After paying $5 for a small bag of red onions, all I could think about was, “I can’t wait to start my garden!”
(butterfly pollinating our cherry tree)
A garden not only provides a large family with a bountiful harvest of fresh fruits and veggies, but it does wonders for saving a large amount of money. Over the winter, I experimented with winter gardening and was pleased to find out that it was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. No, we weren’t by any means living off our winter garden, but I was pleased that my plants didn’t freeze or die. I was encouraged that it is indeed possible to grow food in the winter. We ate some of our broccoli and I harvested a very small cabbage of which I was very proud of. Most importantly, I learned a great deal of what to do and what not to do. It was a nice start. However, this spring and summer, I am getting serious about big time gardening. It is becoming a necessary part of life!
In a few days, I have finished off that $5 worth of onions. It takes no time at all to plow through the produce. I don’t skimp on produce because I believe that it is vital for keeping my children healthy. Yet, at the same time, the amount of produce this family can use is astonishing and if I were purchasing it via the grocery store on a regular basis, it is foolishly expensive!
The benefits of a productive garden:
- Lots of vegetables and fruits available to you at home, not shipped from China or travel over many miles…
- Nutrient dense foods.
- Because of the bounty of fruits and vegetables, I will utilize more of these healthy foods in our diet. If the produce is around, I can use it. This adds huge health benefits.
- Huge savings on the grocery bill. Even a small garden can save a lot of money. I cringe at paying $2 for a head of lettuce when I know how easy and inexpensive they are to grow.
- Having food that is without harmful pesticides.
- Protecting your family from GM (genetically modified) foods that are greatly increasing in the market. Labeling of these genetically modified foods is also not mandatory so in many cases we do not even know what has been altered. In the coming years the GM issue will only become a bigger issue and the importance of pure, heirloom or non-hybrid seeds will become even greater.
- Work – The work and labor of producing food is a greatly rewarding experience. This is the deterrent for many…the work and time involved. It does take work and time. God put Adam and Eve in a garden to take dominion and rule over it and to work. We need to embrace our work and expect some things to just be….hard work. Work is good.
- As home schoolers, we use the garden, as we use many things, to expose our children to real life. Many times “education” is so sterile and useless. Because we are whole life homeschoolers, we use life as the school room and utilize every opportunity we have available for a learning experience. I heard my 6 year old tell his 4 year old brother, “Come on, let’s leave the bees alone, they’re not done pollinating.” So while my kids may be working with me in the garden during “school hours”, we count that work and learning far more beneficial to them than learning about a garden from a workbook in a fluorescent lit classroom with 30 other foolish peers.
Garden Starting Tips:
- I highly recommend checking out the book Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza
- Use non-hybrid seeds.
- Try gardening in large planter pots if you are limited on space.
- Try culinary herbs. I grew a pot full of chives and it lasted for 4 years until my cats dug it up recently. Chives repel pests and they will come back for years, so they are low maintenance.
(pictured above are some of my seed trays — I have various herbs, squash, cucumber, lettuce and brussel sprouts. I just purchased a large amount of heirloom seeds that are awaiting my attention.)