I am notorious for killing houseplants.
Don’t water too much. Never water. Indirect sunlight. Full sunlight. Regardless of what I did or didn’t do, I ended up with dead houseplants. So of course when we bought our first house, and it was already equipped with a few raised garden beds, my husband chuckled a little under his breath when I told him all the things that I wanted to plant. I was determined to teach our child where food came from (our 10 month old who totally cared at the time).
But I did it. I planned. I bought my seeds and some plants from a local seed shop. And I planted and cared for the sweet little babies. For a few months my garden was awesome and producing so many zucchini and cucumbers I had to give them away. But then it got really hot. It was July. I would forget to water. It was too hot to pull weeds. It got real. I had to do some good, hard work.
If you are like me and have this idealistic view in your head of what your garden will look like, and you are too scared to fail because it won’t be as perfect as you hope, I’m here to encourage you just to start growing something and start small. Here are a few great reasons to start your own garden.
Food Right in Your Backyard
I love telling my 4-year-old to go pick the veggies for dinner. I love knowing there are not any chemicals on the cherry tomatoes he is popping in his mouth. Plus, they taste better than anything I’ve had from a store (he actually won’t eat store-bought tomatoes).
Lowering Your Carbon Footprint
By growing your own food, you are taking the GMO aspects out of the food chain and giving replenishing nutrients back to the Earth. By tilling soil every season you are regenerating and reusing space that would otherwise be sitting there as grass. Also, gardens are great for the bee population!
The Satisfaction of Garden Growth
I love all the analogies that come along with gardening. Seeing fruit come from a tiny seed is oddly satisfying and can be a huge source of encouragement in really hard parenting days. There is something healing about being in the dirt, and having a place to let your thoughts flow while you cultivate a relationship with food and the place that food has in the home.
Culturing Your Kids
My kids love working in the garden with me. They love watering, pruning and pulling weeds. But mostly they love watching the veggies and fruit grow. We are able to see the life cycle of plants, the purpose of rain and bugs and their favorite — play in the dirt. Getting back to the basics of food has been one of the driving forces for our garden. Teaching my kids about herbs has been a dream, especially when I am in the middle of dinner and want something from the herb garden. Now they are able to help me out!
Mostly importantly, start simple. A few plants, a hoe to keep the weeds at bay and most important, an automatic timer for your sprinkler are a few great tools to set you on your way!