With winter’s last big hurrah finally behind us (cross fingers, knock on wood, say the rosary), homeowners in Edmonton can finally start dreaming about summertime, and planning all the ways they’re going to soak up the few months of warmth we’re about to have. But wait… we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic. Well, that really narrows down the options a bit. I guess it’s safe to say that, for people like myself, our backyards are finally going to receive a little attention. I’d love to sit back there with a cold drink on a hot day without that dead rosebush staring at me from the other end of the yard. And not just that. I want a garden. But not just your run-of-the-mill decorative flower garden with a few herbs (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I want a full-blown vegetable garden, like the one my grandparents had. I remember the shiny red tomatoes and the huge zucchini and picking peas from the vine and snacking on them in their backyard. It was heaven. And here’s five more reasons (aside from my childhood reminiscences) why you too should consider planting a garden in whatever green space you have available to you: And no! It’s not too late! 1) GET OUTSIDE! I know it might seem like an obvious one, but for me and others like me, it’s not so cut and dry. Sometimes work keeps me so busy that by the time I get home I forget how rejuvenating being outside can be, so I just plain don’t go out there. A garden, while not overly demanding, does require a bit of daily tending to. A bit of weeding here, some watering… and bam! You might have found yourself outside for a solid half-hour or so! 2) LIFE SKILLS! Ever wonder why so many of our grandparents grew gardens? Well, during WWI and WWII the Canadian government (as well as many other nations) asked their citizens to grow veggie gardens in their backyards to reduce the strain on the food supply. These would come to be known as Victory Gardens because they not only supplemented the country’s rations but also boosted morale. With all the wartime news of death and gloom watching little sprouts of life poke up through the soil really helped to keep people’s spirits lifted. We tend to think of the convenience of hitting up a supermarket as a reason not to bother planting fruits or veggies since it takes a while for them to grow, but have you ever considered that you might enjoy eating food you’ve grown yourself even more? With the time investment you put into your garden, the fruits and veggies are much less likely to go bad in the fridge. Worried about having such a successful garden that you’ll end up with more than you need? Consider giving your extra to friends or family who might not have space to plant their own gardens. Spread joy, not Covid! 3) HEALTH! Maybe you’re the anomaly who says, “More nutrients? I’m drowning in nutrients over here!” Okay, fine then. You’re the nut I can’t crack with this point. But as for the rest of us, it might be worth knowing that you’re probably not getting as much nutritional value from your store-bought veggies as you think you are. Fruits and veggies being trucked in from Mexico or the US lose precious nutritional value on their long journey to your grocery store. And then how long might they end up sitting on that shelf before you’ve come along to buy it? Too long, I’m guessing. A fruit or vegetable holds its maximum nutritional value the moment you pick it and the longer it takes to make it to your plate the more that value depletes. But it’s not just the garden-to-plate timeline that impacts nutrition, it’s also the soil quality. The soil in which your fruits and veggies grow is the most direct contributor to the nutrient level of the produce. If the soil’s microbes are dead and the farmer is forced to rely on pesticides, how much nutrients is being passed along to that fruit or veggie? With a garden of your own, you have the opportunity to control the soil quality through the types of soil available to buy, or even by composting! Composting is a great way to reduce your contribution to our city’s landfill, which takes us to our next point. 4) REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT! To make lovely delicious soil that your fruit and veggies thrive on, you can either buy lovely delicious soil someone has already made, OR you can make it yourself! Composting is a fantastic way to reduce waste and put those fruit and veggie trimmings to good use. Once you have a composter (which there are a wide variety of on amazon, or you can make one yourself with some wooden pallets), the rest is super easy, and actually kind of fun! Watching all that paper and organic waste slowly becoming rich nutritive soil is pretty amazing and watching your kitchen garbage fill up more slowly is kind of awesome too! One simply astounding thing that growing veggies do is suck up carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to make the glucose they need, so even if you don’t get much usable food you’ve still done something wonderful for the environment by just planting something. Another thing to consider is that a garden supports a greener way of getting vegetables. Having big gas-guzzlers trucking veggies up from Mexico, or wherever, is less-than-ideal for our environment. Making a dent in the number of those trips needed to feed us starts one backyard garden at a time. 5) QUARANTINE ACTIVITIES! This summer could go one of three ways: Cases could come down enough for restrictions to lift a bit and allow people to travel and eat on patios and go to parks and attractions. Or, cases shoot up with the new variant and here comes lockdown 2021 (cross fingers, knock on wood… you get the idea). Or, something in between. Hopefully, our situation resembles the first option, but if there is anything the past year has taught us it is that presuming the future can prove a bit unwise. So, in case this summer falls anywhere within the spectrum of restrictions we’ve all become so accustomed to, having a garden is a fantastic way to spend some outdoor leisure time, either on one’s own or as a family. If you’ve got small kids, what could be a better way to teach them about nature and about where our food comes from than in a backyard garden they’ve helped to cultivate? Think of all the skills you could gain for yourself and potentially pass along to them. Appreciating nature in the comfort of your own backyard is a fantastic way to spend some family time. So, there it is. A little list to get you considering the idea of gardening in whatever outdoor space you have available to you. It really isn’t as intimidating as it seems (says the amateur in the preliminary stages of planning their first garden). Start as big or as small as you feel comfortable with, and remember, if you choose to undertake a garden, to give yourself permission to learn and make mistakes. I know I will. And I intend to keep you updated on my progress/failures with some future posts, so we can all have a good laugh at my expense. You can track those on my blog at https://www.edmontonrealestate.net. And who cares if you harvest a total of three carrots and one green cherry tomato? That’s still three (and a half) more veggies than you grew last year. And next year you’ll be even more prepared than you were this year because you’ll already have all the gear and have figured out where you got it right and where you went a bit off track. Regardless of your level of success, just by planting a fruit and veggie garden, you end up doing something really special for the environment and your community. And I think, after the year we’ve had we all deserve a Victory Garden.   Posted by Liv Real Estate on
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