Monday, March 25, 2013

Waste Not, Want Not – Growing a Produce Garden

by M. J. Joachim

So many choices, so little need…

Many of us live in throw away cultures, societies that collect and discard things. There is an abundance of just about everything; what we don’t use, we easily throw away, oftentimes in a place where no good use will ever come from it again.

Our diets include readily processed food, all neatly pre-packaged and easily thrown away. Even much of our produce is nicely wrapped up, after it has been washed, cut, cooked – you name it. “Fresh produce” from a package – sort of sounds a little odd, if you ask me, which is one of the reasons I spend so much time in my garden.

Benefits of Growing a Produce Garden
  • Food tastes better, because it is fresh and can be eaten the same day.
  • Food does not require storage. Pick only what you can eat, while the rest continues to grow until you are ready to use it.
  • You know exactly where your food comes from and when it was picked.
  • Plants make gorgeous landscape for your yard. Plant varieties are abundant, especially when you purchase seeds, so you can truly go to town and make a gorgeous, plant abundant yard.
  • Trimmings from plants can be used as compost, thereby feeding your soil and future plants.

Cost Effectiveness of Growing a Produce Garden
  • It only takes a few plants to yield a lot of produce.
  • Seeds are very inexpensive and come in numerous varieties.
  • Plant cycles provide for future plants. Let a few plants annually go to seed and you will have more than enough to grow fresh, healthy produce for years.
  • All parts of your produce garden can be used for multiple purposes including harvest, growing new plants, making compost and feeding insects, birds and other animals – even your own pets, in your yard.

This post came about because I spent some time in my own garden recently. Harvest is abundant these days, and today was juicing day. While I was in the garden gathering beet leaves for our juice, I pulled a couple of beets from the ground, three to be exact. I’m the only one who likes beets, so I didn’t need to harvest any more than that right now.

As you can see from the picture, we’re growing some lovely beets in our backyard. There are so many plants too, because beat tops are excellent nutrition for the juice. I’ve been picking leaves since last fall for this purpose, letting the beets continue to grow underground.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much less food trash we have, because we grow our own garden. While I was making juice this morning, it occurred to me how much money we save by eating most of our own fresh produce and making our own juice. Then as I was cleaning and trimming veggies, a bowl for consumption and a bowl for compost on my counter, well it seemed an important topic to write about.

Gardens are good for us. The food tastes better and makes us healthier; it also saves us money and reduces our waste. Plus, working in the garden and enjoying the harvest it yields is a great way to spend time. How do you feel about gardening and growing your own produce? Do you grow your own food and if so, what are the benefits you readily see from your efforts?

Thank you for visiting Effectively Human.

M. J.

Photo credit:  M. J. Joachim, ©All Rights Reserved
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