Health Department

Getting Ready for the Next Season

Getting Ready for the Next Season

Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director

September 12, 2012

If you are a regular reader of my column, then you know how highly I regard gardening and have read many times about all the benefits it offers; however, for those who do not know, I will once again share the joys of gardening with you.

Gardening can not only provide you with your needed daily supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, it also can save you and your family money. Using the University of Missouri Extension’s estimates on plant production, the Independence Health Department has estimated that gardening can save the average family up to $125 per year off their grocery bill. In this tough economy, what family wouldn’t value those savings?

Gardening is also a great form of exercise. Yes, exercise. The physical work needed to pull weeds, plant seeds, water plants, and till the soil builds your core muscle groups and burns more calories than you might initially expect. Just one hour of light gardening can burn 330 calories for the average person.

For most of us though, the growing season is over; however, that doesn’t mean that the gardening season is over, too. Now is the time to think about getting our gardens ready for a great season next spring. The Independence Health Department and Independence Community Garden Association are hosting two, free workshops to help all gardeners prepare. Both classes will be held at the Independence Health Department, 515 S. Liberty St., Independence, MO 64050 and will go from 6:00 to 7:30 P.M.

The first class on September 17, 2012, will be presented by Ben Sharda, Executive Director of the Kansas City Community Garden Association, and will focus on the importance of compost in your garden. Compost, which is decomposing matter, is a great natural fertilizer and can be done inexpensively and attractively. Mr. Sharda will share his insights on starting a compost area, choosing a location, layering, and what should and should not be added to your compost.

The second class on October 15, 2012, will be presented by Sharon Goldstein, a team member of Get Growing KC, and will focus on preparing your garden for winter. Because tilling under broken or dead plants is not always the best way to add organic matter to your garden, Ms. Goldstein will share her expertise on inexpensive alternatives to prepare the soil and prevent bugs in your garden next spring.

To learn more about these classes or other gardening opportunities, call the Independence Health Department at 816-325-7185. If you don’t garden but would like to, it’s not too late. The Independence Health Department can share instructions on building a raised bed or put you in contact with a local community garden site. Give the Independence Health Department a call; you’ll be glad you did.

Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Independence Health Department.