Kristin Cooper Live, Love, Garden Each morning I look out my window at our garden, and the surrounding trees. I listen to a symphony of birds, as the sunlight shines higher in the neighbor’s sycamore tree. A full night’s sleep leaves me thirsty, so I go to the kitchen for a glass of cool water. I know that the plants in the garden are also thirsty, and I venture outside to water them. The grass feels good between my toes and as I reach for a ripe tomato, a butterfly dips down into a flower. This garden is full of life, and I feel fortunate to know it intimately. Not only does my garden provide an abundance of organic fruits and vegetables that are healthier than most produce in grocery stores, but the work it takes to grow this produce requires constant physical activity that is great for physical health, and relieving stress. Cultivating a fruit and vegetable garden is a tremendously rewarding experience. A garden is a fertile piece of land with a collection of plants that are cared for by an individual or a community. A garden can be any size arrangement of flowers, shrubs, fruits, vegetables, herbs or trees. My parents taught me how to care for a garden. We have five members in our family, with five mouths to feed, so we have a large garden. This garden is spread out across our entire backyard, with six fruit trees scattered throughout. Persimmon, apple, mandarin, orange, avocado, and lime all yield their fruits at different times throughout the year. We have a beautiful flower garden, with many varieties, as well as a dedicated rose garden. We have categorized most of the vegetable plants into separate garden boxes or planters. For example the herb garden box contains rosemary, thyme, oregano, cilantro, curry, and borage. The salsa garden box contains various types of peppers, and onions. A third garden box contains zucchini, yellow squash, cantaloupe, and peanuts. We also have a planter with fifteen tomato plants, consisting of eleven different varieties. The food grown in these garden boxes is healthier than industrially farmed food bought in the store, because I am knowledgeable about how the food was grown. In fact we consider our garden to be organic, which requires using natural fertilizer, and not using pesticides, herbicides, and growth hormones, all of which are chemical products and these substances are harmful to humans. For example, growth hormones make fruits and vegetables look bigger, and better, but without nutrient rich soil they lack in nutrients. On the other hand, fertilizer made from natural compost, decomposing plant matter is free of pesticides and herbicides. Fruits and vegetables grown organically can taste much different than store bought foods and that taste of extra flavor means the produce is higher in nutrients. Of the eleven different types of tomatoes in my family’s garden, each has a rich and unique flavor; store bought tomatoes do not compare. The oranges we grow are also much tastier than oranges I have bought in grocery stores.
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