Growing your Own Fruits and Vegetables
Whether you live in the suburbs or the city, in a high-rise or a house, you can grow a garden.
Whether you live in the suburbs or the city, in a high-rise or a house, you can grow a garden. Growing your own is not only a great way to have healthy, fresh veggies and fruits right at your fingertips, but it’s also budget-friendly and fun. Having your own garden—whether it’s in pots on a balcony, a sprawling garden in your backyard or shared in a community garden—helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and lets you decide what fertilizers and pesticides come in contact with your food. It’s also a good way to get physical activity; if you have kids, it teaches them where their food comes from and the importance of eating healthy foods.
Growing your own fruits and veggies is surprisingly easy, so don’t be intimidated. Tomatoes, lettuce and peppers are almost foolproof, as long as they get adequate water and sunlight. Follow the directions on the seed packet that tell you how much water and light each plant needs, and you’ll have a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables in no time.
City dwellers with access to sunlight for six hours a day, such as by a large window or on a balcony, can try container gardening. Buy a bag of weed-free potting soil and a couple of pots from a plant store, along with seed packets of fruits and vegetables you want to eat. Potatoes, chard, lettuce, cherry and bush tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and summer squash grow well in containers. And herbs are super easy to grow in containers on a windowsill.
If you have a backyard, start small and plant things you’d really like to eat. Choose a spot that gets at least six hours of daytime light and has easy access to water. A great way to get started is to check out the American Heart Association’s Teaching Gardens program, where you can purchase a Teaching Gardens Starter kit. It includes 12 packets of different vegetable seeds and eight healthy recipes to enjoy your harvest. Visit heart.org/TeachingGardens for more information.
If you’re not ready to go it alone, why not try a community garden, where neighbors get together to grow food and share in the harvest? You can find one in your area by visiting the American Community Gardening Association at communitygarden.org.
Getting children involved in gardening is a fun activity that families can do together. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce, understand the value of good eating habits and take pride in the work they did to grow the food. No matter where you live, grab a packet of seeds and start digging!
This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Heart Association.