The surprising benefits of growing vegetables at home
November 28, 2017
This is the garden of Kellie’s family when I met her and the same area today, 12 months down the track. An impressive before and after, I am sure you will agree.
In addition to the obvious changes to the look and feel of the garden space the family has experienced some surprising benefits and impacts of starting a vegetable garden. Kellie has shared her family’s experience with me here.
Kellie was the very first customer who trusted me to help, provide support and guidance on her family vegetable garden. She emailed me after hearing a podcast interview I did on Slow Your Home. I visited her garden to provide some recommendations on how her family could begin to grow vegetables in their space.
Kellie’s family purchase my DIY Service package. Her husband is a skilled handyman so he was able to create the infrastructure for the garden based on my recommendations. Infrastructure he did create, oh wow! Aren’t these raised beds he has built with the help of the kids absolutely gorgeous?
Let me tell you a little about this home before I tell you about the benefits the family have been experiencing: These words have been shared by Kellie.
We are a family of four, two adults and two children. Our girls were almost 9 and 6.5, when we commenced our program with Kyrstie. Plus three always hungry guinea pigs.
Our house block is 820 sq metres and the backyard space for planting was approximately 10m x 5m (total combined over several different areas) … with the front yard having 9m x 3 m for future fruit trees. We are located on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula.
Our yard was a blank slate with no garden area already existing for vegetables before calling upon Kyrstie’s help.
We had moved to our home two years prior and it mostly consisted of agapanthus, a hodge-podge of bushes and dying hedges, none of which had been previously well cared for.
I am pretty sure she was horrified at the state of our garden and the poor herbs and lettuces that were planted in “dirt” that was dry, rock hard and lacking any life or nutrients.
We decided to purchase the Kitchen Garden Box and the 12 month DIY package. We started with the purchase of a Vegepod that we filled ourselves( following Kyrstie’s detailed instructions), planting it out with the assistance of a Summer Plan from Kyrstie. We would see how we handled this and whether we were up to adding anything beyond that initial bed.
This program was a perfect choice for us, it enabled us to purchase our own materials for our first garden bed, fill it and plant it out as well as benefiting from Kyrstie’s advice throughout the next 12 months via the Kitchen Garden Box® seeds and tips, seasonal emails, a closed Facebook page and a follow up visit when required. A perfect fit!
I knew I had wanted to grow veggies somewhere as I had dabbled in some “hit and miss” gardening for the previous few years at our old home…throwing in seeds (no matter what season!) and seedlings from local farmers markets etc. It was very hit and miss, my technique was: plant, sometimes water, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
We worked on fixing up the inside of the house but almost daily I looked out our windows at our sad yard and wished I knew where to start.
We loved the back deck when we bought the house and had plans to make it a beautiful area to sit and entertain but after two years and no progress I did not enjoy sitting out on our back deck at all looking out to the bare and seemingly unloved yard. I would usually choose to take my lunch or cup of tea out to my daughters flower area in the front and sit on the step there, quite subconsciously I think as I guess it was just the happiness of her garden that drew me there.
The commonly recognised benefits of growing vegetables at home include having fresh organic produce on hand for meals and reduced trips to the shops, and of course the flavour and personal satisfaction that comes with a harvest of home grown produce. When the families I work with commence growing their own vegetables and herbs, it is the benefits they were not expecting that often bring the most job, and are the most valued. Kellie describes the surprising benefits her family have experienced.
~ The joy of looking out my kitchen window every day and seeing the gardens that provide nutritious food for our table and our bodies.
~ Knowing more about gardening has also led to a greater confidence when discussing plants, gardening and fruit and veggies with people such as market stall holders or soil suppliers and nurseries. In the past I was overwhelmed by choice or not sure the questions to ask as well as having no idea about much of the terminology these people would often use when talking about planting etc.
Now I am happy to ask questions and ask for explanations if I am not sure what they are talking about (I now know that “bolting” doesn’t mean to give up and run for the hills!).
~ I knew a garden would be a benefit to our children but didn’t anticipate that educating our children on the importance of gardening has meant a great deal to us and that has had a flow on effect, leading to teaching them about the seasons and seasonal eating as well as an appreciation for the hard work, time patience and dependence on weather that is required to produce healthy “real” food. As well as an appreciation for the amazing job farmers do. We often visit local farms and now the children (and parents) can appreciate the work that goes into each item our farmers produce for us to eat.
~ Being able to help out a small group of parents (all of us novices) maintain a small, usually neglected garden area at our daughters’ school has been such a joy. It is so rewarding to pass on knowledge and skills to the kids who work with us in small groups. Thanks to Kyrstie, my increasing knowledge and confidence is enabling me to teach our next generation the importance of growing your own food and things like feeding the soil, looking after the school worm farms, patiently waiting for things to grow, selecting what to plant at different times of the year, sun and shade, harvesting etc.
Such a rewarding experience that I might never have volunteered for if I hadn’t increased my own knowledge via Kyrstie’s program.
~ We love being able to share our produce with our neighbours or donate our surplus veggies to sell at the small stall our school “Greenthumbs” hold each week after assembly.
~ An enjoyment and appreciation of the garden opens your eyes to so many other aspects of nature and how amazing it can be. This is another totally unexpected but much appreciated flow on effect from “being” in the garden or “just learning to garden”.
~ I didn’t expect to feel the joy that I do daily as I wander through the garden each morning to grab ingredients for a breakfast smoothie or a salad for dinner. I usually plan to head out to quickly snip some mint or lettuce and then 20 minutes later I realise the kids are waiting for breakfast or hubby has finished barbecuing and is awaiting the salad. Time just slows down out in the garden which is a wonderful thing and there is always something else to check, pick or just stand and watch.
There are many more benefits and changes that growing vegetables has introduced to the life of this family. I’ll share them here next week.
I am not sure which of the benefits Kellie has described I find the most surprising, they each fill me with a great sense of joy that her and family have reached this point after such a short period of starting their vegetable garden. It is a credit to the family’s effort and vision and to Kellie’s desire to learn and pass on those learnings. The fact that she is taking what has been discovered in her home and sharing it broadly in her community is commendable. It has been an honor to be involved in this family’s journey. I am sure you will agree that their results are outstanding and the garden is both functional and beautiful.
Find out how your family can commence their own journey here, or click the image below.
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