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There was a time when almost every home had some type of vegetable garden on the property. Those who were wealthy could afford to have large, elaborately-planned gardens, but even those who couldn’t afford to own as much land often had at least a small vegetable patch in their yard.
Growing your own food is something that a lot of people today have moved away from. Rather than planting a vegetable garden, many people just buy their produce at the grocery store because it’s more convenient.
I’ll admit, it is more convenient and easier to just take one hour at the grocery store and buy all the produce you need for the week. I’ve grown a small vegetable and herb garden in my backyard for the past couple of years, and it is a lot of work and it takes quite a bit of time, especially at the beginning when you’re getting everything prepared for the year. Even with all the work and time gardening requires, though, I think the end result is completely worth it. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as eating produce that you grew yourself.
So, why exactly is it that it’s worth all the trouble to grow your own food when it might seem faster and easier to just buy it at the store? These are some of the reasons that I’ve found that growing my own food is worth the effort to me:
1. It’s Cheaper
Buying good quality, organic produce at the store can get pretty expensive. Even the produce at farmer’s markets can be pretty pricey. It only costs a couple of dollars, though, to buy a packet of seeds.
You might spend two or maybe three dollars on seeds, but each seed packet usually contains 50-100 seeds and sometimes even more than that. Even if only half the seeds in the packet grow into full-sized fruit-bearing plants, each seedling comes out to costing literally pennies – and the fruit that will grow on those seedlings is even cheaper than that. I don’t know of any other way to get organic heirloom produce for such a small amount of money!
2. You Know Where Your Food Came From
When you buy produce at the grocery store, you have no real way of knowing where that produce has been or what is on it. Those beautiful shiny tomatoes could have a nice layer of icky pesticides sprayed on their skin. Those plump ears of corn might have come from seeds that were genetically modified.
When you grow your own produce from quality heirloom seeds, you can be sure your produce is non-GMO and free from any pesticides or other chemicals. And it might just be my imagination, but I think that the produce I’ve grown myself tastes so much more flavorful than anything I’ve bought at the store, too.
3. The Produce is Fresher
Grocery store produce often sits on the shelf for days – and that doesn’t even count the amount of travel time from the place where the produce was grown, which is often far away from the store where you are buying that produce. That big gap of time between the day the produce is harvested to the day it finally finds its way onto your plate could cause many important nutrients to be lost.
When you grow your own food, though, you can walk right out into your yard, pick your veggies, and eat or cook with them right away, preserving all the vitamins and other nutrients. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!
4. You Get Some Mild Exercise Working in the Garden
Gardening might not be as much of a workout as other forms of exercise, but working in the garden still gets you moving outside in the fresh air. Weeding gives you a little bit of exercise, and the initial hoeing the ground and tilling the soil definitely gives you a decent workout. It might not be the same as if you had gone to the gym, but it’s definitely more exercise than you would get just sitting on the couch!
5. You Gain a Greater Appreciation for Your Food
There’s nothing quite like watching your food grow in all of its stages – from tiny seed to seedling to flowering plant to full-grown produce ready to harvest. Until I started growing vegetables and herbs, I had never realized all the steps that each plant goes through before the produce is ready to eat.
I have a much greater appreciation now for the way that foods grows and for the different stages that produce goes through before it reaches my plate. When you buy produce at the store, you miss out on seeing all of those steps and watching the growth progress.
6. You Can Get Your Kids More Interested in Eating Their Veggies
I remember back when I was in 2nd grade, we had a small patch of peas and beans in our backyard. I was never a child who enjoyed eating my vegetables (ok, the truth is that I hated them), but I was so excited about eating the food that I had helped to grow that I gladly ate those peas and beans. Even kids who are picky eaters like I was might be more inclined to eat the veggies on their plates if they are ones they helped to grow themselves.
7. It’s Fun!
During gardening season, I always get so excited about watching the progress of all my little seedlings. I love going out in the morning and checking to see if anything has changed or grown since the night before. It’s so much fun to watch the seedlings grow through all their different stages. Sometimes I have a hard time being patient and waiting for everything to grow big enough to pick and eat, but it’s such a rewarding feeling when the produce is finally ready to harvest and enjoy!
And for some great tips about gardening, check out the Ultimate Gardening Guide from The Homestead Garden.
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.