Spring is a time of renewal, especially with plant life as flowers begin blooming and new leaves appear on trees all around.
What spring brings to mind for me is that my fruit and vegetable garden needs my care to come awake and begin bearing health for my family.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a cornerstone of a healthy eating pattern, as recommended by the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The conundrum between seeking out fresh fruits and vegetables in the grocery store; picking organic produce which still uses chemicals, albeit natural, to control pests; finding a nearby farmer’s market and valuable time to visit it; and reducing food waste from wilting supermarket produce in our own refrigerators leads many to seek solutions to these dilemmas by growing some of our own produce!
Growing your own produce will help nourish your family — but you will be amazed at how it nourishes your soul too!
This cabbage, these carrots, these potatoes, these onions … will soon become me. Such a tasty fact! ~ Mike Garofalo
Gardens Big and Small
When we imagine growing our own food, many of us might picture a huge garden plot that covers the entire yard, but in reality a nourishing garden can be any size or shape.
A garden can be as simple as one little pot of your favorite herb placed in the kitchen window so that you can clip it right into your cooking.
Another way to always have herbs ready is a twist on a flower space. I use a window box on my back porch to grow parsley.
This is one herb I use regularly and love having a fresh supply year round. My parsley actually reseeded itself from last year and has already begun sending out tender shoots this spring.
Hanging on the porch rail doesn’t require much effort or space.
Growing vegetables in containers at the front steps or on the back patio can also allow home growers without much room or time to cultivate some fresh produce.
You might be surprised how many cherry tomatoes a container on the porch will yield!
I have also seen these hanging tomato plants that I think could be great for some people with limited space!
You can also add in vegetables into the flower beds in your yard near the mailbox, lining the driveway or around the house.
Peppers, tomatoes, okra, spinach, radishes or anything you like can live side by side with the flowers and thrive. In fact, some flowers can be beneficial to vegetables by drawing pollinators and resisting pests.
In addition to all these different types of gardens, I also plant a raised vegetable bed in my side yard where the sun shines most of the day.
There is nothing quite like picking a tomato from the garden and taking a bite, warm from the sunshine and glorious in its flavor!
No tomato from the supermarket can match that taste.
I grow tomatoes, peppers of all kinds – including sweet, green, red and jalepeno – cucumbers, beans, radishes, spinach, lettuce and other items as the mood strikes.
This year I am adding cabbage and carrots.
The other part of my garden is the addition of fruit bearing trees and shrubs that fill my planting beds and yard.
I have peach, apple and pecan trees, blueberry bushes and hope to be able to grow a fig tree (thus far it hasn’t liked my soil).
These trees give me beautiful flowers in the spring and fruit in the late summer which brings me and my family great joy!
It doesn’t take much effort to turn over the dirt and plant the seeds or plants and then watch them grow. The sun does its job and the clouds add rain water to help the vegetables grow.
Nourishing The Family and You
Certainly eating fresh fruits and vegetables that I grow from seed to plate is a satisfying way to feed my family.
The produce will nourish us with a bounty of nutrients.
A great by-product of my garden is the feeling I get when I am able to share my fruit and vegetable bounty with my family and friends. They love getting fresh foods almost as much as I love sharing it with them.
The absolute best thing is the way my granddaughter is a blueberry monster who will eat a bucket load of berries as we pick them in the summer. She looks forward to getting the luscious berries on her plate when she visits.
My hands, heart, body and soul are truly nourished when I grow in my gardens – big and small!
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.
To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. ~ Alfred Austin