As I sit here reflecting on the last two days, I can’t help but smile at the dirt under my nails, the tenderness of my pink skin, and the dull ache in my back. In years past, our family has had a part in vegetable gardening for the sheer excitement of watching something grow. This year however, we have taken on the responsibility of tending a 5000 square foot, multi-family garden with the hopes of producing enough to feed seven adults and eight children, through the winter months. The past two days have been filled with tilling, planting, and watering what will soon become an Eden for our families.
While I look forward to the coming months of harvesting, canning, and preserving, what I am most excited about are the endless opportunities for our family of six to learn and grow together.
Growing a vegetable garden may seem like an expensive endeavor in the beginning but the cost savings add up in a hurry and rarely leave you questioning whether or not it was worth the money. A simple container garden can be easily and inexpensively started and will yield an abundance of produce in just one season. If you can or preserve your excess produce, your savings can last well into the winter months when vegetables are no longer easily available and are more costly to purchase.
Educational opportunities are endless in a vegetable garden. From learning about propagation, the water cycle, creation, insect life, and farming to mathematics, spatial relations, and even home economics, gardening has you covered! There is so much to learn just by digging the dirt and harvesting your own produce.
If, like us, you find yourself in need of building good character qualities in yourself or your children, gardening is a great place to start. It takes diligence, patience, and hard work (among other things) to plant a garden and see it come to fruition. Gardening is not a quick process and so much character can be built while working the ground.
If you think gardening is light and easy work, think again! You will find yourself using muscles you didn’t know you had after spending a day tilling the ground or pulling weeds by hand. If you haul your own water, your body will certainly receive a healthy dose of exercise as well. Gardening requires you work hard and will in turn produce a bountiful harvest.
In today’s age, genetically modified produce is becoming more prevalent. Add in the use of harmful chemicals and fertilizers to ward off pests and weeds and we’ve got a recipe for poor health and ill-effects later in life. Growing your own fruits and vegetables gives you the ability to decide what seeds you use, how you care for your soil, and what goes on and around your plants as they grow. Growing produce specific for your location and harvesting at peak times will also increase the nutritional value of the foods you set before your family each day.
Gardening is multi-faceted with so many aspects that will truly help a family grow. Whether it be one or two pots on the patio, a small garden in the backyard, or a sprawling 5000 square feet on the family farm, gardening will benefit your family for years to come.