Vegetables for New Gardeners
With over 19 years of experience in business development, human resources, client support, and operations, Gary Rixson works as Balance Innovations’ Vice President of Business Development. Among the hobbies Gary Rixson keeps himself busy with outside of work is vegetable gardening.
Growing your own vegetables can be a rewarding and healthy way to cut your grocery costs down, but gardening can often be intimidating to the beginner. Here are three of the easiest veggies you can grow at home to add to your dinner table.
1. Summer Squash – Summer squash, like zucchini, grow easily and quickly. They also are not very fussy, so you can plant them in containers or in the ground. While they do prefer a good deal of moisture and warmer soil, this just means you can plant them later in the season.
2. Carrots – Another easy-to-grow vegetable, carrots grow best in deep, well-drained soil, like that of a raised garden bed. If you do not have a raised bed, fret not, you can still grow carrots in a smaller space, or directly in the ground, though they likely will not grow as big.
3. Lettuce – Salads are practically the cornerstone of a healthy diet, and fortunately for you, it is fairly easy to grow. Lettuce does best in the cooler weather of spring and fall, and some varieties can be trimmed multiple times, increasing your harvest. Lettuce does not require much space and can even be grown in containers for gardeners without much room.
Gary Rixson joined Lockton Companies as a benefit communication insourcing consultant in 2013. In this role, he works with businesses to reduce HR workload and improve employee satisfaction. In his free time, Gary Rixson enjoys tending to his vegetable garden and supporting healthy initiatives through the American Heart Association.
Recently, a study published in American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, showed that poor diet can be an indicator of declining heart health as early as childhood. Researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine conducted a study of nearly 9,000 children aged two to 11, tracking heart-health indicators such as BMI, diet, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Within this sample, less than 1 in 10 children consumed the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, yet 9 out of 10 consumed more than the recommended amount of sodium. Additionally, more than half of children consumed more than the recommended amount sugar calories. Whole grains fared the worst among all food categories, with 3 percent of boys and 2.4 percent of girls meeting recommended requirements.
Although researchers note that further data on activity levels are required to draw any conclusions, the study is one of the first examining the day-to-day dietary habits of children in the U.S. These findings join a growing body of research linking unhealthy lifestyles in early childhood to an increased risk of several long-term conditions, including bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and obesity in adulthood. According to CDC estimates from 2012, more than one-third of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese.