Having produce on hand in case our food supply changed
Knowing where your food comes from
Increased health benefits from fresh picked produce
Becoming educated in gardening in case you HAD to garden
The list could go on, but please, please plant something. IF you only plant one thing, one easy to grow, simple thing; let me give you an idea:
Kale is HUGE in the antioxidant department. It contains a whopping 684% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K. Vitamin K is responsible for increasing your antioxidant activity. It will help kick cancer in it's face and help the body get rid of all sorts of toxic elements. Kale also contains huge amounts of A and C which are also big on the antioxidant scale. It contains Quercetin which is a natural anti-inflammatory. This is great for healing gut issues along with other inflammatory ailments. Kale is also great for lowering cholesterol. The cholesterol lowering properties are increased when lightly steamed. This powerhouse green is loaded with calcium also and a chemical to boost DNA cellular repair. Who wouldn't want this growing in their back yard?
What to do with it? I put it in smoothies, in soups, in salads. I added it to our frittata last night. It has a very mild flavor akin to spinach. You can also puree it and freeze it in ice cube trays to use in smoothies later. Kale plants will provide for you up until the hottest part of summer when it bolts. I keep chard growing all year, which has great antioxidant properties as well. I just pulled out a 3 year old bush of chard a month ago.
Don't over cook your veggies! Keep the nutrients in by eating them fresh or lights steamed or stir fried. They taste much better that way anyways!
To keep your garden healthy and productive, start a compost bin! I am always amazed at how those scraps of left over food and yard waste turn into dark, rich soil. The only amendments I add to my soil are mulch and manure. My plants are healthy and productive. I don't get all fancy with fertilizers. When I have tried that, I suffered plant atrophy. I am a "keep it simple" gardener.
See that nice compost I just turned in? Oh my garden is happy. The best part is that it is free! You can put all produce and yard scraps, rice, egg shells, noodles and breads in the compost. Don't add anything with fat or meats of any kind. Compost shouldn't smell bad. Mine has lots of cockroaches in it. Pretty disgusting but they don't carry over into the garden and pretty much stay put. I add some DE in the compost now and then to get rid of them but they are harmless.
Happy gardening my friends! I got my garden in late this year due to our fall break vacation but I have faith that the plants will flourish and provide! I truly love being outside playing in the dirt. I love to see life come from my hard work and I love that I can feed my family food that I know is free from pesticides.
Good luck and get to work!