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During World War II, backyard gardens, or ‘Victory’ gardens were planted due to the depression and limited food supplies. These privately grown gardens instilled a sense of pride and victory in the owners as their contribution to the war by giving the enlisted men priority in consuming commercially grown produce and easing the demand on the economy. Though we are not facing a food shortage due to a war, there is a lot of gratification to be gained by growing a garden of your own.
The latest craze for organic vegetable lovers is to plant your own garden. Nothing is more delicious than biting into the tender rind of a sweet tomato that you grew yourself knowing it is free of pesticides and grown naturally without the assistance of high spectrum lights or additives. The high prices in commercial grocery stores for organic foods is a big incentive for taking a little time to create your own backyard garden and test your green thumb.
Surprisingly little area is needed to grow a small garden or erect an affordable greenhouse. Despite today’s tract housing, the tiniest of backyards can provide enough room to raise your own vegetables. Even living in an apartment does not reduce your options, as there are many window gardens and portable greenhouses available to adapt to your limited surroundings. The sky is the limit when it comes to growing your own.
Children especially benefit from gardening. It’s both educational and exciting for them to experience the thrill of planting a seed, to water it, and observe the rapid growth of a plant that produces food for them to eat. Tomatoes are quite resilient and easy to grow. Beans also grow rapidly and can endure well in most situations. Sweet potatoes are another exciting plant that can be grown with little maintenance. They are drought resistant and require little water after becoming established. The tubers are easily harvested as they grow only inches below the surface of the soil and the plant will continue to develop future tubers after the mature ones are removed.
Other commonly grown edible plants are herbs. Relatively small in size, very hardy, and easy to transport, these delicious plants provide fresh additions to salads, soups, and as seasonings in most meals. Many herbs are also decorative as well as tasty. Rosemary, mint varieties, and chamomile are flowering versions that are beautiful to envision yet aromatic and tasty in main dishes.
For those lucky enough to have acreage to plant, there’s the option of going commercial. Whether you choose to plant directly into the tilled soil or select a large greenhouse, the harvest can result in both personal gratification and an additional income. This gives you the option to sell your vegetables locally at a Farmer’s Market or at health food stores.
Regardless of how you choose to grow your personal garden, large or small, there will inevitably be some unsalvageable vegetables. They, too, can be recycled into the soil to replenish the vital minerals and nutrients necessary to begin a new crop in the upcoming planting season. Another option would be to use a composter and allow the vegetables to rot and later be tilled back into the soil. There are many optional daily ingredients that could also be tossed into the compost, including crushed eggshells for calcium, and used coffee grounds to maintain moisture. This is a terrific way to recycle other biodegradable items into your productive garden. By biodegradable, that means things are healthy for the soil and would benefit your plants, not destroy them.
Be a green contributor to the economy and grow your own garden. Share your success with family and friends and spread the word. Soon others will be consumed by your enthusiasm and join in the fun. This is a wonderful way to give back to nature and appreciate the precious gift that our soil offers.