Gardening is a learning process.
Sometimes it is a lot of trial and error and you need to do some additional research through books, websites, or other gardeners. Karen Verechia, H3's Yoga Instructor is an avid gardener who has enjoyed growing and expanding her garden recently. She grows everything from peppers, collards, onions, tomatoes, and so much more. She believes that you do not need to go big with a giant garden, but a small little patch of land for a few vegetables can lead to a wonderful and healthy hobby. "The thing with gardening is that once you start you won't ever worry about buying organic anymore. Once you garden you know how much effort and care comes into growing produce," said Karen.
Where to start:
Start with an herb garden. "If you want a great starting point, herbs are the best way to introduce yourself to gardening," said Karen. At Hilton Head Health, we believe in flavoring and spicing up foods without adding unnecessary sodium or large amounts of oils. The great thing about herbs is that they provide wonderful flavor without adding unnecessary calories or sodium. "Herbs are easy because you do not need to worry about fertilizing them; all they need is plenty of sunlight and water."
Three great herbs to start off with are rosemary, basil, cilantro, and oregano.
You can make an oil out of your oregano. Get olive oil and oregano and sit it on your window seal for a couple of days and this oil is actually really good for the respiratory system
Rosemary is great to flavor foods such as baked potatoes. However, you can also use Rosemary as a
Take it and chop it up and add olive oil and freeze them into ice trays. Put them in the freezer and then pop them out and use them in salads.
When you are growing herbs, if you cut them and place them in water it will last longer. "What I do is I cut the ends off of my herbs and then I place it in my fridge and it stays fresh much longer." said Karen.
A great thing about gardening is that it will force you to eat things that maybe you wouldn't normally eat.
Karen shares, "Collard greens are not something I would normally eat, however, once I started putting a lot of time on my collard greens in my garden I started to get creative to how I can eat these collard greens." Collard greens are easy to grow and you can cut the leaves off, and make breakfast bowls. Use them like any other green like spinach or kale. You can add mushrooms, garlic, two eggs and then collard greens on bottom and you are good-to-go!
Additionally, Karen started to get really interested in the pollination process and how that affects the success of her garden. She now has a small beehive and she has noticed a huge difference in her garden.
At Hilton Head Health, we encourage our guests to eat all-natural ingredients. Gardening is a great way to ensure you are consuming all natural, real foods, plus it is a fun hobby! Start off with a Herb garden, then add in a few carrots and collard greens, and the next thing you know you will be able to cut your grocery shopping time in half and you will feel the healthier. "Don't feel discouraged if your garden has a bad year or your crops are producing like you want," said Karen. "It is a growing process and you are going to learn lessons. If you have a bad season, take what you learned from it and try again next year."