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Spring into Gardening

Have you ever imagined planting a small garden and growing vegetables for your family? It may seem like a difficult and daunting project, but I assure you the benefits of growing your own vegetables far outweigh the reservations and roadblocks that may have previously stood in your way.  Among these benefits include increased physical activity, stress relief, better mental health, and better nutrition.  Consuming a diet rich in produce can reduce overall calorie consumption and provide a variety of nutrients to minimize the risk of developing chronic diseases associated with overweight and obesity.

Growing your own vegetables and herbs in the best way to “eat locally”!  The convenience of having what you need for fresh salads, soups, and sides right outside your door can enable you and your family to have a healthier diet.  And did you know that when children are involved in the gardening process, they are actually more likely to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables?  Pull the kids off the couch and get whole family involved in garden planning, planting, maintaining, harvesting, and cooking.

Spring is the time to plant beans, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, okra, field peas, peppers, summer and winter squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.  Just think of all the possibilities for an abundance of healthy eating this summer!

Getting started is easy.  Check out these UF IFAS resources to help get you on the right path to growing your own produce:

Edible Landscaping

Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

Plant These Spring Herbs

Produce Pointers Recipes

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Author: Amy Mullins- amymullins@ufl.edu

Amy Mullins is a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent in Leon County, with programs focused on food & nutrition, food safety, health & wellness, and chronic disease prevention. Amy is a Registered Dietitian and a graduate of The University of Florida and Florida State University.