Some years ago, my family started a garden in our backyard. We began by buying a load of soil, prepping the ground, tilling the soil, fertilizing, and then watering to create a healthy environment for plant growth. A few weeks later, we planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, carrots, peas, string beans, eggplant, and mint. We weeded, continued to till and prep the soil, provided plenty of water, and then… Only the tomato plants and the mint thrived. Both of these plants are amazingly durable, and so to mark our 10th summer of fresh produce, I decided to write a tribute to the years of fresh tomatoes and mint. I should add that with many years of gardening under our belt, we’re now able to grow many other plants! The variety of vegetables that we grow is only outmatched by the unbelievably fresh and unique flavors that they provide: three types of kale, eggplant, cucumbers, hot and sweet peppers, kohlrabi, strawberries, fennel, snap peas, green and yellow beans, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, and more.
Let’s start with tomatoes. There are few things as juicy and satisfying as a ripe tomato picked right off the vine and popped in your mouth. There is simply nothing that can rival the mouthwatering flavor and the overflowing sweetness of fresh tomatoes. More importantly, when you grow them yourself, you know that they’re grown without the use of pesticides and are completely natural. Why pay premium for organic tomatoes when you can just grow them yourself? They are also some of the easiest and most fun plants to grow. You plant the seeds, and you’re already done with the hard work. As they grow older, you can stick some poles into the ground to wrap the plant around and watch them climb higher and higher! The tomatoes will be easily accessible this way, and then when they’re ready to pick, it’s so easy! Plus, all that time working in the garden will give you a nice tan and has been shown in numerous peer-reviewed studies to improve mood, overall feelings of well-being, and happiness. In case you’re not sold yet on starting your own miniature garden with a handful of tomato plants, I’ll add that tomatoes are packed with antioxidants shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve circulation, regulate fats in the bloodstream, support bone health, and reduce rates of prostate cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and breast cancer. The bottom line is that it’s time to grow some of these juicy, antioxidant powerhouses!
I can’t wait til these ripen!
Now let’s turn to mint, possibly the most easily grown herb or vegetable in the world. You plant a small mint plant, and, with proper amounts of water and sunlight, by the next year it will have tripled in size. Mint’s ease is due to the fact that it is perennial, which means that you do not have to replant it each year. After every winter, it will come back, and there will be more of it than you had the year before! In addition to its ease and refreshing taste, mint has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food. Mint is a genus composing approximately 20 types of plants, including peppermint and spearmint. Many mint plants contain the antioxidant rosmarinic acid, which has been shown to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms and has anti-inflammatory properties. Mint also contains menthol, a natural decongestant that helps break up phlegm and mucus, and when combined with tea can help relieve a sore threat. In addition, mint has been known as a calming, soothing herb for thousands of years, and helps aid upset stomachs and indigestion thanks to chemicals that improve the flow of bile through the stomach, helping to speed and ease digestion. Its ease of growth, revitalizing taste, and high antioxidant capacity makes mint a must for your garden.
(Please do note that mint is a fast-growing, invasive plant, and it can easily overwhelm other plants in your garden. To avoid this, plant mint in aboveground pots, or keep it enclosed within a metal or cloth barrier, buried deep in the ground to prevent roots from spreading. It is not difficult to control, but will require some advance planning. Trust me, though, it’s worth the effort!)
So get started today and start planning your garden! Contact me and I’d be happy to help. And that’s one more way to have a Nourished Body and Mind!