Keep America Beautiful with a Kitchen Garden
April is Keep America Beautiful Month, which isn't really surprising with Earth Day on the calendar on the 22nd. While I try to live sustainability throughout the year, I've been thinking about all the everyday things we do that have consequences on the planet in some way or the things we take for granted.
You may be wondering how this relates to food, but in a way, much of life relates to food through the water we drink to the products we purchase, to the trash we throw away. So, this month I challenge you to start thinking about beautifying the area closest to you by planting a garden. It does not have to be much, just a pot and a few herbs or flowers.
Here are a few things to get you started:
- Plant an herb garden in a pot. Be sure to have a drainage system in place at the bottom, and plant your favorite herbs to cook with. Keep them just outside the back door or in the kitchen window even. Snip and use them in cooking rather than purchasing large bunches that inevitably never get fully used.
- Start a fruit and vegetable garden or expand your current one. Start seedlings and plant a small garden to provide fresh salads or your favorite summer vegetables right in your own backyard. Eating vegetables close to the source cuts down on resources used to transport food from around the world.
- Get a rain barrel and start collecting rainwater to water your gardens and your grass. This age-old method of growing crops can cut down your water usage, and it is also good to keep the water from draining directly off the house, instead being absorbed and used, which improves water quality in lakes and rivers.
- Compost kitchen and garden scraps. A compost pile is easy to set up, and once you get started, you'll be tossing egg shells and coffee grounds out to turn into rich soil for your garden in no time.
Our kitchen gardens have become a part of our life. The kids enjoy choosing their favorite foods to plant and watch grow, and we enjoy seeing our yard be used for more than just grass. There's something satisfying about providing food that feeds your family right in your own backyard, and knowing that our footprint is a bit smaller because of it is an added bonus.