Payton’s Healthy Living Lifestyle

One of my favorite things to do in the late winter months, when I have that rare quiet time, is reading the large collection of gardening catalogs that seem to arrive daily in our mailbox. Daydreaming about the incredible garden I’d like to have this summer helps me get through the last cold, snowy days.

Some of my fondest memories when I was child are the spring and summer days with my grandparents helping them with their garden. We would spend many hours preparing the soil, planting, and caring for the vegetables and fruits. I learned far more than growing a garden and their wisdom has helped shaped the person I am today. This year, our children are old enough to help with a garden and I’m looking forward to passing down this tradition and spending quality time with our family.

I’ve been carefully going through every one of the catalogs, making lists of vegetable and fruit seeds and plants I want to order. I’ve gone back through the catalogs making notes of the items on my list that are “new” and promise to be the “largest producing, pest resistant, easy and early harvest” varieties. If I purchase and successfully grow everything that is on my list, we’ll be able to end world hunger!

Andrew, my wise and patient husband, reminds me of how much space we have to plant and how much work caring for the garden takes over many months. But isn’t that what “our family team” will be helping with? I am confident they’ll enjoy being part of planning the garden, selecting the items to buy, and even the time spent planting. I may need to rethink how anxious our kids will be helping to pull weeds that seem to grow overnight and watering chores. One of our kid’s story books is about being around to help with the work in growing season so they can enjoy the harvest. I think I’ll keep this book on the top of our reading pile!

I’ve also started my list of “must dos and don’ts” as a reminder before heading out to the garden starting with sunscreen, insect repellant and staying hydrated. Applying sunscreen is a must and so is insect repellant. We live close to the woods and ticks seem to be everywhere. I always check everyone, including myself, before coming back inside to make sure we don’t have any unwanted guests.

On our kids’ “to-do list” will be cleaning the small cooler and filling half of the cooler with cold bottles of water and the other half with frozen bottles of water. By mixing the bottles, the water will stay cold and refreshing. Staying hydrated when outdoors, especially when doing work, is very important. You can get so involved in gardening that you forget about taking time for a break and replenishing your liquids. I think I’ll buy more of the flavored waters when I place my water delivery order to help add some variety to the cooler!

Do you want to know what vegetables and fruits are on my list? So far I have for early planting onions, lettuce and spinach. My “after the last frost” list includes tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, beans, watermelons, melons and strawberries. I’m already excited thinking about harvest time! Not only will we get to enjoy eating and sharing some delicious, fresh food, will also stick to our goal of living a healthy lifestyle.

Do you garden? I’d appreciate any good advice you’d like to share.

One more thing, I just remember I need to start working on my flower list!

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