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Garden-225x300I was at a family gathering today and realized just how weird I really am! My mom is the oldest of nine children, 8 girls and 1 boy. (Can you imagine how the bathroom situation worked in the morning?? They only had two bathrooms!) Her sisters are all fun to talk to – lots of ideas and opinions about most anything.

At lunch today I was talking to one of those sisters, my aunt Connie, about investment options and life insurance. She mentioned a couple of books she had read on the subject. I’ve read some of the same books, and said that I often only get 2/3 of the way through because there are just so many other books I’d rather be reading. For example, the current page-turner I’m reading called “The Holistic Orchardist”. Or “Small Scale Poultry Farmer”, or “Edible Landscaping – Have your yard and eat it too”… Can you see why I can’t wait to get back to my books at night??

This is where the weird factor came in. Who reads these kinds of books? Who enjoys that stuff so much? I guess I do. I’m embracing it!

This time of year I get lots of questions about gardening, so in the spirit of embracing my weirdness, I’d like to share some of the info with you too. The biggest problem I see when people get excited about gardening is that their desire is bigger than the reality of what they can handle. They plant a huge garden with lots of variety, only to see it all fry in the summer sun or get smothered by weeds. So the first rule of gardening is plant what you will eat. The second is just as important – plant what you can handle. Let me give you some pointers:

Ask yourself two questions:

  1. What are the top ten things your family buys most from a store?
  2. What are the top five things you buy that come in a box or package?

Question #1 – Are there any vegetables or fruit on your top ten list of things you buy? If not, perhaps your first goal should be to change that! If there are, could you grow any of those things for your family?

We use a lot of spinach and kale for our daily green smoothies. We were buying 4 containers of spinach a week from Costco. So I planted a big bed of spinach in the fall, and it’s going absolutely gangbusters right now. Why is that a big deal? Here’s some of my ideas:

  • Fresh food is fresh. That sounds pretty simple, but it’s true! That means it tastes better and is better for you.
  • I don’t have to worry about contaminated spinach – you know you’ve read those stories on the news. I know where my food comes from, what the soil is like, what it’s been watered with, and that it hasn’t been sprayed with any chemicals. That’s a big deal.
  • You will save money. That saved me about $20 a week. That’s not a ton, but it adds up.
  • You will feel good about providing for yourself, and will know how if the need ever arises.

Questions #2 – If you buy things from a box or a package, can you substitute something homemade?

I like granola and it’s an easy late night snack for my ravenous teenagers. That was one of our top five – boxed granola. Well, I’ve found an amazing raw granola recipe, and I’ve tweaked it to be something my family loves. Why is this a big deal?

  • The granola I make has no preservatives or additives in it. It also has no sugar (sweetened with soaked and pureed raisins).
  • I make enough to last a few weeks, so I don’t have to think about going to the store when we are out.
  • I know that the nutritional content of my homemade granola is higher than anything that comes in a box. They have done some studies that show the box is more nutritious than the cereal it holds!

So this gives you a guide for what you should grow in your garden. The things you would ordinarily be buying.

That’s a good first lesson. So I want all of you to think about my two questions and answer them. There is always a way to get a garden if your reason for a garden is a big enough deal. Find your reason, and I will keep helping you learn how in the upcoming posts.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Dr. Michelle Jorgensen

This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.

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