good for your stress levels as well. You focus on something other than yourself, getting lost in thought while tending to your garden. Pulling weeds, clipping veggies and learning your garden’s secrets, can be a rewarding hobby and a break at the end of your day. Gardening has a calming effect.
#5 Connecting the Generations
To learn the basics, as our grandparents learned from their grandparents and so on, we ensure the knowledge does not go astray. Learning what goes where in a garden, which soil needs rotation, what makes good compost, we keep our traditions alive. We then pass it along to the next generation, connecting one generation to the next.
By throwing less organic materials in the trash to end up in the landfills, we use more in our gardens to grow healthy fruits and vegetables from. Banana peels, eggshells, fruit waste and even coffee grinds can make their way back into your soil to feed your garden the nutrients that will end up back in your body in the form of vitamins and minerals. Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
#7 Cost Effective
Growing vegetables can save money off your grocery bill. The average North American garden produces over $450 worth of food. Think about the high prices of North American produce in the grocery stores, and it makes perfect sense to start growing a garden.
Yes, it is a trend; so do not miss being the coolest person in your neighbourhood, full of knowledge and healthy food.
Where do you begin?
Start with planters and windowsill pots if you live in a small apartment. Herbs grow year round, inside, and tomatoes and peppers are easy to grow in pots on your balcony or near a window.
From there, you can start growing a vertical garden with space for vegetables. If you have property, start digging up a plot and plan a variety of plants. In BC, start seeding indoors around March and plant in your garden during the last weekend in May. Ask your local garden shop, as weather and climate play a huge part is what will grow in your garden.
Make sure what you are growing is organic. Either buy online at a certified organic seed store or keep the seeds from your favourite organic fruits and vegetables. Local garden shops have many suggestions. I like to plant things a little different to what I can buy at the farmers market. Instead of regular Zucchini this year, we put in yellow and instead of eggplant, we chose a white round variety. In addition, purple basil and cilantro ended up in our garden as well, both not the usual suspect around these parts. Say No To GMO.
Berries are easy to grow and a good starter plant. Among the most rewarding berry, is the strawberry, which keeps on giving fruit. Raspberry can become invasive and large, best to give them space to grow wild. I remember as a kid walking in the fields behind our house and eating berries off the wild bushes. Black berries and raspberries mostly, we gathered them up in buckets and brought them home to our parents for smoothies and tarts. There is nothing like a warm raspberry in the summer sun.
When we lived on the west coast, we had amazing success with summer and winter squash as well, enough to eat year round.
Go Play In You Garden!