Gardens are great, and now is the time to get planting! Below, check out the five reasons to grow a garden, along with suggestions for what to grow and how to grow it!
Why Grow a Garden?
- A garden is a wonderful thing to experience as a family. You will be making memories and sharing moments all summer long. Gardens offer something fun for everyone!
- You burn more calories while gardening than you do when you're just sitting around. In fact, gardening burns twice as many calories as sitting!
- Gardening is not a full-time job. In fact, it doesn't require a huge time commitment -- simply a few days per week of weeding, watering, and harvesting.
- Having your own garden is a great way to get everyone to eat more fruit and vegetables.
- Gardens offer cheap entertainment that also produces food for the family.
5 Great Things to Grow in Your Garden...
- Tomatoes: As long as they have enough sun, tomatoes will grow anywhere. Yes, even in containers on your windowsill. And we promise, there is nothing that tastes better than fresh, home-grown tomatoes. Plus, store-bought tomatoes are expensive, often costing over $2 or $3 per pound. This means that growing your own tomatoes will save you money. And these tasty treats are versatile to boot! They can go on sandwiches, salads, salsa, bruschetta, pasta, and more. Choose any type of tomato, from cherry to heirloom, and get growing!
- Lettuce: Fresh lettuce will grow for several months and it really brings salads to the next level.
- Arugula: This hearty green is easy to grow and tastes fantastic in salads and sautes alike.
- Zucchini: Unlike tomatoes, zucchini needs a lot of room to grow. However, it's such a kick to bring in a ton of huge squash at the end of summer. From our experience, this is one of the highlights of gardening as far as children are concerned -- they totally love seeing how large and prolific zucchini can be.
- Peas: Not only can you harvest mature peas, but you can also harvest pea shoots while the plant is growing. Pea shoots (and peas) make a delicious addition raw in salads or cooked in veggie or pasta dishes. Like zucchini, peas do need a bit of room. They also grow better with a trellis.
BONUS: As an added bonus, try growing any kind of herb . You can put it in a pot, container garden, or even a planted bed garden, depending on your space. Herbs add a lot of interest and flavor to any dish. And, if you are gardening with children, they are often amazed by picking a plant like mint and smelling its wonderful aroma. Herbs are awesome for that.
NOTE: If you have plenty of time for the whole gardening process, go ahead and plant seeds. If you're pressed for time and want to get a head start on making your garden shine, purchase small plants from a local nursery instead.
How Can I Choose What to Grow?
- Use the USDA Zones of Hardiness Map to determine what can grow in your region.
- Visit the USDA Cooperative Extension near you for local information about gardening.
Already have a garden and looking for recipe inspiration? Check out this fresh salad with lemon!
For more gardening information, visit the Nutrition Education Store or check out our favorite resources below...