Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Let It Grow

I started out last week with a flurry of new ideas for blog posts, and then mid-week I came down with a case of the cruds: sore throat, achy head and neck, fatigue. With a busy schedule, blog posts had to wait until I could recover. But it’s a new week and I’m feeling much better, so here we go.

My first topic this week is the physical and nutritional benefits of gardening. Now that most of us are enjoying spring weather, the time is right to think about planting a garden. You don’t have to sacrifice a large portion of your yard. Even if you live in an apartment or condo, you can still use containers to grow your plants, or look for a community garden in your area. Tending a garden as a family accomplishes several things: First, it provides wholesome food to feed your family, which can also save time, money and gas, since you don’t have to make that trip to the store when you need a few tomatoes for a recipe. Second, it can be a great workout. Pulling weeds and digging in the soil can increase your heart rate and strengthen yoru arms and back. And finally, it gives each member of the family a chance to contribute to a group project.

Homegrown produce always tastes best! By growing your own, you will know exactly which products were used on your fruits and vegetables. Kids love to “get dirty” and can help by putting plants in the ground and watering. And don't forget the physical benefits: A 150-pound person can burn 286 calories by gardening for an hour.

A garden can also be a source of pride. Even young children can literally see the fruits (or veggies, or even flowers) of their labors and say, “I helped create that!” Taking care of something and watching it grow and prosper carries over to other lessons in life. Besides, at the end of a warm summer day, there is nothing like sitting on the back porch and enjoying a bowl of homegrown strawberries with your family.

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