Since buying our home, our Saturdays have been full of house projects. Before we moved in we started painting. We put painting on hold to move boxes and then unpack boxes. Then we got our baby chicks situated and started mowing and weed eating (with 5 acres, that will be a never-ending task).
With everything on our list, I was afraid a garden was just not going to happen this year. With our rocky soil abounding in gophers, we decided raised beds would be our best bet. We just don’t have time to build them this year.
I got to thinking about all the great reasons to grow a garden. For the past dozen years of marriage, we’ve had a garden though, so we’ve got to at least do something!
Nearly three years ago, I shared a my list of 10 great reasons to grow a garden. I’m sharing it again today to remind myself and encourage you to grow something too! Then I’ll tell you what we’re going to do this year!
In no particular order, here are….
10 great reasons to grow a garden:
My children’s pediatrician reminds us at every visit that vegetables should make up half of what we eat. That is a lot of veggies! Thankfully, we drink a lot of them. We still don’t usually make the “half your plate of vegetables” rule, but we get much closer by having an array of vegetables so convenient. Kids are more likely to eat veggies when they take part in growing them!
If you really ate half of each meal in conventionally grown vegetables, you could be ingesting a dangerous amount of pesticides and other chemicals. Don’t let that be an excuse to not eat enough veggies! Instead, let it be a reason to grow your own!
Tastier Fruits and Veggies
You don’t have to be a tomato connoisseur to tell the difference between a tomato from the garden and a tomato from the store. Fruits and vegetables that you grow yourself have more flavor because they go straight from the garden to your plate. Produce at the store was picked weeks ago, before it was ripe and full of flavor.
Growing your own food does cost money, especially if you live somewhere where you have to water your garden. Still, when you compare your costs to the cost of buying the quality and quantity of what you can grow at home, you will often come out ahead. If you’re just starting out, consider focusing on veggies that are the most cost-effective for you.
In our lazy society, this might not seem like an enticing reason, but work is good for us. Work in the garden yields tangible results that are fulfilling and satisfying. Hard work is a great way to improve self-esteem.
Wait! Can it really be work and relaxing? Yes! For most people, working in their garden is a different kind of work than their day job. Working in the garden is a great way to relax, unwind, and have some quiet time after a stress-filled day.
Spend Time Outdoors
Working in your garden forces you to “unplug” and spend time outside. Sunshine, fresh air and bird song are wonderful medicine for many of the medical and psychological problems we face. There’s something calming and rejuvenating about sticking your hands in the dirt and feeling the sun on your back.
Working in a garden provides low-impact exercise. Digging, weeding, planting and harvesting require strength, stretching, and repeated movements. Working in the garden will keep you limber and flexible, all while accomplishing a task.
Teach Your Children
Children learn so much from taking part in growing a garden. They’ll feel the satisfaction that comes from hard work. They’ll learn to be diligent and responsible. They will witness the miracle of one tiny seed turning into a plant that provides an entire family with food (which still amazes me!).
From natural disaster to political upheaval to job-loss, there are plenty of reasons we should be prepared and increasing our self-sufficiency. Having your own source of good food is a crucial part of self-sufficiency. Between your fresh harvest and what you can, freeze, and dehydrate, a garden will help you provide for your family even when facing the unexpected.
What we’re doing this year
I started by enlisting the kiddos to help me weed part of the back patio. A previous owner had landscaped the area, but it was pretty overgrown and needed some love.
I planted strawberries from my mother-in-law there. Some of them area already flowering! I left some room for the strawberries to send out runners in the future, but for the time being I planted spinach in between the strawberry plants to make good use of the space.
We also cleared a spot for lettuce and green onions. We started some squash and tomatoes seeds, too, although I haven’t decided exactly where they will go. Maybe I’ll put them in containers or maybe we’ll give the rock soil a try! I’ll keep you updated.
You can do this!
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of starting a dream garden this year.
It’s not too late to start growing something this year! If you don’t have time to get an entire garden spot ready, you can at least grow something.
Start with a tomato plant in a pot or some lettuce on your patio. Surely there’s something you can plant. With just a couple containers on your porch, you can start a garden.
If you’re new to gardening, start simple! Your success this year will motivate you to expand in the future.
How about you?
- Are you growing something this year?
- What are your top reasons for growing a garden?