Of Course It Will!
Just by deciding that you want to grow your own food makes you smarter! It could be the smartest decision of your life.
Food bought in a grocery store has been proven to lower IQ's, increase ADHD and autism spectrum disorder in children, among many other functions.
Did you know that plastics use lead as a softener? And there's no plastic used where you shop- is there?
Pregnant women that eat organically are giving their children a much better start in life, and these children will probably be fed better through out their developmental years.
Philippe Grandjean of the University of Southern Denmark and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Philip Landrigan of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York who are both physicians and preeminent researchers describe the situation as a “pandemic.”
The chemicals they called out as developmental neurotoxins were
- polychlorinated biphenyls
That was in 2006. The additional chemicals they’ve since found to be toxins to the developing brains of fetuse, and I hope you’ll trust me that these all are indeed words, are
- polybrominated diphenyl ethers
Geeez, I can't even pronounce most of them! So enough with the chem lesson, let's get on with the benefits.
Growing your own food improves your health
When you grow your own food, you are exercising your body and brain. Focusing on simple tasks like planting and weeding calms your mind. The world stops being noisy.
Growing your own food makes it taste better and you will savor it more because of the effort it took to get it to the table.
Now that we have established that you're smarter because you have decided to give growing your own food or medicine a try, growing it isn’t rocket science.
It takes time, but things like potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers which are basic kitchen crops, are very forgiving.
If you can read you can grow stuff
If reading is not your thing there are many videos on YouTube to watch, but most of what you need to know is usually on the back of your seed packet.
- Start with non-GMO or certified organic seeds.
- Start small and plant things you and your family really like to eat.
- Pick a spot with at least 6 hours of good daytime light.
- Use organic or contaminant-free soil. Don't get compost from your city. You don't know what's in it.
- Consider using a raised garden bed- you can grow more.
- Talk to farmers at your local market and other backyard gardeners in your area to get a sense of what grows well in your region..
Space doesn't matter
Plants will grow anywhere as long as their needs are met. All you really need are seeds, medium to grow in, some type of container and light.
There are lots of places to buy seeds from.
- A grower at your local market. They usually have seeds to sell February through to May. Just check that they are good quality. If they are heirloom seeds that would be a score!
- Your local specialty garden center. Not Walmart, Canadian Tire, or your grocery store.
- There are plenty of seed catalogs that sell good quality seeds.
- And best of all would be a local gardener that saves seeds and were happy with last years crop.
Not all growing mediums are created equally
You would think dirt is dirt, but not so. There's ethical dirt and dirt that isn't dirt.
- If you use peat moss use it sparingly. When peat moss is used alone it becomes hard and is difficult to rewet. Peat is great mixed in with other mediums and used to absorb and retain water.
- Bagged dirt from your local garden center at the grocery store is an option and easy to find in spring. Look for mixtures that are organic and without dyes. I'm not a fan of Miracle Grow baged medium. You can also get bagged manure there. Again, look for quality.
- If you own property that hasn't had chemicals used on the lawns for more than 6 years, make a garden there. Dig up the area to a depth of 4 inches and add peat moss, bagged manure, and good quality bagged garden soil with Perilite in it for water retention.
- Coconut coir is great all on its own in containers, or you can mix it into your garden soil.
- Compost added to your mix should be from organic food that you have eaten. Otherwise, what's the sense?
- Organic fertilizers release nutrients slowly and contain many micronutrients essential for plant growth. They will contain things like fish emulsion, bone meal, blood meal, or green sand.
Growing containers come in all shapes and sizes
- Automatic watering systems like AutoPot or Sunblaster Growlight Gardens countertop gardens simplify growing because you set up the reservoir with nutrients and walk away. These are great if you don't have a lot of time, are ideal if you traveler, and they work well in small spaces. AutoPots start with 4 pots and a reservoir but you can add as many pots as you need and in any configuration. In a square inside a grow tent, in a line on a narrow balcony or deck, or any configuration your space allows.
- Regular plastic pots work with crops that you are going to force to grow quickly and harvest before the roots can become root bound. When roots grow to the edge of a plastic pot, there is a small layer of water and nutrient between the medium and the walls. This causes roots to wrap around and around inside the pot choking the plant. Also, plastic pots can get too warm in direct sunlight or in grow tents under MH lights.
- Cloth pots are a new idea that's catching on. When the roots grow to the edge of a cloth pot they will stop there. Called air pruning, it forces the plant to create roots to branch out and spread through the potting medium until they reach the walls, and the cycle is then repeated. the plant is producing smaller, more fibrous roots and filling up the cloth container. This creates more root hairs and root tips, and the plant will take up more water and nutrients, increasing yields in a shorter time.
- Hydroponic containers are inserted over some type of container that holds water and nutrients. There are lots of different ways to grow hydroponically and we will explore that in a different post. DIY projects are very cost effective.
And above all plants is light
Sunlight is free. If you have good exposure to sunlight for more than 6 hours a day any plant will thrive and you can enjoy gardening outdoors. However, in Canada we live in a northern climate and if you're lucky the outdoor growing season is 5 months at most.
Artificial lighting is the option for growing in the winter and for starting seeds in spring. LED grow lights have come a long way in the last 5 years and there is no reason not to use them. They cost more initially but last 50,000 hours and use 40% less electricity. If used in a grow tent you also save on air conditioners and chillers, and their high electrical costs.
Are You Smarter Yet?
I know you are! Just think of all the benefits of growing your own food and medicine.
- It's fresher and more nutritious
- Feeds your brain and body and soul
- You know what's in it
- Helps you stay active
- You can save money
- It's eco-friendlier by eliminating long transportation and pesticide use
- You will survive the apocalypse
- You will have fun
- Teaches your kids where food comes from
- Sleep better from the fresh air
- Help others in your community- donate or sell any excess
- Helps the birds and the bees