Home Vegetable Gardening: The New Prescription From Doctors and Nutritionists

While finishing up a project I was working on the other night, I was flipping through TV stations to at least put something on that was watchable as background noise. I came across an infomercial selling some new great weight loss product that is guaranteed to give you those 6 pack abs and rock hard muscles in as little as 20 minutes a day.

As luck would have it, I was able to catch the fine print after the narrator uttered those words that read, “results may vary and were based on a combination of proper exercise and eating 3 healthy meals every day for 12 weeks.”

I am not a dietitian or nutrition expert but common sense would leave me to believe that a healthy eating regimen combined with exercise would yield a healthier “you” with or without that piece of equipment that costs 4 easy payments of $99 per month.

The commercial, if nothing else, did make me think about something and that was how can you tie in a home vegetable garden with a healthier eating lifestyle. I mean, after all, fruits and veggies by definition are healthy for you.

I recently brought up this topic to food and nutrition expert Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, author of the book The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment and the creator of the DVD, Pressure Cooking, A Fresh Look: Delicious Dishes in Minutes.

Jill is a registered dietitian who also teaches cooking classes. She recommends to her students that they should always grow their own fruits and vegetables. She had one student who grew a large garden and was able to lose 10 pounds by adding into her healthy eating habits the fresh fruits and veggies she grew herself.

Freshness, flavor, likeliness of consumption and pick what you need are just some of the reasons why Jill recommends to her students that they grow their own. Vegetables you grow yourself will always be fresher than what you can buy in the store and have a better flavor too. She says that you are more likely to consume what you grow since you will be growing what you like to eat and she says that waste will be at a minimum because you can wait and harvest only what you will consume.

Jill also recommends, “anyone who can grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs do so in an effort to be sure that they are getting the freshest, best and unsprayed produce. The flavor and freshness will be much improved. Also in the growing process, people get a lot of spiritual nourishment. You can’t get that from buying your vegetables. And almost everyone can grow a small pot of herbs of some sort.”

Requisites of the Home Vegetable Garden

The mystery and secrets about good vegetable planting and growing has been closely guarded by commercial farmers for many years discouraging many to try it out on a smaller scale. Although commercial farmers are doing a great job in keeping the millions fed, they are often force driven by profits and quantity over quality. Most garden operations were made to seem a difficult and enormous undertaking and was seen to be done only by those with large plots of land and lots of time and money, but all that has changed. With a recent rebirth of gardening and vegetable planting, knowledge on the subject is more widely diffused than ever before, and combined with the science of photography has helped greatly in reintroducing and telling the beginner or learner how things should and could be done easier and cheaper. As for having a plot of land, no patch of land is too tiny to create a wonderful home vegetable garden.

In deciding upon the site for the home vegetable garden, you would want to dispose once and for all of the old idea that a garden “patch” must be an ugly spot behind the shed or that you’d need a large acre plot to attempt to grow vegetables. Having a well thought out vegetable garden layout, carefully planted and thoroughly cared for, may be made out to be a beautiful and harmonious feature of any home and lending a touch of a homeliness that no shrub or flower bed can ever produce.

Keeping this in mind you might not feel so restricted in any part, specially if it has always been thought to be out of sight behind the barn or garage. In the average moderate sized yard there will not be much choice as to where to start. Using what you have and doing the very best that you can with it based on, firstly, exposure, and secondly, convenience.

Exposure is of first importance to consider in picking out the spot if it is to yield happiness and delicious vegetables all summer an possibly for many years to come. You need to find the “earliest” spot, meaning where it catches the sun first and holds it late, preferably on a piece of ground sloping slightly to the south or east if possible. Using a raised bed garden could help if you don’t have a naturally sloping plot. Make sure the home vegetable garden is out of the direct path of the chilling north and northeast winds. If you have a building or and fence on this side of the garden then it will help wonderfully. If it is not already protected then you can use a board fence, or a hedge of some low-growing shrubs or young evergreens even in this matter. Too often the importance of having such a protection or shelter is altogether underestimated by the amateur.

Another consideration would be to select a spot near at hand, easy to access. It may seem unlikely that it makes a difference of only a few hundred yards, but considering that you will be wanting to do this during your spare moments for working in and for watching the garden, a matter of convenient access will be of much greater importance than first thought off. It’s not until you have had to make a dozen time wasting trips for forgotten tools or more seeds, or ended up with soaking wet feet by going out through dew drenched grass that you will fully realize what this means.

These days plenty is written on the subject of vegetable planting and learning how to grow vegetables, creating your own home vegetable garden layout has definitely come back into fashion. Knowing all about how to grow your own vegetables has become easier than ever before and can even be great fun and educational when you get the kids involved.

Useful Ways to Create a Better Home and Garden

In areas where the cold has begun to thaw out and there are dry sunny days, you know that it is that time of the year again when it is time to rake snow mold off lawns. If the soil is too wet, do not venture out as this may damage the soil. Before starting work in the garden make sure, the soil is crumbly and not sodden. Air out your home and start getting ready for spring. Make a checklist of the gardening equipment required, empty out window boxes and birdbaths and get them ready for re-potting and watering. Be innovative and create a garden trellis for a new look.

Brighten the first weeks of spring

Make a checklist of what seeds you would like to plant. Flowers and vegetable seedlings are available in packets at many home stores. Towards the end of March and early April would be the ideal potting time but preparations require time and it is a useful home and garden tip to plan sensibly a vegetable patch apart from the usual flowering beds, which highlight the garden d├ęcor. It is a good idea to plant some bare-root woody plants first. Remove all dried grass and shrubs, piled under snow. Check if mulches are in place or if they have been heaved. Protectors like burlap etc., aid in protecting the soil from unnecessary plants shooting up.

Record bloom times as part of the plan

Select flowers and vegetables that grow well in this cool season. A good choice of garden vegetables would include cabbage, broccoli, kohl-rabi, brussel sprouts and even broccoli. A useful home and garden idea is to start planting small compact seedlings like leeks and onion indoors at this time. Transplant them outdoors when they start sprouting and the weather gets warmer. Flowers that do well at this part of the year would be ephemerals. These little flowers rear their pretty heads between March and early April and disappear when the heat comes on. Depending on the area one is in, one can plant flowers like hydrangeas, peonies, pansies, daffodils and roses.

Look out for those pests

The wet soil gives rise to a host of pests like the mealy bugs, spider mites and scale insects. Several useful home and garden insect repellents and sprays are available in home stores that take care of these mites successfully. Preparing your own compost in one corner of the garden is a good idea as it provides manure to your plants. Make your garden bloom this season.