This week’s Green Life Project action item is to begin your own garden!
Why should you start gardening? How is it green?
- Gardening cuts your consumption of foods shipped from far away! The average that I keep hearing from locavore websites say that food travels is 1,500 miles from farm to plate. That’s a lot of miles being driven by truck (if not boat or plane) for your consumption. You can reduce how much is shipped for your benefit!
- Gardening your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs cuts down on packaging! You can bring it into your home in a basket, bowl, or colander, wash it, and use it! You skip the boxes, the pallet the boxes get shipped on (which is usually shrink-wrapped in plastic), the small plastic wrapped, styrofoam, and clamshell plastic containers, not to mention any chance of it ending up in a disposable bag on the off chance you forgot your reusable one! Cut out all of that packaging for any of the items that you are able to grow for yourself!
- It’s right out your door, so you can make fewer trips to the store! Need a tomato? Some lettuce? A little basil? Imagine stepping outside for that one item to finish off your meal!
- If you garden organically, without chemical fertilizer, pesticides, or insecticides, you’re helping reduce the amount of these dangerous chemicals that are put into the environment for your benefit. These toxic ingredients end up in our soil, air, and water, not to mention our food supply of both crops and animals.
I care deeply about this action item, having grown tomatoes and peppers over the past two years and this year moving on to much more, including eleven different herbs! More on that in an upcoming post!
Gardening can be relatively easy and your local nursery can help you decide what’s right for you. Start there and maybe do a little research online. Tomatoes ended up being a great way for me to get started!
I recommend starting with a small garden of one item up to a few outside in the ground or in larger pots (maybe a chance to reuse a five-gallon bucket!). Indoors, growing some herbs takes very little space, time, and effort but can really add great flavor to your cooking!
And don’t forget that gardening is relatively cheap! You can get started with very little money and definitely reap good financial rewards through spending less at the store. Not a bad idea to have some inexpensive food out your back door during rough economic times (and during good times, too!).
Not enough time? Pwuhh! You’ll save time in that you won’t be going to the store for that tomato (or the rosemary Giada giddily tells you is necessary for that chicken dish she’s teaching you to make). After the initial day of planting for me, I spend a few minutes a day (and skip many days here and there) tending the garden.
Besides, in another way, greening your life is good for your health, building exercise right into your life and healthy, unprocessed produce at your fingertips will likely make salads a more probable meal choice! I start most mornings with a quick trip down two flights of stairs, filling a bucket, carrying it to my small garden, watering the plants, and then back up the stairs. It’s only a small amount of exercise, but it’s a great way to start the morning! I eat a little healthier and am able to make my life a little greener by combining some of my home-grown goods with some from farmers’ markets and organic produce from the store.
Does this sound like too much? Intimidated by the task? Start really small! A simple herb plant or two is like having another house plant — extremely easy! And once you see the benefit of that, you’ll be hard pressed to not add another item or two as time goes on!
So what are you waiting for? Get started on your garden today!
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