There are so many reasons to start your own organic garden; I hardly know where to begin. There are so many dangerous and untested food additives being added to our food that growing your own produce could almost be considered a prerequisite to good health. Our children are taught good nutritional habits in school, but they aren’t taught about pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables, or about the dangers of so-called “healthy” drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup. In fact, most American adults are purposely kept in the dark about these dangers. To keep your children safe from the harmful chemicals used in commercially grown fruits and vegetables, why not start your own organic garden? Here are 6 more reasons starting an organic garden is beneficial.
- 1. Eat healthy for less. Organic food is definitely healthier for us; however, organic food can get really expensive! Growing your own healthy fruits and vegetables is a less expensive option for feeding your children safe and healthy foods.
- 2. Know where your food’s coming from. By growing our own foods, we not only know where it’s coming from, we know exactly how it was grown and that it’s free from dangerous pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals.
- 3. Higher in Vitamins and Minerals. It has been shown that organically grown produce is higher in naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that help prevent cancer. Given the choice of eating chemically treated cancer causing produce and organically grown cancer preventing produce, I think the answer is obvious.
- 4. Fresh Tasting Meals and Snacks. Growing your own fruits and vegetables for use in your cooking and for your kid’s snacks isn’t only healthier, it tastes great! I remember eating vegetables picked right from the ground in my grandmother’s garden as a kid…and they tasted so much different than even the “fresh” produce you find at the supermarket today.
- 5. Protect the environment. The chemicals in herbicides, pesticides and insecticides are harmful not only to us, but also our earth. Organic gardening helps protect ecosystems, animals, our health and our environment.
- 6. Support a Healthy Ecosystem. Think about it; prior to the 1900s gardening and farming was done all naturally. There weren’t issues with our chemical practices killing animals…nature was respected as our sustenance, and therefore wasn’t abused as it is today. An organic garden creates healthy, rich soil which in turn promotes a healthy ecosystem naturally.
One way to ensure your children aren’t being fed dangerous ingredients that are so commonly in food today is to grow your own vegetables. If you’re not an avid gardener, it may be best to start small; taking on too much can cause frustration, and can lead to quitting before you begin.
With that in mind, let’s get started!
Test the Soil
First of all, you will want to test the soil of your plot. There are many home test kits that you can purchase, or you can send a copy to the local agricultural extension office and get a full breakdown (for a fee). They will often offer suggestions on how to get the correct balance.
Compost is a great, natural way to make sure the soil is healthy before you plant your organic fruits and vegetables. It’s also a completely free way to feed your plants. If you have farms in your area, contact them to see if you can get manure; but be sure that they only feed their animals organic feed and that they don’t use growth hormones. Family farms generally don’t use the artificial products, so they are a great source for manure.
Building your own compost has many benefits; it’s free, saves water and keeps the weed population down. I’ll cover in another post how to create your own successful compost.
Choose your Plants
Next you will need to choose your plants. Do you want to purchase seedlings, or start fresh from seeds? What plants will grow well in your neck of the woods? If you decide to purchase seedlings, you will need to make sure they haven’t had any pesticides or herbicides applied. A great source for organic seedlings that will grow well in your garden is your local farmer’s market.
Unless you’re keeping your plants in containers, do research on each plant to determine how far apart each plant should be planted, whether they need sun or shade, and what time of year they can be transplanted.
Now that your soil is tested, your compost is started and your plants are ready, it’s time to take care of your organic garden. First thing in the morning is the best time to water, especially when using compost. Be sure to water only the roots; plant leaves are delicate and easily bruised. The roots are the part of the plant that uses the water, so direct your watering efforts accordingly.
In your individual plant research, you should have discovered how much water each plant needs. However, as a general guideline, plants need approximately an inch of water a week…so keep track of how much rain your garden gets; you may not need to water if you get a lot of rain!
Weeding by hand is rewarding, great exercise, and can be very relaxing. It’s also a lot of hard work; the use of compost will reduce the number of weeds you encounter, but it won’t eliminate them altogether. Try using mulch to keep your weed population down.
Keep your organic gardening theme going by catching your own rain water, and using it to water your garden. If you live in an area where you pay a water bill, this is a great option for saving water! Many people use a rain barrel system to collect the rain water. This is an effective conservation method and great for taking care of your organic garden.
I saw an advertisement yesterday for Borden, in which they claimed to be extremely healthy and beneficial to the American farmer. Because of the dangers of rBGH, I decided I wanted to check into it. After all, if it is a healthy product, AND it supports our farmers, then I definitely want to support Borden!
I went directly to the source: http://www.bordenonline.com and http://friendsofelsie.com.
It’s true, Borden does not use rBGH or any other artificial growth hormones!
In addition, Borden gets its dairy products through a co-op program called Dairy Farmers of America, Incorporated. Over 17,000 farmers are members of Borden’s co-op. Milk is delivered quickly to local stores, so Borden’s products are fresh! This means, that not only are you stimulating your local economy by purchasing Borden, but the dairy products are coming from family farms, not commercial farms.
I’ve talked before about buying local by visiting local farmer’s markets. Buying Borden milk, cheese and butter will also support your local farmers. In addition, by buying Borden products, you are also supporting your children’s health.
By visiting Borden’s website, you can view information on their farms local to you, their organic farm in Austin, Texas and meet the farmers in your area. What other company shows you everything up front?
I am in no way affiliated with Borden, Elsie or Dairy Farmers of America. I was merely playing a game on my iPhone when an ad popped up for Borden, claiming it was healthy…this prompted my research, to see if Borden dairy products were as good as they claimed. And they are! My family will definitely start buying Borden.