When it comes to looking after our health the best “rule of thumb” is to choose foods that are as close to nature as possible. This way we can limit the detrimental effects of processed, refined and de-natured foods, which lead to poor health outcomes.
By choosing to grow some of your own food you can eat freshly harvested food grown in nutrient-rich soil – which you have managed. You will consume more vitamins, minerals and enzymes in the food you eat. You will also get the added benefits of some physical exercise and mental relaxation. So get with the gardening groove and make eating fresh, healthy food an integral part of your daily life.
Here are some tips to get you started!
Select a sunny spot in your garden. Vegies like 6 hours of sun a day. Don’t have a garden? Container gardening is the way to go. Choose large, deep, well-drained pots or polystyrene boxes which you can pick up from the greengrocer.
Plant directly into your garden or make a seed bed out of the polystyrene box filled with watered seeding mix. Scatter the seed finely, press down and cover with another fine layer of seeding mix.
Make a border to contain a garden veggie patch with any solid materials to hand. Dig over the soil and add lots of organic material such as compost or cured manure. Leave it for a couple of weeks before planting to improve the soil.
Choose seeds for the right time of year. You can buy seeds at all local nurseries, but for the best quality go for organic and heirloom varieties. Some of the best seed suppliers are:
• The Diggers Club
• Green Harvest Organic Gardening Supplies
• Eden Seeds
• Greenpatch Organic Seeds
• Ceres Nursery – Seed Savers
All of these suppliers also have calendars to tell you when to sow your vegetables and fruits, as the seasons are different in each different climate area.
Once the seeds have germinated and the seedlings have their second set of leaves pick out all but the healthiest, leaving enough space between them to grow to full size. If you are using a seed box carefully lift out the seedlings by their leaves and transplant into small biodegradable pots. Once the plants are 15 centimetres high they can be transferred into the garden.
For a more natural pest control try mixing a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with a cup of vegetable oil and spraying on your plants at 10 day intervals.
Other benefits of growing your own veggies
Creating a produce garden is a great way to minimise your impact on the planet. There’s nothing more delicious or good for you than freshly picked, home grown veggies. If more people produced food in their garden it would also – in the longer run – contribute to increased food security.