Getting down and dirty is good for the soul. By “down and dirty”, I mean digging in the dirt. A quick Internet search will turn up hundreds of articles on the therapeutic benefits of gardening. Be it flowers or be it edibles, the act of planting, nurturing and harvesting is not only good physical exercise, but also an excellent way to relieve stress.
I grew up with a garden large enough for a plow. Now there’s only space for a relatively small garden. Raised beds meant no digging up the yard, and no fear of accidentally cutting underground power lines. Large planters on the deck look beautiful when they hold herbs, and provide a constant fresh supply that can later be dried and used all through the winter months. What I was unable to grow, I purchased in season at my local farmer’s market. Buying local lets us know exactly where our food came from, it reduces the carbon footprint and it helps support our local farmers. Win, win, and win!
With autumn closing in, I have an amazing assortment of home canned jams and jellies. I’ve canned my own salsa and stewed tomatoes as well. The freezer is filled with green beans, corn, and applesauce. I’ve also used peels and ends, and even corncobs, to simmer into home made stock. The spice cupboard is filled with home dried herbs. Yes, it took some work, but the rewards far outweigh the effort. The taste is surprisingly superior, and in the cold gray months, will bring back a bit of summer.