More and more people today are passing on the highly processed foods in favor of more natural options. Organic foods are widely available at many grocers. Eating organic is a great way to improve the quality of food that your are feeding to your family, but they are more expensive and even the meaning of “organic” is questionable in some cases.
Many don’t realize just how easy is is to grow your own food. By growing your own food you get all the great benefits that organic products provide and you get the joy and satisfaction of providing for your family straight out of the garden in your back yard. On top of this, it’s a great learning experience for your children. It’s more important today than ever to teach your children to make smart food decisions. What better way than to teach them where their food actually comes from?
Growing your own food isn’t nearly as difficult as many think. You don’t need a “farm”, acres of land, equipment or any special knowledge. You just need a few square feet of dirt and a little bit of time. With a little work and patience, you can provide great organic produce from your own back yard.
Vegetables are the easiest type of produce to grow on your own. Vegetable plants are extremely hardy, even for those with a “brown thumb”. They’re also a great choice if you have a small garden. Leafy vegetables such as kale have a small footprint and will regrow after you harvest the leaves. One small plant will provide a continual source of produce.
Herbs are another great choice as they are hearty, grow well in most climates, have a small footprint, and continue to grow after you harvest. Herbs tend to be expensive in the store so having a fresh supply at home will save you a ton if you use them frequently.
Fruits are a little trickier since most grow on trees that require special care and attention. Apple, pear and peach trees tend to break easily with wind or ice. Their fruit is difficult to protect from bugs without using insecticides. Eliminating fruit trees doesn’t prevent you from growing fruits though. Berries are a great choice for backyard gardens. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries aren’t especially difficult to grow and will produce a great harvest if cared for properly. They have a fairly small footprint and your kids will love sneaking a snack when they help you harvest.
If you do have some land, nut trees are a great addition to your garden. They are one of the few home-grown protein sources that are easy to produce. Pecans are a great choice if you don’t have much experience with nut trees. They grow great in most climates and are easy to care for. It’s recommended that you buy grafted trees, as they will produce nuts in 3-4 years compared with 15 years for a seedling. If your local nursery doesn’t carry grafted pecan trees, you can buy pecan trees at willisorchards.com.
Another reason that pecans are a great choice is that you only need one or two trees. These trees can grow up to 100 feet tall and produce hundreds of pounds of nuts each year. Harvesting is easy since the tree will drop the nuts when ripe. Nuts that don’t drop are easy to shake loose from branches. If you have younger children, they will love this part of the process!
The Fruits of Your Labor
Eating the actual fruits of your labor is extremely satisfying. There’s an intangible quality that’s hard to describe until you experience it for yourself. You know exactly what your family is eating. There’s no question about chemicals that may have been used on the food, how long it was sitting on a truck, who touched it, what it was cross contaminated with, or a whole host of questions that you can ask about store-bought produce. Your hands are the only hands that have ever touched the product that you’re eating. You know what your family is eating and few things bring greater joy and satisfaction than that.