Blog written by: Lindsay Peter-Contesse – Owner, Nashville Autoimmune Nutrition
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If you had told me ten years ago that I would love gardening I probably would have laughed in your face. I could never keep anything alive. But something shifted about five years ago when a neighbor gave us mint for one of our empty pots…I kept it alive! We gradually added more herbs over the next two years. The third year in our house we started watching a farming show on YouTube, Justin Rhodes. This is a family of 6 that has a beautiful homestead in North Carolina. Something drew me to create more beauty and grow our own food. I figured, hey, if they can do this with 4 kids, we can do a few raised beds with 1 kid.
So we built three raised beds, bought some seedlings and off we went! Now we have an 8×20’ garden bed (currently growing zucchini and horseradish), blueberry and blackberry bushes, the three raised beds full of peppers, lettuces, herbs, cauliflower, and broccoli, bunches of herbs, and a Tower Garden (more on that later). Every year we seem to add more.
I used to be intimidated thinking about gardening and growing our food. Starting small and simple really helped me get into it. So if you’re in the same boat I used to be in (“But everything I grow dies”), start small and see if you like it.
Here are some benefits of growing your own food:
1. Getting your hands in the dirt helps ground you and get you in the present moment.
2. It can relieve stress.
3. Gardening connects you to nature.
4. It allows you to connect with your kids.
5. It connects your kids to nature and their food. This also encourages them to try new foods.
6. Gardening gets you outside and into the best source of vitamin D (the sun!).
7. Financial savings. Seeds are extremely cheap and seedlings are reasonable. All you need is the ground or a pot, dirt, seeds (or starts), and a little bit of time. Ron Finley, community activist, is a master gardener and he teaches on how to reuse things around your house (like a dresser drawer) to start growing! Which leads me to my last point:
8. Gardening can be a creative outlet. I am not one that is particularly artistic or creative in the typical creative sense. Gardening allows me to tap into a creative space I didn’t know existed.
9. Growing your own food is fun and empowering!
Now more on the tower gardens. This is a great start for those that do not have a lot of space and cannot seem to keep things alive. It is easy to set up, maintain and quite fruitful in a short period of time. It is an upfront cost (can do 12 monthly payments) but it pays itself back quickly in the amount of produce you get off of it, especially if you re-plant it 2-4 times per year for multiple harvests. Plus you can grow outside and inside! This year was the first year we grew plants inside during the fall/winter. I was shocked at how well it did inside. This summer on our tower garden we’re growing strawberries, lettuces, swiss chard, bok choy, collard greens, and kale. For more info or to purchase, visit this link: Tower Garden
I provide nutritional counseling for a company in Nashville that invests in the health of their employees. They put the Tower Garden Home (picture on left, below) in their office kitchen last year to encourage their employees to be exposed to fresh grown vegetables and have free reign to eat straight off the tower garden to supplement or add to their meals. The one on the right is the Flex that we have at our house. If space is limited or you plan to grow primarily inside, the Home is the best option (it’s smaller).
So get outside, grab some dirt, and give it a shot!
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