Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way to spend more time with your family, get more exercise, enjoy the outdoors, save money, enrich your spiritual life and eat healthier, all at once?
Well, guess what? You can!
Three cheers for the family garden!
Gardening as a family is an engaging outdoor activity that can bring an abundance of blessings and benefits to your home. Even the planning of your garden can be fun as the whole family pours over seed catalogues and draws up blueprints for a new garden plot.
Young children gain a sense of pride and accomplishment when Mom and Dad allow them to create their own special corner plot in the family garden. Oh, the smiles you will see each time they reach a gardening milestone: planting the seeds, the first signs of green life popping through the soil, flower buds and tiny vegetables forming, and, finally, that glorious moment when they pick and eat something they have grown themselves!(And, oh how yummy a fresh cherry tomato or blackberry is, straight off the vine!)
Think of your garden as in outdoor workout gym! Bending, raking, digging and weeding works all the muscles in your body and provides the perfect opportunity to soak up some healthy vitamin D from the sun! (And, if you decide to launch a raging sneak attack with the hose on a hot summer day after watering the plants, I won’t tell!)
Yes, the kids will get dirty, but that’s OK! There is something quite spiritually-enriching about digging your hands into the soil, observing the worms and insects all around and thinking about the miracle of new life and the mysterious way God brings food to your table from a seed so tiny you can barely see it when it’s planted. Weeding a garden is a great hands-on analogy for family conversations about God. Kids understand the comparison that keeping a garden clear of “bad” weeds is similar to the way God “weeds” our souls. Just as we water our crops and lovingly raise them to harvest, God nurtures and tends to us as we grow in faith along life’s journey. Your family garden can also become a community service project by donating a portion of what you grow to those in need!
Sadly, many of the current foods found on grocery store shelves are contaminated with toxins and other unhealthy ingredients, not to mention how expensive it is to feed a family these days! A family garden is not only a delight to the senses (colors, textures and wonderful scents abound!) but also a wonderful means for lowering the grocery bill! (My family typically eats for half-price during the harvest season; and, if you extend your garden project to include preserving and canning foods, your garden can continue to feed you all winter!)
If land space is an issue, you might try “container gardening.” It’s all the rage in cities and suburban communities! Some families with more room to grow invite others to garden on their own land, as well—creating a community garden with all members sharing the produce!
The family garden has been around since the beginning of time. Who knows? It just might be the perfect hobby for your growing family!(Pun intended, ::wink::)
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.