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Our first garden

Aug 28, 2019

The time has arrived, we've been planting our own vegetables!

Growing up in Romania , spending all spring vacations in the village with my grandmother, I was exposed to a natural way of growing our own food and certainly eating clean food. Everything was minimally processed. We ate whole foods that provided maximal nutritional benefits. We consumed foods that were as close to their natural state as possible.

Nowadays, living in a building apartment for the past 20 years, the only thing I managed to grow was herbs. They make me happy every time I step into the terrace, from their beauty to their fragrance and aroma.

These days, community gardens are popping up around the country as an eco-friendly food source that benefits communities in more ways than one. These small patches of land often transform abandoned lots into lush green spaces that encourage community ownership and togetherness.

My husband and I had the opportunity to get a box in the middle of this summer at the new Community Garden in our town.

We quickly decided to go with seeds and within 6 weeks we grew our beautiful spinach, lettuce and kale. The soil appears to be rich, the sun is in abundance.

We enjoy going there almost every other evening for digging, planting, thinning, slight weeding, watering and finally harvesting. This is a fascinating hobby for us, an effective stress reliever and a surprisingly good workout.

We either walk or ride our bikes to the garden.

Whether you are growing a single tomato plant or have a large backyard garden, it is beneficial to your health, as well as the environment.

Why growing your own food?

- more nutritious. food in its rawest, freshest form is not only the tastiest way to enjoy it, but also the most nutritional. the herbs, fruits and vegetables grown in your garden will promote health because they are rich in nutrients, especially in phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

- stay active. gardening is a fun way to get outside for some fresh air and physical activity. the physical activity required in gardening has proven to promote physical health.

- get vit D, known as the sunshine vitamin. vit D has multiple roles in our body, helping to:

maintain the health of your bones and teeth,

support the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system,

regulate insulin levels and aid diabetes management,

support lung function and cardiovascular heath.

- stay happy. getting your hands dirty in the garden can increase your serotonin levels. contact with soil and a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin in our brain according to research. serotonin is a happy chemical, a natural anti-depressant.

- save money. by spending a few dollars on seeds, plants and supplies in the spring, you will produce vegetables that will yield pounds of produce in summer.

- better for the environment. long-distance transportation of produce relies heavily on fossil fuels. growing your own food would help reduce the reliance on this transportation that is harming the environment. also, by growing your own food, you are not using chemicals or pesticides that can harm both the environment and your health.

- get a sense of appreciation. growing a garden gives you a new appreciation for nature, when you can have the opportunity to see how things grow. gardening gives you a real sense of appreciation when you can see the bounty of your efforts.

Anyone can grow food. If you don't have a big, sunny backyard, take heart: you ca still grow food. A balcony or even a windowsill will work. If your space is shady, most salad greens and even blueberries can grow well.

If you are new to growing food, start with a few potted herbs or one raised bed. Embrace mistakes and don't beat yourself up if you lose a crop to slugs. You can always begin again.

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." - Gertrude Jekyll

By starting small, setting aside time each week for garden maintenance and not getting discouraged if things don't go perfectly, you'll be well on your way to garden success.

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