Exercise, Health, Wellbeing and Planting your Veggie Patch

If you know us, you know we have 3 decent size veggie patches and we’ve spent a lot of time over winter turning over, weeding (lots!), mulching, growing mainly lettuce and herbs and now spring planting. And whenever I get out there, I’m glad I’m strong and have endurance because once I get started, I don’t like to stop until I’ve finished my ‘imagined’ task for the day.

I’m guessing you all have in some way planted a veggie patch at some time in your life, mine started helping dad in his, by force then, but now it’s my own choice and I gain great joy out of it. Growing a veggie patch can be as small as a pot of herbs or tomatoes on an apartment veranda, to one of the fabulous, raised patches (think corrugated iron or wood) in a small backyard, to ours which is 3 big beds as we have a decent size block, or even ones you have at your farm, if lucky enough to have one.

So, what is the exercise, health and wellbeing part to a veggie patch? There are so many and I’m going to stick to my top 3.

  1. Exercise – oh yes this is to me number 1. You squat, push, bend, walk, reach, lift, basically you can use all your major muscle groups. From glutes and quads to squat, hamstrings, core, back, as you bend (correctly is to hip hinge!) pushing soil around or pulling out veggies we are using our grip and all associated muscles to arm and shoulder muscles. It’s quite a workout and inevitably I’m feeling it the next day
  2. Health – I don’t think we can be classified organic vegetable patch growers however we probably are to the most degree, we only put in organic soil, sugar cane mulch and feed on our veggie patch. We never, ever use chemicals, we live with the pests which we actually don’t get that many of, we go snail hunting in the dark with our torches (yes we do!) and we weed by hand. And, importantly the health is also not just in the vegetables we pick, it is putting our hands in the soil with its microbes and when I wash my freshly cut veggies I do a quick once over (from our filtered water tap) and it’s the soil-based microbes that stay on my produce that today we commonly call probiotics and prebiotics. They help us to digest our raw ingredients and herbs and contribute to the thriving healthy balance of our own microbiome. There is a great article I read here which explains just one of the things that happens to our fruit and veg from our supermarkets which kills off these important microbes.
  3. Wellbeing – Ahh the joy of a good, hard day’s work and the joy that we get nearly every night from picking, making, and eating salads and herbs from our healthy veggie patch, with our children. Joy is one thing, and it is not out there obvious with a big grin on my face, it’s the inner thoughts, feelings, and satisfaction I get. The other is being out in nature, well it is only our backyard but over the years and particularly the last 2 of lockdowns, it has been our haven, we have fruit trees all now blooming with spring, the insect houses we have, the honey eater birds suckling nectar from trees around our neighbours houses and ours, the magpies pulling worms, green grass to lie on and all the sounds in the air. And, this year we have planted more bee friendly flowers, hoping we are contributing to their health and wellbeing. I can’t wait to see the sunflowers come up, maybe I’ll have a harvest of sunflower seeds to share!

So, this is my desire for you all reading this, get out in your garden this weekend, if you have a veggie patch started wonderful, if not start planning a spot in your garden or a pot and get busy. If you ever want advice there is tonnes of it out there but we are always up for a chat about veggie growing, we have failures and abundance and we never stop learning!