There is something extremely satisfying about growing your own food. Knowing that you planted a tiny seed and with the help of the sun’s energy, you nurtured it into something that can feed your family, can be very rewarding. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden is not only good for you, it does a world of good for the planet, and saves you money. With the increasing shift toward sustainable living, and the coronavirus pandemic keeping most of us at home these days, there has never been a better time to try your hand at starting a garden.
Health Benefits of a Garden
Growing your own food is a healthy outdoor activity to enjoy by yourself or with your family. Starting a garden can benefit your health in many ways:
- A vegetable garden is a great reason for adults and kids to get outside, take in the fresh air and sunshine, and get some exercise.
- Growing your own food makes you more aware of what you are eating and where it came from. It is an opportunity to eat healthy, fresh foods instead of processed, packaged ones.
- In your own garden, you can avoid exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides that are used on most commercially grown produce.
- Fruits and vegetables that go straight from the garden to the table contain more nutrients than those purchased from the store, as store bought produce was probably picked at least several days before landing on your table.
Vegetable Gardens Help the Environment
We all want to do our part to live a sustainable lifestyle and help the environment. Backyard fruit and vegetable gardens benefit the planet in many ways:
- Gardens help fight global warming. Global warming has increased significantly due to the greater presence of greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels. In fact, according to climate.gov, “by the end of 2019, the warming influence of human-produced greenhouse gases had risen 45 percent (since 1990).” When you get your produce from your own backyard, it doesn’t have to be processed, packaged and shipped by a fossil fuel burning train or truck. Gardening, as well as investing in clean, renewable energy, are just a couple of ways we can do our part to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and slow global warming.
- Backyard gardens use fewer or no pesticides, which can contaminate groundwater, affecting our drinking water, as well as fish, insects and other animals.
- When gardeners use kitchen waste as compost, this keeps that waste out of landfills and helps to produce healthier soil and more abundant crops.
How To Start A Vegetable Garden
If you are new to gardening, don’t be intimidated. The best way to learn is by doing! Follow these tips to be on your way to having a healthy, productive garden:
- Start small and grow only foods that you know you and your family will eat. As a beginner, you don’t want to be overwhelmed by too much garden.
- Plan how your garden will be laid out before planting. Consider how much sun your garden will get when choosing a spot.
- Talk to other gardeners in your area to find out what grows well, and be sure to plant each of your fruits or vegetables at the right time of year for that crop.
- If you are short on space, consider a container garden. Herbs, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers, as well as many other vegetables, do great in containers, and they can sit right on your balcony or front step. Another option if you are short on space is to find a plot in a community garden. Community gardens are a great way for the people in an area to come together to make life better for everyone.