If you already garden – chances are when you read the list below you might chuckle a little as you think about the pleasures gardening can bring. Whether growing your own food in containers on a windowsill, potted plants on a patio, or big garden plot in the backyard – there is something magical about planting and nurturing your own food from the land.
Yes, it’s true – growing your own food can come with an array of challenges – but it all comes together when you pluck that first vegetable from the vine and taste the fruits of your labor.
If you’re not a grower – maybe our list below will spur you on to try your hand at growing a little food of your own in the coming year. Be careful though – it’s quite addicting! 🙂 Here, in no particular order – are our 5 great reasons to grow your own food:
1. The True Fresh Food Experience: If you garden – you get this right away! There is nothing in your local grocery store, or even farmers market for that matter – that can ever compare to the taste of a just picked vegetable from your own garden! Period! The crunch of a pepper, the juicy explosion of a tomato in your mouth, or eating sugar snap peas right off the trellis – your own food has a taste that cannot be beat!
2. Exercise Your Own GYM Membership. Spend a few hours outside digging, planting, or harvesting – and you know exactly what I am talking about! Gardening is one of the best ways to get a little exercise in your life – and for a reason – you get great food!! Sure, you can go to your local gym and lift a few weights and run a few laps – but gardening is exercise with a purpose! Not only are you burning calories (studies have shown as much as 300 calories per hour) – but you are growing your own health food store in your back yard. We like to call our little farm our GYM membership – with the GYM standing for Garden and Yard Maintenance. The best part – our membership is free!
3. Knowing What Your Eating. By growing your own food – you also know exactly what went into it – or more importantly – what didn’t! Whether its freshly dug potatoes, fresh picked green beans, or a few cloves a garlic going into our favorite dish – we know for a fact that they are free and clear of any harmful sprays or synthetic fertilizers. You can’t always say the same for those “fresh” veggies picked up at your local supermarket. You also know that it came from your very own yard or container – and not trucked halfway across the globe.
4. Mental Health: Fresh air – sunshine – the feel of a cool summer rain falling gently on your skin – or your hands working in the warmth of sweet smelling earth – these all part of the wonderful experience of gardening! Fifteen minutes spent in the garden can go a long way to erasing a stressful day at work. For both Mary and I – it is an easy and completely free way to unwind from the daily grind of work and life. And the best part – it rewards you back with great food on the table!
5. Family, Friends And Neighbors. Gardening brings out the best in relationships with your neighbors, friends and your own family. As much as we enjoy gardening – we love to share the fruits of our harvest with new and old friends alike. There just seems to be an unwritten rule among gardeners to share their harvests – and it makes for some wonderful and lasting friendships. It’s also a great way to pass on knowledge and tradition. This past summer, as the oldest in our family was home from college – she spent the afternoon helping us harvest garlic. Mary and I both smiled as we heard her say…”This smells so good!! I can definitely see myself having a garden someday!” Those words were music to our ears – and another seed planted for a future generation to carry on what each of our parents passed on to us – a love of gardening!
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary!