There are many advantages to growing your own edible plants in your backyard, courtyard or balcony apart from the satisfaction and pleasure which can be derived from producing your own food. Here are five benefits of growing your own:
1. You can harvest fresh vegetables and herbs as you need them which means they will contain a greater amount of valuable nutrients (which do deteriorate over time especially when the produce is stored for lengthy periods) and will always taste great. Most commercially produced produce is derived from specially bred varieties for long harvest life rather than taste. This means that the produce is stored for long periods of time in cool rooms, sometimes artificially ripened and then transported enormous distances to arrive in the store you purchase it from. This is why your store bought veggies don’t last very long after you get them home.
2. The taste of your homegrown produce will be amazing. You will actually enjoy eating fruit and vegetables a lot more when they taste fantastic. These days its quite easy to source heirloom or old variety seeds which haven’t been genetically tampered with and which produce the most delectably tasting vegetables. Plus you can grow some really interesting varieties which are not normally found in stores like green cauliflower and purple broccoli (2 varieties currently growing in my garden). Also when you use heirloom seeds its quite easy to let a couple of plants go to seed, collect the seeds and plant them again for the next crop.
3. Reduce your carbon footprint. As mentioned previously fresh produce is often transported over great distances to get to your local grocery store so if you grow your own you will be doing your part in reducing damaging carbon emissions and helping to keep the atmosphere a little cleaner. You may think that one person can’t make that much difference, but just imagine if you and all your neighbors grew some of your own food and perhaps even traded excesses with each other. This can recreate true community spirit between you and your neighbors as there are probably 1 or 2 varieties that you are really good at growing whereas your neighbors may have different favorites that they like to grow. Just grow more of the foods you enjoy to grow and swap them for other varieties your neighbors have grown.
4. Save money. You can purchase packets of seeds or punnets of seedlings, some fertilizer and pea or sugar cane mulch for just a few dollars and have a whole harvest of delicious fresh herbs and vegetable just by investing a couple of hours a week in your garden. Plus if you love fresh fruit, deciduous fruit trees can be purchased bare rooted in winter, which makes them cheaper, and once planted and well fertilized, they will produce fruit for the family year after year with only minimal care.
5. You’ll get fresh air and exercise while tending your vegetable garden. Plus working in the garden reduces stress and can be very therapeutic. Also gardening is a fantastic form of exercise so you’re burning calories at the same time. Not to mention the enormous satisfaction and pleasure you will get when the food you put on the table came from your own garden.
So why not give it a go. It may take a little bit of trial and error to work out what grows well in your garden but soon you could have a wonderful meal of freshly grown vegetables that you will be proud to serve to your family – or just enjoy all by yourself!