Family Fun: Can You Dig It? - Carson Tahoe Health

If you’ve been looking for an active, creative way to spend time with your kids or grandchildren, planting a vegetable garden is an ideal spring and summer project rich with teachable moments, exploration, and adventure—right in your own backyard.

Don’t have a yard? Don’t worry. Many veggies and herbs can be grown in pots, small planters, or large containers—anywhere they can soak up the sun—be it on a deck, patio, or windowsills throughout the house. No matter if you’re growing tomatoes, flowers, or lifelong memories, gardening is an easy way to enrich the lives of every member of your family by learning how to bring “yard to table.”

Studies show children who help plant and care for homegrown vegetables at an early age consume more vegetables than children who don’t. In addition to instilling healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime, backyard gardening is a great form of exercise and physical labor for those of all ages. Movements, such as digging, raking, pulling, and bending, can burn as many as 250 calories in an hour.

Ideally, your family’s first garden should be rooted in fun, in addition to providing a sampling of basic vegetables that each member already likes to eat. Planting a theme garden to include an Italian “pizza patch” and “salad bar” full of ingredients, such as tomatoes, garlic, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, basil, and oregano, can help build a child’s excitement about watching their food grow. If you’re unsure which plants grow best in your region, try piling the family in the car for a trip to your local garden center for advice and ask about kid-friendly classes to help you get started.

Carson Tahoe Health established a hospital garden in 2013 that was planted and cultivated by members of our Green Team. From July through September, the garden yielded more than 300 pounds of food – squash, zucchini, tomatoes, radishes, onions, peppers, and basil. More than 60% was donated to our local food pantry and provided to Merriner Cottages patients.

Find more helpful articles like this one in Carson Tahoe’s latest issue of Here’s to Your Health Magazine! call (775) 445-5161 to receive a free copy.