Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gardening: Get Your Grandma On

I have a confession to make to all of you. I do not consider myself to be a grandma by any means, but I have a garden. By garden I mean I have like five vegetable plants, which I affectionately call my farm. Am I good at it? Not really. I try to talk like I know what I am doing, but I am really just an amateur. People seem to buy it though and act impressed when I tell them that I have a farm. Does this make me a grandma? I am not sure but without further ado, here is today's blog...

If you google image search gardening you are greeted by images of three types of people. These three types of people portrayed are as follows: grandmas, kids, and hipsters. Case in point….

This picture is starting to change a little bit. Gardening is starting to move away from just being a favorite hobby of grandmas and hipsters and is spreading to the wider public. With the gardening movement coming to campus with the UNC Charlotte Community Garden Club breaking ground on a garden for students this Friday, I figured there was no time like the present to write about gardening and briefly touch on local food.

Why do people garden?
Well, there are quite a few reasons as to why people garden but one of the biggest one is to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Yes, there are some people who grow things that are inedible, but my thought is why go through with the whole process if you can’t eat. Anyways, by growing your own produce you save yourself a trip to the grocery store.  With the cost of seeds or seedlings being next to nothing, it is cheaper as well.  Also, there is the benefit of consuming local fruits and vegetables, but more on that later.

Another point of interest is that it is better for the environment. Instead of getting tomatoes shipped from Timbuktu to the local grocery store, then you getting in your car to go store to purchase them, you can just walk out your back door and pick one off the plant.

What if I don’t know how?
There are tons of resources out there.  Some of the ones I would recommend are Master Gardeners and Home Gardening.

What if I don’t have space?
You must have not been on Pinetrest in awhile or watched many infomercials lately. Topsy Turvy anyone?

There are tons of ways to grow fruits, vegetables, or herbs in small spaces. From old shoes, to egg shells and everything in between, you can grow plants in just about anything so you don’t necessarily need splurge on that Chia Herb Garden set.

What if I don’t like bugs?
I am with you on that one. After having some fierce battles with caterpillars like these this past summer and almost being attacked by a praying mantis (why yes I did scream like a little girl during both of these battles), I have started to get a little bit braver, but when I really just can’t, I call upon my roommate. If you need her bug removal services let me know and I will send her your way. She prefers to be payed in Doritos by the way.

By the way, did you know that they have green blood?!?
Isn’t there an easier way?
If you really have a black thumb but still want the benefits of eating locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs check out local farmers markets or produce stands. There you will have access to fresh locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs without having to get dirty or deal with bugs.

Are locally grown and fruits and vegetables healthier for you?
I am going to attempt to answer this without jumping on my hippy soapbox. While there is not a huge difference in terms of levels of vitamins and minerals, there is still a difference. For example, a tomato from Timbuktu is picked before it fully ripe to allow it to hold up for the trip to your local grocery store. Since it was not allowed to fully ripen before it is picked and has a trip that is going to take a couple of days if not weeks, it never got to reach the level of vitamins and minerals that would have otherwise and starts losing them once it is picked. On the other hand, local produce found at farmers markets or roadside stands usually is picked within 24-48 hours of when it is sold and there is no thousand mile journey so it can be picked when fully ripe. Now is this difference going to prevent you from getting cancer or becoming overweight? Nope. The main difference is in the taste. I can guarantee you that a locally grown tomato is going to taste better than one from Timbuktu every time. (Note: I do not know if tomatoes can even actually grow in Timbuktu I only use it because that is where my mother always threatened to send me when I was younger)

If you are on campus and want to check out or get involved with garden check them out…

Until next time!

Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,


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