Growing your own vegetables has become very popular nowadays. You may have considered the idea but decided it’s too much of a hassle, and buying them from the grocery store is a better option. Well, not really…
Using your backyard to grow your own vegetable garden doesn’t only give you fresh veggies that are packed full of nutrients but also has important mental health benefits.
Studies have shown that spending time in nature helps reduce anxiety and depression, improves your ability to cope with stress, and promotes vitamin D production, which, in turn, protects against developing bone brittleness.
Gardening serves to help us form a deep bond with what we eat and the earth it comes from. The fact that we’re so disconnected from nature is… well… unnatural and leads to this feeling of being out of place and lost.
In case you’re still not convinced, here are some more benefits to making a fully DIY salad:
First of all, you’ll need to make fewer trips to the grocery store, therefore you’ll save on gas.
Buying a pack of herbs will cost you between $3 and $5 dollars and you only use it for one or two meals. You could just buy some potted herbs for $3 to $5 and they’ll last you about eight months (rosemary and thyme can last for years). If you start with seeds, it’s even cheaper.
You also save on throwing away vegetables that have gone limp or bruised in your fridge as you can pick the amount you need and let the rest stay fresh.
Speaking of freshness…
The products sold in the grocery store are usually picked half-ripe and then travel several thousand miles. This affects the taste. When you have your own garden, you know exactly where it’s been, and you know they haven’t been tainted with any harmful pesticides.
Having better tasting and more conveniently located veggies will make you eat more of them. This, in turn, helps you reduce eating fats and sugars and reduces the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. You’ll lose weight and have more energy to get into better shape.
Getting your kids to help you in the garden will also teach them healthier eating habits and help them learn new skills and improve concentration in school. Plus, it’s a valuable bonding experience.
To have a garden means to forge a connection with the plot of ground and the plants growing on it. You’ll become more mindful of the shifts in temperature, the season’s first and lasts frosts, the amount of rain, and the shifts in sunlight. There’s a special feeling that comes from eating food you’ve harvested. We all feel a visceral connection to the earth, tending to your garden will feel like bonding with our planet.
Starting your own vegetable garden can give rise to new skills and new interests. You can get as innovative or futuristic as you’d like when it comes to space management. You’ll learn about different types of soil and how it impacts your yield, organic fertilizers and how to make your own, how to plan your garden around the changing seasons and how to take note of the temperature, and how to prevent sudden shifts from hurting your plants.
Gardening burns through around 200 calories per hour since it combines important elements from approved workout routines like stretching, exercises for good posture, repetitive movements, and even weight training. Whilst you’re working away at improving your garden, you’re also strengthening important muscle groups like your legs, arms, back, abdomen, and buttocks. There’s a lot of stretching involved like reaching for weeds and extending a rake. Pushing wheelbarrows and mulch bag lifting is essentially weight lifting and leads to stronger bones and healthier joints.
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that growing your own vegetables is better than buying them and how beneficial gardening can be for you and your family. But how to get started?
We recommend you take your first step with herbs. They’re the easiest to grow. Just think about which herbs you use most when cooking and buy some seeds or pots. Common choices are parsley, rosemary, thyme, and basil.
Owing to their outstanding flavor, tomatoes are also a great choice. You could start with cherry tomatoes, they’re less temperamental. Other options include lettuce, bell peppers, squash, and zucchini. Just make sure you plant vegetables you actually eat, or you’re just wasting space and time.
Don’t forget how important healthy soil is! A good garden literally starts from the ground up.
You can use a topsoil calculator from gigacalculator.com to figure out how much soil (topsoil) in tons or tonnes, or volume (cu ft, cubic yards or cubic meters) you need for a given gardening project. Given bag size, it also calculates the number of bags of soil you will need.
Try to avoid synthetic chemicals and opt for more organic materials like compost. Making your own compost is the perfect way to reuse the waste from your garden and kitchen like shredded leaves, shredded bark, and leftovers from vegetables you used for cooking. Through composting, you’re essentially accelerating the natural decomposition process, which breaks down organic materials so their components can fertilize the soil.
Keeping your vegetables healthy and vibrant doesn’t involve any hocus-pocus, and it doesn’t have to take all of your time (well unless you’re really into it). Check up on your plants every once in a while, check if the soil is still damp and remove weeds and/or bugs. Sometimes spraying the bugs with a hose is all the chemical control that’s needed.
If your back yard is not yet ready for a full-fledged vegetable garden, you can start with some potted plants and container gardens.
With time and patience, you can turn a small garden into a beautiful sight, and you’ll be sitting in the shade provided by your very own lemon tree, sipping on your fresh, nutrient-rich cocktail, in better shape than ever and admiring the beauty of the landscape you created.