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part II in a series
Getting Started, Staying Healthy
The snow had barely started to melt when Kathy Delaney, a resident of Minneapolis, began sorting her seeds for a spring garden. Some of the vegetables, like cabbage, Brussels spouts and tomatoes, will be sowed in peat pots now for planting outdoors later on. Other garden treasures— corn, arugula, eggplants, romaine lettuce, melons, and a splash of herbs— will be sown as seeds as soon as the weather permits.
Delaney is part of a growing global movement of backyard gardeners who grow most of their food. This is the fifth garden she has planted in the sunny, rich brown plot of soil in the center of her backyard where there was once lawn. Her three children, ages 4-9, help her keep the the rows groomed and watering and do the harvesting, what they refer to as the “yummy job.”
“It’s very much a family affair,” says Delaney. “It’s something we enjoy doing together, so we have a lot of fun in the garden. It is truly a source of pride to watch our food go from seedling to the table.”
Delaney’s garden feeds her family of five all summer and into the late fall. She prefers to enjoy the vegetables fresh rather than canning or freezing them, because “they just taste so much better that way,” she says.
“I feel so good knowing that we are cutting our food bill by more than half and still serving healthy food to my family. I am also giving skills to my children that will stick with them a lifetime.” In the future, Delaney plans to expand her garden to a four-season variety to ensure fresh, healthy food is always available.
Roger Doiron, founder of Kitchen Gardeners International, a global online community of people growing their own food and building relationships in the process, said the idea of the kitchen garden is turning the western concept of convenient and “fast food” on its head.
“A kitchen garden doesn’t have to be right outside the kitchen door, but the closer it is, the better. Think about it this way: The easier it is for you to get into the garden, the more likely it is that you will get tasty things out of it,” Doiron said.