Organic food is great for you, especially if it comes fresh from your own garden. By avoiding any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or preservatives, you can avoid all of the many negative effects these substances may have on your body.
Getting the vegetables fresh from your own garden maximizes how nutritious- and delicious- they are. In addition to the healthier food, gardening itself is a great activity for both body and mind.
A simple physical activity that produces something can often combat stressed or depressed feelings that can come from the daily grind.
Gardening can also be great exercise, and gets you outside. Growing your own vegetables is also cheaper than buying them from a store, especially since organic produce can be even more expensive than ordinary vegetables.
The first lady herself, Michelle Obama, has headed a campaign that encourages growing your own vegetable garden to eat more healthily and combat childhood obesity.
When kids are involved in growing the vegetables and fruit, they are much more likely to be willing to eat these foods, even if they don’t usually like them. They want to enjoy the result of their work.
The same arguments for gardening being a great activity also apply to children- it’s good exercise and gets them outdoors. It also teaches them responsibility as they need to make sure the plants are adequately watered and can be a great family activity.
Here are some tips to start an organic garden and grow vegetables cheaply:
1. Start planting seeds indoors to be ready for spring planting or for plants that need to be sheltered at first. You can buy a greenhouse seed starter for under ten dollars to make it easy and fun. Many kits have soil with seeds already planted, so you just have to water them- perfect for inexperienced gardeners. You can also shop for seeds online- they’re often cheaper, especially with free shipping.
2. Composting offers a great natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. Compost bins come in many different shapes and sizes and can be as cheap as $29. Once again, shopping online is a great way to find the perfect compost bin for your situation. Remember that this is an investment for years to come! In 6 months you will have your own free fertilizer and also reduce the waste your household puts out. You can add leaves, weeds, food scraps, coffee grounds, and any other organic waste. This is a purchase you should make as soon as possible, because you need to allow the compost to decompose for several months before it will be ready to use in your garden.
3. Of course, any garden needs water. A rainwater barrel is a must have for any garden, whether it’s vegetables, fruit trees, or flowers. The barrel water will not be chemically treated like tap water and will be the same temperature as the air and ground, so it won’t provide a temperature shock to the plants. Your garden will love it, and you’ll save money on water. Barrels run as low as $49 for a 55 gallon barrel.
4. As we mentioned above, get your children involved! It will not only spread out the work (already helpful) but also set a great example for your kids in many areas. It will teach them to work toward saving the planet by teaching those ‘green’ methods of gardening, teach them where their food comes from, and teach them how fun it can be to get out and do physical activities.
5. Enjoy your harvest! Even your kids will be more likely to eat their veggies, since they helped grow them, and also because freshly-picked organic vegetables taste much better than store-bought ones that may have been shipped over a couple days.
Conclusion: For an investment of less than $100 for your first year (and much less for subsequent years, where all you need to buy is the seeds) you can have a great organic garden of your own and help you and your kids eat better and have a great time. Get out there and garden!
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