Tag Archives: backyard garden

 5 Reasons Your Family Should Plant a Vegetable Garden 

More and more people are getting back into growing at least some of their food – and for good reason! Here are a few reasons I think this bandwagon is one worth jumping on.

1. You’ll appreciate your food more. When you’ve planted, weeded, pruned, watered, and generally been a caretaker for your plants, you appreciate the fruits of your labor so much more. You might start understanding why produce can be expensive but is much better for you when you’ve taken a part in growing some.img_1558

2. It fosters responsibility. When a family has a garden, there’s a job for everyone. It’s good to teach kids to get their hands in the dirt, and take responsibility for the work it takes to make a garden grow. It’s also a chore to put on their chore chart, or keep them occupied for a few more minutes each day once school is out.img_8339

3. Learning about it is fun! Getting outside with your family is always a good thing! Even if your garden is in a few pots on the front porch, it’s fun to see how they grow each day, what color the flowers are, and how long it takes for each different plant to grow. My kids have enjoyed learning to identify the plants we’re growing by leaf shape, smell, and what they look like once they’re producing the veggies.img_1766

4. It’s not as hard as you think it is. Sure, if you have a hundred plants to take care of, it can seem quite daunting. But if you start small, it’s not too hard to keep a tomato plant or two and some rosemary alive. Even if you forget to water or don’t pull all the weeds, they’re likely to still be fine. Choose something easy to begin with, even if it means you won’t have much fruit the first time. Tomatoes and peppers are some of the easiest things to grow, and often bear the most fruit.IMG_1888

5. It’s nice to know what you’re eating. You know what went into the work, whether or not you used fertilizer or weed/pest killer. You know exactly what what did or didn’t touch the plant. It’s reassuring to know where it came from, how freshly it was picked, and how well it was tended.img_0898

There really aren’t down sides to having a garden. You’re going on vacation for a week? Just have someone come and water a couple of times while you’re gone. You don’t know anything about gardening? Just take the first step of buying seedlings instead of seeds; they’re more durable, and the hardest part is over. It’s already June and you think you’ve missed the window? The plants might not get as big, but I say it’s not too late to start! Try it out! What have you got to lose?

Garden Loot and Caprese Salad

Our garden has had a fantastic harvest so far this summer. We’ve had about as much food as we’ve ever harvested from our two long beds. Squirrels and chipmunks have often bested us, but this year we must’ve convinced them to stay away, because they’ve only gotten a couple of tomatoes (*knocks on wood*). We planted tomatoes (four different kinds), okra, yellow squash, jalapenos, cayennes, bell peppers, oregano, Italian basil and Thai basil. Our herbs are flourishing, we have more peppers than our tongues could stand, and lots of tomatoes are given away so they don’t rot on our counter. Squash we have sliced and frozen, and okra we eat straight off the plant because it’s better raw than any other way. Today, when we got a huge bag of tomatoes when the counter was already full, I decided Caprese salad was the only thing to do! Slice some tomatoes, toss on some fresh basil, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and top with mozzarella! Hubby likes to also sprinkle a little salt on top – not too much though, or it can easily overpower the whole salad.

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As you can see, the biggest sad point of this recipe is the lack of “real” mozzarella. The shredded mozzarella from a bag is “real” I guess, but it isn’t freshly sliced like my preferred mozzarella would be. However, it did in a pinch.

Now that I’ve whet you appetite for Caprese salad (with these amazing photos Hubby took with his fancy-schmancy camera), what are your favorite ways to eat fresh tomatoes?