Living healthy and simply should prioritize what it is you put in your body and how you spend your time.
That old saying, “you are what you eat” really is more than just a saying. From a health care perspective it really makes a huge difference when a patient has been eating healthy and cleaner than someone who chooses more processed foods. I am not supporting any specific diet but just an overall preference to choosing a diet that supports more, in their natural (raw) state, foods.
This is where gardening comes in to play. The best version of ‘eating clean’ are from foods now known as, ‘farm to table’. When your food source is from your own garden, you are then controlling the growing and harvesting process, thus knowing exactly what it is you are putting into your body.
As a health care provider, I should then practice what I preach or lead by example. So, here is how this works for me and my family.
First step, was to establish where it is to set up my garden and then get the needed supplies. Living in MN presents some of its own unique challenges but first and foremost knowing that you have to wait until you are out of the woods with temperatures dropping at night so you do not end up ending before you even get started. For us in MN the general rule is to wait until Memorial Day weekend to avoid those frost temps, which is what we did.
This is the first time that me and my family have put in our own garden. My kids were so excited to learn and help! This is absolutely an activity that can be for the entire family. Everybody can pitch in and makes for a really great family bonding experience. My son whose 8 years old had just as much fun planting as my two older girls (13 and 10).
We started out with a modest garden as I want to be able to eat what it is we pick and not have to end up with a lot of waste. We chose to plant onions, green and red peppers, sweet peas, green beens, cucumbers, a variety of tomatoes, lettuce, butternut squash, watermelon, sweet corn and pumpkins. We also then chose to start with already established plants rather than putting seedlings into the ground. This way we could get a head start and take advantage of our shorter growing season.
Another principle I like to try to live by is to attempt to repurpose things and get by with what we already have. By we, I mean what me and my husband might have lying around not being used or going and finding a used version somewhere that can be repurposed. This is not because I have a cheap mentality but more so that I do not like to generate more things or waste. Another great saying “why buy new when slightly used will do” comes to my mind here. Honestly as Americans we already have so much at are disposal so just getting a little bit more clever or crafty will go a long way here.
For us that meant using some dog kennel chain linked fencing that we had lying around and for the top soil, dirt from our ever added to manure pile. We have horses so we continually mix up the manure pile from cleaning out their box stalls, which ends up being great dirt for a garden.
The fencing was from when we bought our home. The original owner had a bunch of this set up in our barn, which we took down as we did not need to use this but figured we would set it aside then for possibly later use for something else. Well here we are now pulling this out and setting it up around our garden. It may be overkill for protection for our garden but hey we live on acreage where there are many critters and animals that would be more than happy to make our garden their new feeding zone.
For the final day project. This took around five hours or so, with me, my husband, three kiddos and mother and father in law all lifting a hand to help. Obviously the work is not done and has only begun. Weeding and maintaining will most likely be where I hear my children start to complain with no longer having all that fun as on this first day. However, I think this will pay off when they get to start picking the veggies. Time will tell I guess but for now it turned out to be a great experience and something I would rather be doing as a family!