Growing your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs is beneficial on so many levels. It’s great for your mental and physical health as well as the well-being of the planet. Whether you have an acre to cultivate or just a balcony or windowsill, you can reap the many rewards of growing your favorite foods and spices. Here are the top 6 reasons to do so.
1. MORE NUTRITIOUS & DELICIOUS
Anyone who has raised a tomato plant can attest to the fact that a red, juicy tomato fresh from the vine is so much more flavorful and aromatic than a store-bought variety. Raw, fresh food is not just tastier, it’s also more nutritious since nutrients in fruits and veggies start to break down right after harvest. The longer produce takes to transport to the grocery store, and the longer it sits on the shelf, the less nutritional punch it’ll have.
2. BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Long distance transportation of produce across the country, and sometimes across the world, relies heavily on fossil fuels. Growing your own food reduces your carbon footprint. Also, when you raise your own crops, you decide what fertilizers and pesticides are used, or not used, on the plants and soil. You can grow food without chemicals and eat it straight from the garden — which is so much better than produce picked before it’s ripe, sprayed with preservatives, packaged to prevent deterioration, transported long distances, and then sold as “fresh.”
3. SAVES MONEY
When you grow your own greens (and reds and yellows, etc.) you save lot of green on your grocery bill. An investment on seeds, plants and supplies in spring yields many pounds of produce for months throughout summer and early fall.
4. KEEPS YOU ACTIVE
Gardening is a fun way to get outside for fresh air and physical activity. On average you burn between 200-400 calories per hour planting crops, pulling weeks, and landscaping. Plus, you get the added benefit of absorbing vitamin D from being out in the sunshine.
5. FOOD FOR THE SOUL
Many avid gardeners will tell you that getting out in the yard and working with the earth is therapeutic and an excellent form of stress relief. Cultivating living, vibrant plants from tiny seedlings until oftentimes giant green goliaths is so satisfying — especially when your time, work and attention result in delectable food for your plate as well as the beautiful work of art that is your garden.
6. SOCIAL ABUNDANCE
By mid-summer, the overflowing abundance of your vegetable garden will propel you to share the bounty with all those around you. Anyone who has had a zucchini plant can speak to the fact that they usually produce way more veggies than you could possibly eat. Many a gardener has shared the wealth with friends, family, neighbors, and even food banks. Also, if you live in a more urban environment and use a community garden to grow your food, it’s a fun way to meet like-minded people in the neighborhood.