While growing a garden seems to be a growing trend, that is not to say that it isn’t a completely worthwhile venture, something merely fashionable for the moment. Gardens are fun and interesting projects for adults and children to enjoy. They are productive ways to use our lawns, as opposed to the destructive habit of mowing, which relies on fossil fuels and causes serious pollution. It doesn’t take long, really, to come up with a host of reasons to start a garden.
Similarly, the benefits of homegrown vegetables span far beyond a fresh arugula salad or juicy tomato sandwich. When we look at what they do to the yard, as plants, they are amazingly beneficial to the earth and ecosystem. When we look at what they do to our diets, they make our meals healthier, our bodies nimbler, and our minds active. In other words, homegrown vegetables change our lifestyle and our environment for the better.
They are literally tastier.
It’s not uncommon for older generations to comment on how vegetables don’t taste like they used to. While the inclination is to discount these statements as another version of complaining about pop music or technology, there is something to it. Homegrown vegetables come from homegrown soil rather than hydroponics or unnatural growing mediums. The soil, the healthy mix of vitamins and minerals available in it, make homegrown tomatoes true-blue tastier. That’s how all vegetables used to be grown.
They are more nutrient-dense.
For the same reason, the mineral-rich soil, homegrown vegetables have more nutrients in them. Though NPK fertilizers help to produce bigger, prettier vegetables, those vegetables are actually just over feeding on what makes them large rather than what provides nutrients. It’s not unlike if humans were to eat a diet of mostly fast food: Just because we get really large from it doesn’t mean we are healthy. Eating a bunch of vegetables keeps us healthy, but it doesn’t usually make us bulky.
They are truly fresh.
The other element of the nutrient density is that freshness makes a huge difference. Even in the produce section of the supermarket, the freshness is questionable at best. Fruits and vegetables are shipped across the planet. They sit in boxes for who knows how long. They sit on shelves for who knows how long. All the while, the nutrient content is waning in that food. It’s much richer if eaten soon after being picked. We can homegrown veggies straight out of the garden.
They make healthy, plant-based meals.
One of the beauties of having tasty, healthy vegetables constantly coming out of the garden is that we tend to eat them. Rather than relying on processed foods, we are more likely to turn to the garden, which we have spent time growing, to provide our meals and treats. Eating more vegetables is never a bad thing.
They don’t have dangerous toxins.
In today’s supermarket, it’s very difficult to avoid pesticides and other biocides that are used to grow our food. Additionally, food preservatives, even on fresh produce, can be problematic to our health. Grown in a garden at home, we can control the chemicals used and, hopefully, that means none. We don’t need fertilizers for fertility, and we don’t need pesticides to avoid pests. After all, we are going to eat this stuff.
They are inexpensive, organic food.
While organic foods are more and more available and affordable, they are definitely more expensive, and going organic cuts down significantly on what’s offered. Homegrown vegetables, though they cost in time, are inexpensive to produce and can (should) be done completely organically. We also can choose what we grow.
They aren’t as wasteful.
Another problem with supermarkets is that, particularly with produce sections, the whole system is very wasteful. There is a collection of packaging. There are all of those food miles and the petroleum that they require. There is all the produce and expired products that get tossed in the dumpster. Homegrown vegetables, even if they go bad, are simply fed into a compost bin to grow next year’s garden. There is no waste.
They are a built-in exercise program.
Tending a garden isn’t high-intensity exercise, but it does promote an active lifestyle. There’s bending, squatting, digging, walking, stretching, and lifting. Different gardeners approach their work differently, but a well-tended garden is much more productive. That means getting out in it daily for at least a few minutes. Plus, it’s wonderful to get some exercise with a greater purpose behind it.
They increase biodiversity.
Having a vegetable garden with a good mix of veggies growing makes for a biodiverse area. Biodiversity helps to keep the soil healthier. It helps pollinating animals like butterflies and bees find food. The mix of veggies is also good for the vegetables themselves, helping with controlling pests and diseases. Growing vegetables adds something valuable to the lawn.
To put succinctly, growing vegetables at home is far more than a trendy thing to do. It’s a boost to people, plants, and animals. There are so many benefits it brings to a home.
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