I (Betsy) really enjoy being outside. So, I'm attempting a vegetable garden again. My husband and I don't merely grow a few tomatoes in a pot on a patio; oh, no--he clears a 25x25-foot space in the back yard, fencing it in so the dogs can't get to it, and we buy plants...lots of plants. One time, in Atlanta, when we were really into roses, we bought 30 rose bushes during the course of the year. Needless to say, we frequently purchase more than we can successfully grow. This year, I kept it rather smaller than our last attempt: 12 tomato plants of various types/sizes, 8 sweet pepper plants, 1 jalapeno plant, 6 cucumber plants, various herbs to add to our existing (and thriving) herb garden, and seeds for the plants I couldn't find already started (bush beans, radishes, butternut squash, etc.). Essentially, we're planting food we will actually consume: cucumbers, salsa and tomato sauce ingredients (we have a big canner), etc. Since we don't like zucchini much (unless it's camouflaged in something like Meatless Manicotti), we're not planting that prolific producer this year.
Benefits so far (and I don't even have the plants in the ground!)
- HOURS of entertainment for my toddler who is "helping" Mommy.
- Significant exercise since I'm turning under the ground via a big shovel and hoe.
- Lots of great time experiencing the great outdoors and getting Vitamin D through sun exposure.
- Free daytime activity for aforementioned toddler and Mommy
- Nature lessons on the fly (today we let an orange ladybug crawl all over me and stretch its little wings)
- Great fun for toddler while little brothers are napping.... (did I mention she loves to be outside?!)