Gardening for Better Health

By Cara Moncur

We all know there are many health benefits from eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, right?​​ Well, why not grow your own?

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​We all know there are many health benefits from eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, right? While there are a variety of ways to help boost your fresh fruit and veggie intake, I would like to discuss one of those ideas: growing your very own!

Spring is the perfect time to start planning your garden. Gardening can be a great way to get physical activity, it can be a good learning experience for your children, it’s easy on your food budget, and—let’s be honest, who wouldn’t prefer to eat a tomato fresh from the garden?

The website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (eatright.org) has a helpful article for gardening beginners: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442474578

They recommend these four steps when starting a vegetable garden:
  1. Calculate the space you have available. You will need an area that gets adequate sun, as most vegetable plants need at least six hours of full sun.
  2. Determine which varieties of plants do best in your particular conditions. You could ask a neighbor or someone at a nursery for help with this.
  3. Determine your soil quality. A variety of testing kits are available to determine if your soil needs to be reinforced with nutrients.
  4. Start small. Even if you have limited space, you can grow produce in containers. Here is a great resource for information on container gardening: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/gardening/hgic1251.html
With a little preparation and work, you will be on your way to enjoying your own home-grown, delicious fresh produce!