frame courtesy of cottagearts.net
This is a picture of a lovely baby bok choy plant, taken in my back yard two weeks ago. I feel like a mommy, proud of this baby plant and completely taken by how adorable it is.
This year, I am aiming to plant our best garden yet! I call it my garden project. All winter I have been nurturing little seedlings under grow lights, in a greenhouse, under row cover, and in small homemade hoop houses. I'm tracking how much is spent versus how much is produced in our garden this year to see if it is cost effective.
You might be wondering about the cost of my labor. After all, it does take a lot of work and time to maintain a garden. Here is how I figure it...
* It's saving me the cost of a gym membership and the time of going there. No gas needed to reach my back yard, usually just a cup of tea.
* It gives me immeasurable joy to see life grow around me. That first contact of a pea plant with its frame brings a big, goofy smile to my face. The pushing up of a plant through the soil takes my breath away.
* I get to enjoy food at its freshest and packed with more nutrition compared to food imported halfway around the globe, then irradiated or sprayed with gas. Furthermore, I get to control how it is grown.
* Finally, there is an excellent article in the Naturopathic News and Review of March 2013 that points to several other health benefits I am gleaning. The article is called "Nature: The Forgotten Root of Health." In it, Dr. Vicki Simkovic describes a Japanese study examining the benefits of Shinrin-yoku, which is a process of fully immersing one's whole self in nature for "forest bathing." Individuals spending 40 minutes in a forest compared to those walking indoors in a lab had decreased cortisol levels, better blood pressure readings, improved natural killer cell activity and an increase in the production of anticancer proteins. I suspect I am getting similar effects as I work in my garden compared to working out in a gym with no nature around me. Subtract the cost of supplements to decrease stress and improve my immune system.
As this garden is for my own consumption and is not a commercial venture, I figure the labor comes out a wash for me. This year, I look forward to updating you on this project and sharing what I have grown.