PROVO, April 15, 2014 — Spring has sprung and for the gardener, this is a busy time. Soil must be tilled and enriched, water lines and sprinklers repaired. Garden spaces must be plotted and planned, seeds and plants then purchased and protected, and finally put into the ground. After all that work comes the battle against insects, birds, moles, gophers, deer, disease, the elements, and the weeds
Gardening is not easy. It is a labor of love. So why go to all that trouble when you can pick up produce at the grocery story? The reasons are endless from anthropological to biological. The biggest of them all, however, may be enjoying the fruits of your labor. When you grow your own fruits and vegetables not only do you get to eat a more healthful and far tastier tomato or fig, but you can preserve what you sow using Ball Canning Jars and products.
But the why goes back to the earliest roots of our humanity and to agriculture. When the primitive man shifted from a hunter-gatherer mode of survival to an agrarian lifestyle, civilization was made possible. Adam and Eve were commanded in the bible to “dress the garden and keep it.” Agriculture created the first leisure time that allowed for other pursuits, and now leisure time is used to pursue gardening.
When you work the earth, your hands deep in rich dark soil, your awareness to the earth is increased. Your observance of the cycles of life, seasons, weather patterns, soil types, and water management all become important and increase your knowledge base, growing a very practical part of your intellect.
Your psychological well-being can be improved by gardening. It is a meditative activity and many a problem can be reasoned through while pulling weeds. Gardening is physical labor. Getting physical improves cardiovascular health, and strengthens muscles.
Exercise also increases endorphins and other mental health promoting chemicals. Fresh air is good for you, and exposure to sunlight increases your vitamin D production. The natural sunlight can also help rebalance your circadian rhythms improving your sleep at night.
There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from reaping the very tangible rewards of your gardening efforts. Service given to neighbors and friends in the form of shared vegetables and flowers produced in a garden increases personal joy. Satisfaction in one’s personal life through meditation, exercise, tangible reward and service all increase brain chemicals that give a sense of well-being and happiness.
Microbes in the soil, whether you like it or not, and whether you wash your hands well or not, will enter your body replenishing your vital bacterial flora on your skin and in your gut. Your healthy germs can be killed off by unhealthy eating habits, antibiotics, and chemical exposure. These naturally occurring bacterial populations are essential to a healthy body. When you have healthy populations of beneficial bacteria there isn’t as much room for bad germs to colonize you.
Your body, like any habitat only has so much room to support other life forms. Make sure yours has plenty of friendly germs from playing and gardening in the dirt.
“Eat your vegetables,” a slogan of moms everywhere, is not just an old wives tale. Vegetables are packed with essential nutrients and vitamins that have been proven to reduce cancer risks and ward off diseases. Vegetables today though, travel a long and sometimes depressing road from the fields to your home that can leave them less than ideal covered in waxes, pesticide residues, and with lowered amounts of essential vitamins.
When you grow food in your own garden, you have ultimate control over pesticides and fertilizers. There are no mystery countries of origin and the odds of a salmonella or listeria outbreak in your backyard are slim. Fruits, vegetables and herbs can be harvested at peak freshness when vitamin content is it’s highest and flavor is the best.
Food can be canned, dried, frozen, pickled and preserved with you controlling salt content and chemical additives.
Companies such as Ball® produce canning jars, fresh herb keepers, dried herb glass jars, and beginner canning kits to get you started preserving your harvest.
With so many compelling health-promoting reasons, the better question is why aren’t you growing a garden? Don’t fret if you’ve never done it before or you feel that the season has passed you by. It’s still spring and the resources are endless.
Your local library has a plethora of gardening books that can show you how to do everything from low-cost gardening in old tires to Queen of England gardening with hedgerows and Victorian-style greenhouses. Your local extension agent can provide you with pamphlets about gardening in your area: what to grow, and when to plant it. Box stores have everything you could ever want to buy from tomato stakes to soil inoculant.
Seed companies have catalogs and websites that will give you Technicolor dreams of exotic vegetables and flowers that can become reality in your backyard.
The truth is that to grow a garden all you need is a small patch of earth or a pot, some seeds, and the want to. The rest is up to you and your imagination.
Ball Fresh Preserving Contest:
Win a collection of Ball Jar canning and preservation products by visiting Communities Facebook Page and sharing this post with the comment “Ball Fresh Preserving” Two winners will be chosen by random number generator from all persons who share the Digi News Facebook post. Winners will receive:
- Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit – Small enough to fit into a stockpot, this beginners canning kit is the perfect way to venture into home canning. It comes with all the tools you need: a canning rack with a lifter, 3 Ball jars with lids and bands, and a Beginners Guide to Canning and Recipe Booklet.
- Ball Fresh Herb keeper – Keep your herbs garden fresh in your refrigerator. Herbs are kept upright in a small basket with the stems in water prolonging freshness.
- Ball Dry Herb Jars (4 oz) – You can store dried herbs from your garden, grind and keep your own spice mixes, store colored sprinkles, shake garden seeds evenly over your garden plot, these glass jars have endless uses and are dishwasher safe.
These items are provided to Communities Digital News for promotional purposes only by the Jarden Home Brands and may not be resold. Visit the Fresh Preserving web site for canning, recipe and storage ideas.
Fine print: Contest limited to person in the U.S. and with U.S. postal address only. Contest runs from April 15 to April 30, 2014. Determination on prizes by Communities Digital News, LLC is final. Winner will be notified via their Facebook page of winning status; winners have 7 days from date of notification to respond or item will be awarded to a new entrant.