Healthy eating: Look to your garden for healthier meals

For me, healthy eating involves gardening. I am grateful that I have a yard where I can have a small vegetable garden. We are still eating berries, kale, squash, plums and a variety of basil/kale/spinach pesto. Many of these items are frozen and some of them are canned. This year I made plum chutney and plum jam from the abundance of Italian plums that our small tree produced. I still have lots of frozen berries and hope to turn them into jam as well. I find gardening a way to bring a miracle into my life in some way every day.
Plant a seed, water the seed, plant emerges and eventually bears fruit or vegetables. Now that’s an everyday miracle. It’s easy to get disconnected from the growing process when I go to the grocery store and pick up produce from countries across the globe. We’re lucky to have such a long growing season in the Pacific Northwest. I have food from the garden almost all year round if you include herbs. To me that’s another miracle: cooking simple fresh dishes using produce from the backyard.
Several years ago I taught easy container gardening at a local food bank as part of the Snohomish County Master Gardener program. I loved introducing people to new types of herbs and vegetables. I believe that even having a small pot of herbs on a sunny windowsill or a container with a tomato plant on an apartment balcony is possible for everyone and brings delight to each meal.
We’re in the first month of spring and for me that means putting our vegetable garden plan into action. My conspirator in charge (my husband) has turned over the garden because the soil is actually dry enough to move around. We have planted lettuces, spinach, peas, beets and kale (after just picking the last of the kale from 2018 planting last week!). The sprouts are starting to emerge from the ground. Miracle in process, right?
Almost every grocery store sells flowers and veggie starts. When you pick up a pot of pansies or fushia, consider grabbing a veggie start. You can mix edibles with annuals and perennials and in that way enjoy the “fruits” of your labor in a few months. Even flowers like brightly colored nasturtiums can be added to a green salad.
Here’s a challenge for you: Plant one edible plant in your yard on in a container. Make sure you have enough sun so that the plant will flourish. Keep the soil moist, but don’t over water. Watch and wait for your own miracle!— By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at

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