Guest Blogger: Our 2014 Summer Garden

We recently touched on the health benefits of gardening, and today we are lucky enough to hear from one of CRBG’s very own on her experience with gardening!

This summer I have enjoyed gardening in the rich soil in our gardening beds at our home in Loudoun County, Virginia. This year we planted the “Sun Sugar” cherry tomatoes, which at their peak are a bright orange color. We also grew a banner crop of strawberries.

There is nothing as stress relieving and satisfying as going out to your garden and picking the all natural vine ripened yield from your garden. We filled colanders full of tomatoes and strawberries this year all harvested from our garden. Both the tomatoes and strawberries picked were so sweet, they could be eaten as they were picked!

The tomatoes were planted as seedlings, bought from a local organic farm stand, and we coaxed the vines up the free standing cone-shaped metal trellises placed every 2 feet apart.

This has been an exceptionally wet spring and summer where we live in Northern Virginia and our vegetable beds needed very little tending except for the occasional “weeding” out of unwanted grasses and weeds. We have never had a problem with garden bugs or pests and have never used insecticide.

In the past, we have tried to also grow green peppers, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, and fennel in our garden. Unfortunately, the deer and other creatures where we live enjoyed the “salad bar” our garden provided and left nothing to be harvested of those vegetables. They had eaten the entire plant, down to the roots!

We have found that the wildlife where we live do not care for strawberries or tomatoes and that is why they are the main vegetables we grow in our garden. We have enjoyed the banner amount produced of these vegetables this summer.

People with bountiful gardens where I live, and throughout the country, who have grown more vegetables than they can eat, have contributed to the Plant a Row for the Hungry Program. This program collects and donates the extras people grow to local food pantries, which provides fresh vegetables to people dependent on food banks to feed their hungry families.

Growing our own nutritious delicious produce is valuable for our nutrition and in reducing stress through the hands on gardening effort. Gardening also offers satisfaction knowing that gardeners can simply add a few more plants to their vegetable garden and the extras can be donated to local food banks and food kitchens. This is a time-honored tradition of gardeners sharing their harvest with others.

We also brought some of our strawberries and tomatoes into the office, which were quickly consumed by our colleagues. Can you imagine the numbers of hungry people who could be fed if the 70 million gardeners across the country planted an extra row of vegetables this year? Now that is real food for thought.

I hope one day you have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits that gardening has provided us. An hour in my garden has yielded me relaxation and satisfaction watching my vegetables grow.

M. Simmons, Sr. Sales Representative

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