Healthy Life: Grow your own

It used to be commonplace to grow your own veggies and herbs when I was growing up. My mother had a backyard garden and so did most of her friends. My husband grew up in a family where his father had been a farmer in his home country and continued the tradition with an extensive backyard garden when he came to Canada. So this spring, my husband and I decided it was time we did the same! It’s the perfect way to combine an old family tradition with our current family goals to eat clean, organic and local as well as promote good ecological practices.

So where to start? Pinterest is a great place to start collecting ideas but I found some of the most concise, easy to follow information in the book Food to Grow by Frankie Flowers. Written for the novice backyard farmer as well as the more experienced among us, the book makes it easy to grow your own fruits, veggies and herbs in any space.

We decided to start with some basic veggies that we knew our kids would eat. This decision was done on purpose to pique their interest in the whole process from the initial planting to tending to the garden and finally to enjoying the veggies on their plates. Lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots plants will be their babies for the spring and summer.

Step one is to build raised beds and protect them from our neighbors; the bunnies and squirrels....Luckily the book teaches you exactly how to do this! Next is to prep the beds with the right soil and add the seeds and seedlings. The book really spells out the process in an easy to follow and fun way. It takes you through how to plant and properly care for almost every type of food plant from the basic to the more complicated.

As a family that aims to eat clean and teach our children how to make healthy choices, having a backyard garden just makes sense. Gardening is a reason to go outside and be in the fresh air, a reason to be active, it’s a way to eat local and truly learn where your food comes from. When you buy at the grocery store you don’t know the journey your produce took to get there and you really have no idea how many times it has been sprayed with pesticides. Grow at home and you know the answers to all these questions.

Like all other changes, I always suggest starting small. Take on too much and it will be overwhelming. Small changes are fun, easy and a great way to instill new habits. Get your family involved and make this the summer that you enjoy your very own veggies on the BBQ!

Health and fitness coach, runner and blogger at Montreal Runner Mom, Jennifer’s easy and simple approach to clean eating makes living a healthy lifestyle manageable for busy moms on-the-go. Follow Jennifer to learn how making basic changes in your meal planning can be both delicious and nutritious.