As an adult, it has always been a fantasy of mine to see if I can live completely off my land for a year. I realize the likelihood of being able to do this completely without relying on outside commercialism is low. However, I can certainly be doing SO MUCH BETTER than I am right now.
My husband and I currently live on 1/8th of an acre.
Our dogs basically own the backyard, and since they are young and full of insane amounts of energy, we have mostly left that space open for them to run around.
Right now, we have 1 peach tree, 2 concord grape vines and 1 rosemary bush that will never die. Outside of that, we purchase all of our other fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Fortunately for us, we are surrounded by farms, but this has also made me complacent in my efforts to grow some of my own food, which was fine until a few weeks ago when COVID hit.
Like so many others, I tried to limit my trips to my local co-op to 1x per week. Which has been fine since the majority of the vegetables I purchase from there last a really long time.
Since the co-op purchases the majority of their produce from local farms, the time from harvest to my kitchen is very short. This expands the lifespan of that vegetable (and the nutrient density of that vegetable!). So I quickly found that almost everything we eat regularly lasted an entire week.
Everything except lettuce.
And boy do we eat A LOT of lettuce. So much that I would swing by the co-op every other day for more!
But that all recently came to a halt. And it made me realize that this is the perfect time to start growing my own fresh lettuces!
Luckily, my good friend is also a garden consultant and she has a deep-rooted love for helping people grow their own food from home. So I’ve had her over to my house for a consultation and I’m eager to get started being more self-sufficient with my efforts to grow my own food.
What I have found is that many of us are feeling this same pull to self-sufficiency. So rather than keeping all of this amazing information to myself, I have asked my garden consultant friend, Sara, to come onto my blog and share some of her favorite tips for growing your own food from home.
She will focus on delicate foods that don’t last in the fridge for very long but that are also very easy to grow. We plan to talk about herbs, lettuce, and even edible flowers! At the end of each blog, I’ll share one of my favorite recipes or tips to help you take your food from the garden to your table.
Before Sara joins us, however, I wanted to share with you 3 reasons why, even after this pandemic is over, we should still prioritize getting our green finger polished!
Did you know that approximately 20% of fresh vegetables in the US come from overseas? That “fresh” vegetable traveled thousands of miles likely for several days to get to you.
How fresh can that really be?
Every single day that a vegetable is away from its native plant and native soil, it is no longer being fed. Instead, it is using up store nutrients to keep itself alive.
That means less nutrients are available for you when you actually get around to eating it.
It is estimated that vegetables today have up to 40% less nutrients than their counterparts from just one century ago.
Beyond the distance traveled for these commercial grown fruits and vegetables, many of the commercial crops have been genetically modified and/or grown to prioritize yield instead of quality.
This means more fruit/vegetables are available from the same plant/soil, but that also means each fruit/vegetable has less nutrients available inside of it.
If reaching optimal health is a goal, we need to prioritize nutrient rich foods!
When you grow your own food, you make this possible by using soil rich in nutrients, natural fertilizers, and growing practices that don’t deplete your soil and plants.
2. NO RECALLS!
Remember that spinach recall in 2019? I don’t know about you, but when I buy fresh produce, I fully believe I’m doing good things for my body.
I certainly don’t expect to get E. coli, salmonella, or listeria because I’m eating well!
And guess what? It is estimated that just 2% of the produce imported from overseas is inspected. 2%!!!
No wonder we have issues with recalls.
When you grow your own food, YOU control the environment. That means that you can use clean water and safe fertilizers to ensure your plants are getting all the nutrients they need without worrying about getting sick from them!
3. IT CAN SAVE YOU MONEY!
Depending on the food you love to eat, certain foods have been shown to be much cheaper to grow at home than to purchase.
If you notice, these plants continue to provide harvest throughout the growing season which means they save you money in the end.
Single yield plants, such as radishes, carrots, garlic and onions, all yield one vegetable per seed, so you only get 1 harvest.
They can be fun to grow, and the taste can certainly go well beyond something you would get in the grocery store. Plus, don’t forget what I said in #1 and #2 above!
But if we’re talking strictly about money, they may cost you more to grow than to buy. So if saving money is a priority for you, look to get these single yield vegetables from a farmers market instead.
These are just 3 reasons to start gardening but there are so many. Including spending more time outdoors (hello, Vitamin D!) and stress relief (which we can ALL use more of these days!)
I am so excited to have Sara on the blog so I truly hope you come back to check out all of her tips so that you can continue to take the steps necessary to get closer to optimal health!
My hope is that you can be inspired by this stay-at-home order to grow and homemake more of your own food.
So, let me know what else you want to grow at home!
Let’s use this as an opportunity to be more self-sufficient AND create new habits that can support our health for years!
Tiana Rockwell is a certified nutritional therapist, avid endurance athlete and dark chocolate lover. She believes that by eating REAL food, we can balance our body and reach optimal health and wellness!