Cool and often damp December days are not very welcoming to naked gardening. Sitting next to a warm fire, delighting in delicious holiday meals, and enjoying the company of others, in-person or virtually, seem like better alternatives. My indoor time most Decembers is spent planning for next year’s bountiful fruit and vegetable harvest.
Why do I do so much planning? Because the right combination of nutritious, fresh-grown foods is so important to our diet. If you believe like I do that “what you are is what you eat”, then upgrade your diet this coming year to include fresh-grown vegetables and fruits from your own naked garden. Your waist line and medical bills will shrink – I guarantee it.
There are many health and nutrition benefits to growing your own fruits and vegetables. Food begins to lose nutrients when their structure starts to break down only 24 hours after harvesting. Grocery store “fresh” veggies and fruits often travel from the southern hemisphere which takes weeks. Fresh-grown food also tastes better if it is harvested perfectly ripe. And you can control the safety of your home produce by not spraying toxic pesticides or fungicides, or using artificial chemical fertilizers. There’s no telling how your store-bought food has been treated; labels can be misleading.
Why are safe, ripe, grown-in-your-own-soil foods better for your health over your lifetime? Author Michael Behar wrote an excellent article for Eating Well magazine this past June, titled “Cultivating Better Health. You can find the article online here: https://www.michaelbehar.com/articles/eating-well-june-2020/ . He listed some great reasons why fresh produce grown in healthy soil transfers that health to you.
Mr. Behar emphasized in his article the importance of healthy soil for growing healthy food. There are billions of beneficial microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, and nematodes in healthy soil. They feed on organic matter, like decaying wood, leaves, and mulch, breaking it down into usable nutrients for growing plants to absorb through their roots. These soil-resident microbes also extract nitrogen from the air to make this crucial growth element available to plant life. Similarly, our digestive systems contain billions of beneficial microbes that are essential to release nutrients from our food into our blood stream to feed our muscles, organs, skin, and brain. Fresh produce grown in healthy garden soil strengthens our own digestive “biome”, providing a healthier stream of nutrients for our bodies.
What is good and natural for our soil and garden health, it seems is also great for our own health. If we are what we eat, then grow healthy, delicious, and nutrition-packed produce for your family’s dinner table. Go naked and natural in your produce garden. Your family and those beneficial little soil beasties will thank you for it and return the favor.
Enjoy the holidays, your family, friends, and the bounty our beautiful earth provides. Email your comments and questions to: NakedGardener@diablogazette.com. In some cases these may appear in future columns.