Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Fresh organic GREENS are delicious!

One of our all-time favorite vegetables to grow and to eat are greens. We love all kinds of greens - mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, kale, bok choy,and the list could go on. Greens are easy to grow, nutritious, and delicious!! Each variety of greens has it's own unique taste and smell, but it is also fun to mix different kinds together and eat. Greens can be eaten raw, adding zest to salads; and they can also be stir-fried, steamed, sauteed, and even put into a tasty soup. The possibilities are endless!!

We love to see the greens growing. Within days of planting, you begin to see the little greens beginning to sprout. It is amazing how fast they grow, within just a few weeks you are ready to gather your greens. In most parts of the country, this is still a good time to plant and harvest the greens, as they do best while the weather is still cool. When the heat of summer begins, most greens do not grow well, and start to take on a bitter taste and tough texture. So, enjoy while there is still time!

(To the left, are pictures of one of our all-time favorite greens, collards, in the various stages of growth.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Gardening is for Everyone (even people with small places and little space)

Having lived in a large, metropolitan city most of our lives, the extent of our planting and gardening had been limited to houseplants and fresh cut flowers purchased from a store. Now that we have moved to a smaller community, with a large yard to maintain, it has given us the opportunity and space to see if we can grow more than houseplants. Also, we feel a guilty obligation to do something environmentally positive - organic home gardening is one contribution to that effort, there are already enough toxins in the soil, water, and air.

It grieves me now to realize that we could have experienced the joys of gardening, even while living in the city, just on a smaller scale. It could have been something as simple as a couple of tomato plants in pots on the patio, or a hanging basket of cascading flowers to greet us at our door. We now know that gardening can be accomplished in a small, intimate setting on an apartment balcony; or in a large, grandiose way, with towering sunflower plants and a scarecrow thrown in for good measure. It really depends on your situation. Yet, EVERYONE can enjoy the healthy benefits of gardening! It does not matter whether you are male or female, young or old. It does not matter whether you live out in the country with a large yard, or live in the city in a small studio apartment with a little balcony. If all else fails, most cities have community gardening efforts that one can become a part of. In fact, the American Community Garden Association has a website that provides links to Community Garden Programs throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. So, EVERYONE REALLY CAN GARDEN!!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Gardening for a Healthy Lifestyle

Home gardening has provided many health benefits and joys for me and my family. I never envisioned that we would become organic, home gardeners - raising our own fresh organic veggies, and smelling our own roses (and other fresh cut flowers). This home gardening blog is my attempt to share the love of gardening that we have developed, and is a testimony to the healthy benefits to be enjoyed. The health benefits, in addition to the sheer joy, have been numerous:
  • PHYSICALLY: Knowing that we are eating something that has not been heavily sprayed with pesticides, that is organically-grown and healthy for you, fresh from your own home garden. Also, it is physically invigorating to be outside with nature, breathing fresh air, getting your hands dirty with the rich soil of the earth in your home garden.
  • SPIRITUALLY: It renews trust that there must be a higher power that has created the marvelous variety and color spectrum found in nature.
  • EMOTIONALLY: You feel real joy to see something that you have planted from a tiny seed, and then nurtured (watering, fertilizing, pulling the weeds from), become a living thing that is beautiful to look at (like flowers) and delicious to eat (like veggies).
  • MENTALLY: It is both challenging and mentally stimulating to plan and execute the making of a piece of earth into a desirable home garden oasis to enjoy and linger in.
  • FINANCIALLY: When the crop does well, we reap bountifully. You may spend $3 on a packet of tomato seeds, but are rewarded many times over when a copious crop is produced. Consider, I have paid more than $3 a pound for organic tomatoes at the grocery store.

I want to tell about the joys and tribulations, we have experienced while gardening. Also, share gardening techniques and garden tools, that we have found that seem to work for us, in overcoming gardening obstacles.

I will include pictures of our home gardening efforts, and occasionally throw in a recipe to show ways to enjoy one's bounty fresh from your organic home garden. I will also include links to other home gardening blogs, gardening websites, and gardening articles that we enjoy and find informative. I hope you enjoy reading this home gardening blog, as much as I enjoy writing it! HERE WE GO!!