Have you ever browsed through the vegetable aisle at your grocery store and thought that everything available looked subpar? Did the person in front of you grab the last decent looking package of mushrooms? Have you ever considered growing vegetables in your own garden? There are many benefits to growing your own garden, besides the fact that you would only be expanding your personal knowledge and self-growth. If you no longer want to depend on other businesses for your fresh foods, consider grabbing the nearest spade and a pack of vegetable seeds!
One of the most obvious reasons to grow your own vegetables is the money it will save you. Why pay for a dollar per pound of potatoes when planting an entire plant costs a fraction of that price? While there is some financial investment, like purchasing materials to build plant boxes and tools, there is also investment of time. Even though it takes more time to grow and harvest your own vegetables, this type of sustainability eventually pays for itself. If you don’t have the space for a garden, don’t worry! Many neighborhoods now offer “community gardens”, which are local areas where patrons rent a plot of land for the food they grow. Check to see if any neighborhoods around you offer this.
Another reason it is wise to grow your own vegetables is that you have the security in knowing what types (if any) chemicals are on your produce and what types of conditions they’ve been through. Many produce items we purchase at the grocery store have been treated with chemicals to avoid damages from pests, and this has recently sparked concern with many consumers. Eating food you’ve grown and produced yourself ensures that you’re only eating what you want to eat. You would have the comfort of knowing exactly how you’re feeding your family and friends.
Vegetables from your own garden tend to taste better, plus they’re much safer and healthier for you. When you’re purchasing vegetables from a grocery store, or even a produce stand, it’s likely your choices are a little limited. Sometimes, even the freshest looking item on the shelf seems like it’s beginning to wilt. The freshest vegetable you could possibly eat is one picked from your very own garden. That’s about as literal as “farm-to-table” as you can get! Cucumbers will be crispier, carrots will be crunchier, and squash – firmer. Surprisingly, vegetables from your own garden are healthier for you, as well. Studies have shown that produce grown at home has more vitamins and nutrients than veggies grown on farms that use synthetic pesticides. In fact, the activity of gardening will make your body healthier, too! Gardening requires a lot of moving, like standing or kneeling, and muscle power, like lifting heavy soil and digging into the ground. You’d be surprised to know that you can break a sweat while potting your zucchini plant!
Since you only need to pick food from a garden when you need it, growing your own vegetables reduces waste. Instead of throwing out unused food items every week before shopping for more, you can save space in that garbage can by only using what you need. As soon as fresh vegetables are harvested, they begin to go bad because they are no longer connected to their source of food and water. This means any vegetable is going bad while it’s cleaned, shipped away, packaged and delivered to grocery stores. When you pick a vegetable from your own garden, there’s no chance of having to throw it away! If you’re concerned that growing your own food may actually leave you with too much (perhaps you’re only growing food for yourself), don’t worry. Donating your extra produce would be a great way to share your harvest. You could consider taking up baking as a hobby and use your fresh vegetables to create delicious dishes to share with guests. As long as the vegetables are shared and enjoyed, you don’t have to worry about waste.
While waste is one component of sustainability, growing your own vegetables is an excellent way to live a sustainable life and improve the earth. Many big farms meant to produce large amounts of produce end up polluting the air with the many chemicals they use, and they take up a lot of the planet’s energy supply, too. By building your own garden, you’re reducing the amount of pollutants in the air and you wouldn’t be using any man-made energy resources. With your own soil and elbow grease, you would be helping to save the environment.
If you’ve never considered growing your own garden, hopefully these reasons will have changed your mind. Check your neighborhood for local community gardens, and talk to friends and family to see if anyone has tips to help you get started. There are many online forums available, as well, to share with others your new love of gardening!