Waiting for our house to be built can give me a lot of anxiety….which my son feels and then as a result becomes anxious himself. So what have we been doing to keep minds healthy? Lots of gardening and composting! A passion of ours has always been to grow healthy food. All food is not created equal. A Western diet has a very bold presence where we currently live but growing our own food is helping heal our minds and bodies.
It has been 6 months since we started on a serious quest to change our diets (mostly me but I invited my family along with me for the journey!) Focusing on filling my plate with healthy stuff rather than focusing on what I can’t eat is the biggest mind shift. When I fill our fridge with veggies, grown locally the better, homemade breads and less dairy, I notice positive changes in all aspects of my life. Now, it is difficult with a kid….the advertising on these products! He eats like every other Midwestern kid, however, still manages to avoid juice, sport drinks, most candies, and fried food. He will make these decisions when I am not around and I am so proud of him. We always spoke to him about the importance of healthy food choices and I hope this will follow him throughout his life. He knows if it grows in the ground, it is good to eat! If it comes in a box, lets think twice about our decisions. Easy. Simple. True.
Interested in our garden journey? I will walk you through our simple plans!
In early March, I decided to start our organic seedlings indoors under grow lights. Some plants I had to repot a few weeks prior to transplant to larger containers but majority did well in the egg cartons I saved over the past several months. I also used this time to put large tarps over the garden. I was trying to “suffocate” the weeds when the weather started to warm up outside. For the most part, this worked out very well! The grow lights were a huge game changer for us this year. Last year, I had seeds growing near every window of the house and that produced leggy seedlings that mostly did not survive transplant. I was fortunate to telework this spring and was able to harden the seedlings this year for several hours each day so they could survive grow lights to garden life. So far, all but the brussel sprouts made it!
During the transplant stage, I was proud that we filled majority of our garden with our very own compost. Composting is such an easy thing you can start today and requires very little effort. Even our 6 year old has figured out what items we recycle, compost or trash and incorporates it in his daily life habits. We saved a lot of money and our garden produced much better produce this year than last (see photos below!)
Next, we used straw bales to suppress the weeds that were popping up around the plants. I don’t have time to pull weeds and I can’t convince my 6 year old that this is a fun and exciting task (unless you have a secret then please share!) I also did a lot of reading on companion planting and how and where veggies grow the best. I will rotate these plants every year but so far it is working out well! We planted cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, rhubarb, pumpkins, pie pumpkins, okra, cabbage, broccoli, peas, cantaloupe, watermelon, sweet peppers, corn and jalapeno peppers. We also have two grape vines from one of our neighbors in Denver that we can happily report are doing well in Nebraska climate conditions!
Let’s discuss one final thing on healthy food habits before looking at those photos: if you want to make a change in your diet or interested in learning healthier ways to cook food or introduce new food into your diet, I highly recommend this blog https://foodpharmacyco.com/. Their vegan recipes are creative and not ones you find on pinterest. They have a cookbook available now (unfortunately only through Amazon) but I am sure they are the same recipes you can find on their blog. I dare you to be creative and try one out! I plan to try out more with some produce from our garden this summer….it’s looking like we may have some produce this year!
Are those chickens?! Stay tuned…update on our chicken endeavors in my next blog post!