If you love the idea of growing your own fruits and vegetables but haven’t started yet, maybe it’s time to take the plunge. You can start small at first, maybe with a few containers of herbs, lettuces or small veggies, and branch out from there. You’ll soon discover the many benefits of growing your own food. Here are 9 reasons why you should get started now!
1. Homegrown Food Is Healthier
What better reason to grow your own food than it benefits your health! Sadly, the fruits and vegetables in stores will have lost a lot of their nutritional value by the time we buy them, which could be days or even weeks after they’ve been picked. They lose more and more nutrients as time goes on traveling from field to store.
In addition, some fruits and vegetables are imported from other countries and may have been left sitting in crates for long periods of time. Homegrown veggies and fruits on the other hand can be picked minutes before they’re eaten, thus ensuring their maximum nutritional value.
2. It Tastes Better Too
It’s just common sense that fresher food tastes better. Everything deteriorates with age and fruits and vegetables are no exception. Harvesting and eating immediately will give the biggest pack of flavor that no store-bought food can match.
3. Gardening Is Good Exercise
This is one of the surprising benefits of growing your own food and maybe the most exciting, since the latest medical advice is to get off that couch and get moving. I think this is really good news! Bending, stretching, raking, planting and watering, just being out in the open air and breathing deeply are all good for stress reduction and a healthier heart. Even indoor gardening can have some of these benefits.
Bottom line, gardening can aid in weight loss, tone your muscles, lower your blood pressure, help you live longer, and boost your immune system.
4. Homegrown Food Is Cheaper
There will be some initial costs to get started, of course: some basic equipment, maybe pots and soil and of course seeds or starter plants. But after that you can enjoy the fact that you’re not only eating more healthily but also saving money in the process.
As you grow more varieties, you can stock up, dry herbs in the microwave, preserve or freeze some vegetables and fruits, make chutneys – and not be running to the store every time you need fresh produce. The more you grow, the more you’ll save.
5. You Know What’s In Your Food (And What’s Not)
Another of the not-so-obvious benefits of growing your own food is having control of what’s in and what’s not. I mean, is organic 100% organic? In fact, what does organic really mean? What chemicals and pesticides are used to grow our fruits and vegetables? Sadly, we’re not told. And whatever it is that’s been sprayed on our food, is it harmful? I don’t want to be a scaremonger, but we need to be aware of the dangers that exist in the food production industry.
The fewer chemicals and pesticides we put into our bodies the better. No one really knows what they do to us long term. In addition, there have been recent outbreaks of E. coli in romaine lettuce and salmonella in red onions. The good news is that you have control over all this by growing your own food. Every little bit helps to keep ourselves healthy and safe.
6. Gardening Can Be Fun
Yes, really! You put some itty bitty little seeds into soil, add some water, and a few weeks later they peek out, then they grow and grow into food you can eat! From literally nothing! You’re watching nature doing its thing right in front of your eyes. But apart from that mystery, just like any hobby there’s the pleasure of creating something good and useful.
And, if you bring children into the mix, it can really become fun. Give them age-appropriate tools and tasks and let them work away with you. Their questions will confound and amuse you. And you may learn something new!
7. More Self-Sufficient and Eco Friendly
We’re all more aware these days of our individual impact on the planet and of the impact our modern living has on our daily lives. You may not be interested in off-grid living, but you might want to be a little bit more self-sufficient. Growing your own food goes a long way to helping with just that. It reduces your reliance on the grid and can be a life-saver in the event of an emergency when you’re unable to get to stores. In addition, you’ll be using less packaging and fewer plastic bags and containers – a nice side benefit for the planet.
8. Less Food Waste
You pick your salad ingredients and vegetables as you need them. No more stacking bags of food in the refrigerator for days or weeks where they’ll go soggy, moldy or rancid if not eaten. Wasted food is your money down the drain. It also adds more stress and pollution on the environment when food is transported that is not used and when wasted food is disposed in landfills.
9. It Helps Ease Depression
It’s common knowledge that getting out in fresh air and being in nature is good for our moods. Gardening reduces stress and calms nerves and has a positive overall effect on our health and well being. There have been many studies that have confirmed this and there are now gardening programs specifically to help people who suffer from depression. Add to that the sense of satisfaction you’ll get from doing something meaningful for yourself and your family.
Want to Learn More?
A good, basic gardening book will help you avoid beginners’ mistakes and give you the confidence you need to get started. I recommend Vegetable Gardening For Beginners: A Simple Guide to Growing Vegetables at Home by Jill McSheehy. This well-organized book will help you get started without overwhelming you. It includes specific information for each vegetable – zone, soil temp, spacing, varieties and much more. In addition there’s information on tools, planning, building, planting, maintaining, and harvesting.
So, by growing your own fruits and vegetables you can enjoy better health, a calmer mood, cheaper, fresher produce, tastier meals and the satisfaction of an enjoyable and productive pastime. In fact, the benefits of growing your own food are so many that you’ll wonder why you didn’t start earlier!
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