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Life’s A Garden; Dig In

It’s been a cold past few months. However, the snow is starting to melt, the temperatures are creeping up, and the grass is just starting to turn green again. Spring. It’s finally coming.

Spring means longer days (more sunshine, yay!) and blooming flowers. Farmer’s markets will be moving back outdoors, and local produce will start to become more available. And as the final frost approaches us, the ground will soon be ready for seeds.

Gardening practices have been largely lost in the hustle and bustle of our fast-paced American life. People are relying more and more on supermarkets to purchase their food and feed their families. With this comes a loss of knowing your farmers and where your food comes from. Relying on the supermarket may be convenient but having a garden of your own is the ultimate way to eat local. It allows you to create your own food and can be extremely rewarding.

The thought of starting a garden might be scary, especially if you’ve never had one before, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to turn your entire backyard into a garden, and you don’t need a large space for one. Although, more power to you if turning your back yard into a garden is what you want to do! Gardens can start out as small as one pot with a few seeds. Herb gardens are a great way to kickstart your green thumb! All you need is a pot filled with soil, your favorite herb seeds, sunshine, and some love.

If you want more than just herbs, container gardens are another trendy and great way to start gardening. They can be as big or as small as you’d like, and you can really use any container as long as it’s big enough and has good drainage. Purchasing a large storage container to hold your vegetables is a great starting place. If you are feeling crafty, you can create something like an upright pallet garden, or a tipsy pot planter. The possibilities are truly endless when wanting to create a garden, you just have to start somewhere.

What if you aren’t ready to start your own garden? Well, you’re in luck! La Crosse offers a few community gardens where you can use or practice your gardening skills while making a difference in your community.

If you have free time and enjoy volunteering, you can help harvest crops at Kane Street Garden or The Southside Community Garden. After volunteering, you’ll be first in line for picking out produce. This process is not only rewarding – you’re able to spend your free time helping your community – but it’s cost effective too. Washburn Neighborhood Garden is another community garden in La Crosse. It rents plots for $30.00 each. You grow and harvest produce by yourself, and 10% of what you grow is donated to a meal site. Utilizing any of these resources allows you to help yourself while continuing to help others and give back your community. It’s a win-win!

Gardening is not only good for your community, but also for your family. Getting kids involved in the garden can have many benefits. It exposes them to more sunlight and allows them to move naturally. Having kids garden increases the likelihood of them eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Gardening is a very positive experience for kids. They get to be a part of the whole system, which can be very rewarding because they see will see the plants from seeds, grown until they are ready to be harvested, and are able to help take care of them.

While gardening brings your family together, it can also be a stress reliever. Being able to enjoy the outdoors, smell the flowers, and hear the wonderful sounds of Mother Nature are just a few things that gardening has to offer. It allows you to take a break from our fast-paced society and make time for yourself. It also provides an opportunity to be outside, obtain vitamin D, and increase natural movement in your day.

Gardening has many benefits for anyone who participates in it. If you decide to start your own garden this spring, don’t let it overwhelm you. Start small and continue to grow your garden as you become more comfortable. Be patient if things don’t work out right away. Keep trying! You never fail until you stop trying.

Don’t know when to start planting? Check here. Don’t know how big of a pot to get? Look here. Don’t know where to start? Start here!

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