Fruits and vegetables not only contain an abundance of natural vitamins and minerals, but the variety of flavors and colors make them a great compliment to any meal, and a tasty snack even on their own.
With April being National Garden Month, this is a great time to start growing your own fruits and vegetables, and starting an edible garden! Homegrown fruits and vegetables are usually much tastier than store-bought fruits and vegetables, due in part to them being fresher. Homegrown fruits and vegetables are more cost-effective than buying them in the store as well.
Growing your own edible garden is also a great activity for children and adults to do together. Children can be involved with decision-making by helping to decide what to plant and where; and they can help research what each plant’s needs are for water, sun, and food. Planting an edible garden may also help children become more motivated to eat healthier foods, and try different types of fruits and vegetables that are new to them.
Don’t have a yard to plant an edible garden? Pot gardens are also a great way to grow your own fruits and vegetables if you do not have the space for a garden in the ground, and many cities are starting community gardens. Seed companies have numerous plant varieties that are suitable for pot gardens and small spaces—just look for words such as bush, compact, and space saver on the packaging. Don’t forget that pot gardens need to be watered more often than plants in the ground.
If you are not comfortable with growing your own edible garden, make a visit to your local farmers market. Vendors enjoy giving out samples of their products, and this is another great way to try out fruits and vegetables that you have never tasted before. In addition, the produce prices at farmers markets are often lower than grocery stores due to lower overhead.
Wondering about organic produce? The organic food industry has been experiencing a tremendous growth. However, there is much confusion as to what organic really means. The National Organic Program sets the standards for growing organic food in the United States. These standards state that organic food must be produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. You can grow your own organic edible garden by avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Enjoy growing your healthy, edible garden!