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  • Writer's pictureElise Johnson

10 Reasons to Plant a Backyard Garden

Updated: 3 days ago

Picture of a beautiful, lush green backyard. A picture of fresh herbs above a quote that says Hapiness held is the seed, happiness shared is the flower. John Hartigan
Backyard Garden

With Earth Day right around the corner and my sweet neighbors generosity and example, I am really considering creating a little backyard garden. I have always wanted a garden, and when I say garden, I mean a backyard filled with plentiful herbs, fruit trees, and vegetables of all kinds just like my favorite cousins, Mary and Val, had in Connecticut years ago. I remember enjoying the zucchini, onions, and tomatoes right out of their garden. What a joy! There is nothing like a homegrown tomato or those who share the fruits of their labor with you!

In the past, I have planted several herbs lIke various types of basil, chives, oregano, and tomatoes. Although my garden, which consisted of a couple of large pots filled with herbs and tomatoes on our back porches was small, the feelings received from the caring and nurturing of these plants far exceeded my expectations. Those pots led to several tomato basil salads that were the best we ever had! Unfortunately, that was many years ago. I do not have a green thumb, but my sweet neighbor, Tish, has assured me that I can in fact create a beautiful garden in my backyard with ease and love.

During the beginning of the pandemic, my neighbor and her family decided to try their hand at creating a little family garden. We are so fortunate as we have been the recipients of the fruits of their labor on many occasions. Last year, Tish brought over fresh tomatoes and basil (my all-time favorite!) several times. This weekend, Tish kindly surprised us with an incredibly generous amount of fresh sage, oregano, and kale that their family had lovingly grown and then shared with us. The herbs were lovingly tied with twine and the aroma from the sage and oregano was divine. The kale was soft and beautiful. How fortunate are we to have such wonderful neighbors! Their little garden is now a beautiful oasis filled with several raised beds and fruit trees.

Over the years, Tish has been kind enough to allow me to tour her family’s backyard garden. Her eyes light up when sharing her family’s time together in the garden. Her children love helping in the garden and Cocoa, their beloved dog, enjoys running around the yard and sharing an occasional head of cabbage with a bunny who now calls their yard home. Tish chuckled as she told me the story of the rabbit and Cocoa - clearly everyone is enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Our sweet granddaughter has also been enjoying the time spent with Poppy planting a vegetable garden. My son’s father-in-law recently retired. He truly has a green thumb, so I can only imagine how successful in his endeavor will be!

After a walk one evening this week, Tish brought me back to the garden and began encouraging me to create my own garden by sharing her enthusiasm, tips, tricks which made me feel like I could actually be successful at planting my own backyard garden. Perhaps I begin by planting one raised bed?

Here are ten reasons (there are many more) to plant your own backyard garden.

1. Family time: Spending valuable time with your family by getting everyone involved in the garden from the planning, to the preparation of the soil, choosing the seeds and plants, planting the seeds, nurturing the seeds and plants, harvesting, eating and cooking the fruits of their labor helps everyone appreciate where their food cames from. You and your children will be filled with a sense of pride, too. And that appreciation leads to eating more slowly and enjoying each bite you take. You are also creating memories that will last a lifetime.

I was sitting with a client who happens to be the daughter of a dear neighbor and her family this weekend as we laughed and talked about their sweet husband, father, neighbor, dear friend who recently passed on. As his grown children and grandchildren spoke about him, they recalled the time he invested in the family garden and the wonderful fruits and vegetables they enjoyed as well as the cherished time they shared with their father out in nature. It was a privilege to hear such stories and to see the joy in the eyes as they spoke of their amazing dad and husband.

2) The second reason to plant a gArden is due to the skyrocketing prices of groceries, especially organic foods, which are often discarded each week. You won’t throw out as many fruits and vegetables if you only take what you need each day from your garden. Isn’t that wonderful?

3) Free from pesticides: You will bless yourself and your family with nutrient-dense foods free from pesticides and herbicides. The foods will not be picked before ripened and will not lose their nutrients while traveling. You can pick and enjoy them the same day! Need a healthy snack? Wouldn’t it be fun to simply step out in the yard and enjoy nature while picking a few strawberries or tomatoes for a snack. Doesn’t that sound wonderfu?

4) Enjoy your food while eating responsibly: A macrobiotic diet is crucial for our health. A conscious diet means that we are thinking about each bite of food we eat and beverage we drink, and how it affects us at a cellular level. By this, I mean that the foods we eat are not simply energy which is used for activities and processes from running and jumping and digestion, but also affect the quality our cells, tissues, organs and mind. The food you eat directly affects the repair process of your cells and you have trillions of them.

5) Connecting with nature: Planting and nurturing your own garden helps us to become one with nature and our Creator who gave us the most delicious and amazing plants to enjoy. Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs also helps us to balance what is on our plates and potentially encourages us to eat and enjoy more fruits and vegetables which we know are crucial for our optimal health. And just think about the fresh air and the time in the morning sun which will help to create the cholesterol and the vitamin d that your body needs.

6) Helps to redefine your relationship with food: “You are what you eat.” We’ve all heard this common, but very powerful saying. Having a healthy relationship with food is vital to our wellness. Are you giving your body processed foods or the whole, nutrient-dense foods you need? Nurturing a backyard garden will help us increase the fresh fruits and vegetables that will keep us healthy. Enjoying and crowding in fresh, homegrown nutrient-dense foods will help us crowd out processed foods and your palate will begin to know the difference, too!

7) Safer food: We have all looked up that bag of spinach or salad mix which was recalled hoping we did not purchase, or even worse, consume a package that was deemed unsafe to eat. By growing your own food, you will not have to worry about the contamination from farms, manufacturing plants or during delivery. You know the food is not only safe because it was grown in your backyard, but was loved and tended to, which also affects the quality of the plants and therefore the quality of the food you eat.

8) Less of an environmental impact: The little garden that I am dreaming about will actually affect the planet. Growing food without the use of pesticides or herbicides cuts down on air and water pollution. Less fossil fuel is produced because the food is not being transported from state to state or from around the world. It is coming directly from your backyard.

9) Soil and your health: Healthy soil produces healthy crops that directly affects your body on a cellular level. Planting your own food helps you control what you are putting into your body. This makes me very excited about starting my own little garden. The soil the food is planted in directly affects the plants through its‘ nutrients, water, oxygen, and root support which the plants need to grow and thrive. Damaged soil results in undernourished, unhappy plants and healthy food which leads to undernourished, unhappy, and ultimately unhealthy people.

10) Neighborly love: Spreading the ripple effect of optimal health is so important and being a living example of taking steps to live a healthier, happier life is one way we can create this ripple effect. Watching my neighbors has encouraged me to also create a garden and many of my neighbors are now planting fruit trees in their yards. And as you know, sharing their food touched me greatly and led to not only this post, but it deepened my desire to create my own backyard happy place!

So, here’s to hopefully a harvest that I can share with my family, friends, and neighbors in the future! I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a garden you are proud of? Please share in the comment section any tips and tricks, things you’ve learned, and perhaps even tag me at nourish.with.elise with pictures of your gardens or the beautiful, bountiful produce you’ve so lovingly cared for!

Happy gardening!

Elise xo

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23 apr. 2023
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Gonna head to Home Depot to get my bags of organic soil and refresh the soil from my previous years of planting. Where do other folks like to get their seeds?? Aleisa

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