Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why grow a home garden?

There are countless reasons why people grow their own food, and here are just a few. There are also a few reasons why someone might not plant a garden, such as: cost and the amount of work the garden takes. I will show you in this article, that the benefits of growing a garden far outweigh the costs. Even with limited space you can grow some vegetables in containers if needed.


Once you have harvested and tasted food from your own garden, this question would be obsolete. Every single vegetable and fruit that I have grown, tastes so much better than any food from the grocery store. The produce grown in the store is bred to harvest when green and ripen while in transport to the grocery store. Letting your produce ripen on the plant or in the ground will give you that many more vitamins and amount of taste and texture that the store produce lacks. Proof in point, most everyone has tasted a home grown tomato, and a store bought tomato, so there is no need to describe the incredible difference.

Chemical free

There has been a lot of controversy and focus in the past few years on pesticides that are used on our food by commercial growers. They use it for good reason, they don’t want to send half eaten vegetables and fruit to the shelves by bugs, or deformed by disease. So they spray them with chemicals that prevent the bugs from ruining their harvest. However, those chemicals enter the food and we then ingest that poison. Washing before eating is an important step for even a home grown garden, but washing only takes off what is on the outside, and many of those chemicals get inside the fruit or vegetable and cannot be taken out. One option would be to buy only organically grown food, and that is a great option. But growing your own food gives you the freedom to have chemical free food for a good price.

Good for your health

It is obvious that vegetables and fruit are good for your health, but we are talking about the act of gardening being good for you. Too much sun exposure can be harmful, but a certain amount is actually beneficial to help you create and break down certain vitamins, and it also helps elevate your mood. But let’s be honest, gardening is hard work. Using a shovel and garden fork can be some good exercise. Go out in the morning before the heat of the day and doing 20 minutes of weeding and or watering of your garden would do you some good. For many, getting some fresh air and the smell of the dirt and garden plants is a great stress reliever. I am sure getting your blood pumping helps with stress too. By making a decision to have a garden, is also a great way to incorporate a daily exercise routine.

Beautifying your yard

Creating a space for fruit and vegetables to grow can be a great way to make your yard beautiful. Some people have the notion that vegetables are only good for one thing, and that is eating. Vegetable plants can be a great way to add some annuals to your flower beds and pots. Most of them produce some nice flowers themselves, and the fruits they produce add a multitude of color. To me, my garden is the most beautiful, peaceful place in my yard. We have raised beds and they are very easy to keep weeded with just a few minutes every day as I walk through, I just pull any little weed seedlings that I see, and that takes care of that. The sound of the wind gently blowing the corn stalks and the smell of the tomato plants adds to the beauty of the seen.

Reduces energy use

We all know that we use too much energy, and are using up the oil reserves. It is also common to hear about global warming almost daily. Well, what can you personally do about it? Not much right? Well, there are things we can do, and every little thing we do helps to do our part. My idea is planting a garden. Think about the plastic that we use to put the vegetables in to carry home, and that some of them are wrapped in. think about the fuel that was used to transport those vegetables to the store for you to buy, especially the ones that cannot or are not grown locally. Think of the tractors and equipment that is used to produce and harvest those vegetables. All of those things use fuel and oil. We don’t need any of that when we grow our own food. Of course we cannot all have a big enough garden, nor would we want the job of producing ALL of our food, but growing some of it will help to reduce the consumption of fuel.

Saves money

It is true that there are some costs to starting up your home garden, like shovels, soil amendments if needed, seeds or plants, and if you are building grow boxes- the materials for them. According to a study done by the National Gardening Association in 2009, on average the amount spent on growing food in a home in the U.S. per year was $70. And the average return for a 600 sq. ft. food garden was $600 worth of food. Giving a return of investment from the $70 spent $530 saved from not buying food. That is taking into account that an average 600 sq. ft. garden produces an estimated of 300 lbs. of fresh produce. That could be more or less depending on how well the garden did and how well it was taken care of. That is a very good investment of money and time not even taking into consideration the other benefits you receive from home food production.

Helping kids learn to grow a garden

It is easy to see that children love gardens. Some of my own cherished memories as a child is walking through my grandfather’s garden and picking fresh peas, carrots and raspberries and eating them right in the garden. He would also grow watermelon and we would sit on the back porch and eat it altogether and spit the seeds into the garden to see if any new watermelon plants would grow back. I see the same love of gardens in the children in my neighborhood. My own children love to help and run around in my garden. They have fun rummaging through the strawberries and peas, and also picking ripe tomatoes warmed by the sun.  All my children’s friends big and small love to come into our yard and harvest what they can from the garden as they tell me how much they would love to have a garden at their home.  It is a most amazing thing to watch something you planted and cared for grow and produce something you can eat yourself and something that is a wonderful thing to see through the eyes of children.

As you can see, the benefits of a garden are many, but the only way for you to know for yourself, is to take the plunge and start your own garden this year.

No comments: