Find Peace in the Garden

There’s nothing better for your soul than growing a garden. Countless studies have shown the positive effects gardening has had on both physical and mental health, not to mention the nutritional benefits of growing your own food. In fact, several additional studies have proven gardeners who grow their own food eat more fruit and vegetables than their peers. After-school gardening programs have seen students’ willingness to try unique foods increase — in fact many of the students in these studies have said the foods they’ve had a hand in growing just taste better! Can anyone grow a garden? If you have light, space, adequate soil and some time on your hands, you can grow a garden. On average, a vegetable garden needs at least six hours of direct light. A huge bounty of produce can be grown in a space as little as 4 by 8 inches, soil needs to be rich in organic matter (read: compostfull of nutrients and well drained.) No space? No problem! For condo dwellers with terraces, many vegetables, herbs and even some fruits can be grown in a container. Just remember larger pots are more forgiving as they retain moisture longer. Container gardens always use soil formulated specifically for containers (like Pro Mix.) Live in a condo and have no outdoor space? Join Toronto’s Community Garden Network, an organization striving to get Torontians engaged in gardening as a community in public spaces. This includes access to communal garden plots in parks, on private property, building rooftops, senior citizen residences, school boards and more. No time, no knowledge? Have someone do it for you in your own backyard! The Backyard Urban Farm Company (bufco.ca) and Truly Local (trulylocal.ca) are just two examples of the growing number of companies that will install, maintain and train you on how to grow your own food! Growing a garden and growing your own food can be done, no matter what. One of my favourite quotes is: “Growing a garden is cheaper than therapy — and you get tomatoes!” — Author unknown. This article was originally published in the Toronto Sun on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 and at http://bit.ly/1ogLNqK