The price of just about everything, especially gas and groceries, continues to rise at an alarming rate. One of the most effective ways to combat both costs is by growing food in your vegetable garden.
The bottom line is that fewer trips in your car to buy groceries yields increased self-sufficiency because it translates directly into grocery savings.
The fact is that a packet of seeds to grow food will almost always cost less than a cup of coffee and save you money (lots of it) in the long run.
But there are other benefits too! So keep reading to learn more.
1. Growing food at home is nutritious and yummy!
Once you start stocking your pantry with fresh produce from your garden, you’ll begin to eat healthier in a big way. Those fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables pack the highest levels of nutrients that they can precisely because of how they were created.
And check this out: It’s your free passport to some wonderfully unexpected flavor adventures!
Compare the taste of your homegrown tomatoes against the store-bought ones and tell us on social media how much you savor the difference!
2. Growing food at home is safe.
Kiss those worries about food safety goodbye, too! No more fretting over the latest E. Coli or Listeria produce recall. When you grow your food, there are no concerns over contamination at the farm, manufacturing plant, or in the semi that’s hauling the goods along the way.
When you plant food, you provide healthy, unprocessed fare for the whole family. This practice allows you to eat better and unlocks many other gardening benefits beneath the surface! We need to dig a little deeper…
3. Gardening burns calories and is an excellent source of moderate exercise.
According to Robert Hutchins, MD, MPH of UNC Health, working in your garden does your heart a ton of good and results in other positive health outcomes. More than one major muscle group is involved in the process.
You receive great cardio from planting in soil, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. You’re also getting the bonus benefit of aerobic exercise from your enjoyment of gardening as physical activity!
When you garden outside, you receive a healthy dose of Vitamin D directly from the sun’s rays. (Of course, don’t forget your sunscreen!) It’s been shown that Vitamin D can enhance your immune system, and it may also decrease blood pressure levels.
4. Gardening is a form of horticultural therapy.
While the physical benefits of gardening are great, therapeutic horticulture is very much a thing, too! Many psychologists who employ cognitive-behavioral therapy have looked closely at the remarkable emotional effects of gardening on a person’s state of mind and overall mental well-being.
So, while many will attest that gardening is often a relaxing endeavor, it also provides fertile ground for practicing acceptance.
In practicing acceptance, you can reduce stress and anxiety in your life by coming to terms with the things that are out of your control. The more you accept the limits of your control, the more peace of mind you can achieve.
Even the most seasoned gardeners will tell you that there are aspects to gardening beyond your control. Gardeners will often note the challenges they face and the steps they can take to address these challenges in the future.
When you’re planting your own food, harvesting, and spending time outdoors year-round, you increase your chances of enjoying a positive mental state. It’s like creating and fostering your own restorative energy to help handle challenges and stresses we face daily, no matter how big or small.
5. Gardening activities stimulate the mind.
Many studies suggest that gardening also can increase brain function. For example, a group of Korean researchers measured evidence of positive brain nerve growth factors in seniors aged 76 and older after they had produced their vegetable gardens.
Gardening is full of experimenting and learning, and, therefore, it comes as no surprise that keeping such a stimulating hobby will continue to improve your mental health. And you don’t need a systematic review of tons of data to realize that!
6. Gardening can make you (and your kids) feel better about yourself.
Gardening may also be a great way to boost self-esteem, especially for children and young adults. Gardening allows individuals to witness parallel transformations in the soil and themselves while filling their lungs with fresh air.
Unsurprisingly, gardening in prisons is often seen as an effective rehabilitation tool for this exact reason. Taking on new tasks in this way enhances a person’s self-image, especially when the fruits of their labor emerge.
7. Gardening is easier than you think!
The thought of gardening seems overwhelming, but it’s much simpler than it sounds. Caring for essential kitchen plants and veggies takes just a few minutes daily.
You don’t have to trade in your lifestyle for one on some dusty farm, either. All you need for a successful garden is a bit of attention, water, and a few square feet of outdoor space. Indoor gardening is also an option, you can buy a few pots and trays to grow plants indoors.
Also, consider searching for—or even starting—a community gardening program in your area.
Put your sunny balcony or patio to use. Or set up an indoor herb garden on a window box. You’ll be amazed how many herbs and vegetables can grow from one pot.
And when you’re ready, don’t be afraid to push yourself a little in growing your own food by building raised beds, joining a community garden, raising fruit trees, employing organic methods, urban gardening, or vertical gardening.
8. Gardening helps in so many other ways.
Gardening can also create a welcoming sense of community and shared knowledge; it can benefit our ecosystems and improve our living spaces. Growing your food organically, you help spare the earth the burden of unnecessary air and water pollution.
You also reduce food waste. Americans, on average, throw away hundreds of dollars worth of food yearly! So you’re far less likely to toss a rotten avocado that you paid a couple of bucks for at the supermarket than you are that perfect cucumber that you ripened in your garden.
Sprout positive life changes through gardening!
You’ve seen the countless benefits of gardening. Now’s your chance to let your own garden be your sanctuary—a place for enjoying the benefits of gardening and a space from which positive life changes sprout.