What is vital for life? Your health. The future of your health is imminent. To live a long life full of joy and vitality, your lifestyle choices today determine the state of your health tomorrow. This is true, whether we think about those choices or let ignorance and apathy make them for us.
The great news is you control your own destiny, because you control every decision in your life. Healthy eating and living are personal life choices. In your own backyard you can find the potential to create a future of good health for yourself, your family and the entire planet. This is the start of your journey to a better life.
Being healthy is simple if you understand how to garden in your own backyard. Growing your own healthy food right outside your door will make you look at your home in a new, wonderful way. With so much excitement running through your veins, your enthusiasm may push you to act too soon. Before you grab a piece of paper, scribble many ideas, run down to your local plant nursery, and buy as many seeds, plants, soils and fertilizers as you can load up, let me guide you from my 20 years of experience and leadership in gardening. I want to teach you what I know that is true and effective.
Let’s get dirty first!
Some people think of soil as nothing more than an anchor that holds plants in the ground, a dark, dusty place that critters crawl in that makes our hands dirty. Soil is not just “dirt” but the basis of all life. Healthy soil is alive with billions of microbes that feed all living things on our planet. Your body needs it to be healthy. It provides you with the sustenance you need to generate the energy for everything you do. Everyone who is alive today and everyone who ever lived, needed the benefits of soil to survive and prosper.
Soil health is the fundamental basis for the health of all plants, animals and people. This book shows you the link between soil and human health. The connection is simple: Healthy soil creates a healthy garden, which produces healthy plants to provide nutrients for us, for the animals we love and care for as pets, as well as the plants we consume as food.
Why should you grow a vegetable garden? Food is so cheap and easily accessible if you live in a modernized country. Much of what we can buy is more convenient to prepare than cooking garden produce from scratch. I can run down to a fast food drive-through and grab a value meal (for about $5) that is 2,500 calories of deep fried, grease-laden, processed food. You can get your fill of genetically modified, processed meat and potatoes for far less than one-tenth of a penny per calorie.
Maybe you do not care if that hamburger came from a cow fed with genetically modified grains and was shipped 2,500 miles to get to you. Maybe you believe it makes no difference if your fries are processed and grown with genetically modified potatoes. Your 32-ounce soda was full of simple sugars that went down smoothly with those salty fries.
Is a bargain meal a bargain if you pay for it with your health?
Why you should garden: It’s good for your health. Besides giving you the best nutrients you can get, gardening is healthy work. You have to cultivate the soil, amend it, plant seeds or cuttings, fertilize, water, weed and mulch. Finally, you must harvest and preserve your crop for future use. Is eating healthy from your own garden worth all that effort? Yes!
If you read this with an open mind and the attitude of caring about your health, the health of others and the well-being of our only home—the good earth itself—it will open your eyes to the importance of creating your healthy backyard garden. You will learn why eating food you nurture and harvest yourself is one of the most rewarding things you can do.
This book is also unique in taking the approach of starting from the ground up, explaining how human health begins in the soil, then providing clear examples of what to grow, how to grow it, and the nutritional benefits to you and your family, your friends and your community.
I know thousands of gardeners and have interviewed hundreds of them over the past 20 years. I have also met with many medical doctors, soil scientists, plant biologists, nutritionists and master gardeners. All this involvement and research has more than convinced me that a healthy garden will give you joy and bounty.
I live the organic lifestyle, and it all starts in my backyard. Even the smallest thing you do will make a huge difference toward living a long and healthy life and raising a healthy family. A garden can help you to achieve these goals.
Americans are on a new journey, seeking natural and organic solutions to their health problems. People from all backgrounds are on a personal quest to be healthy while making the right environmental decisions in the process.