Growing a garden can be a lot of work, but it can also be lots of fun, and there are many benefits of producing your own food.
So, what are the advantages of growing a garden? Growing a garden can:
- Improve your health
- Create stronger family and community ties
- Reduce your impact on the environment
- Present learning opportunities
- Save money on groceries
Far from being just a source of food, a garden can be a source of fulfillment and joy. It can provide a peaceful escape from an otherwise fast-paced and technology-centered world. A garden can be your retreat into a simpler time, where people were closer to nature.
Advantages Of Growing A Garden
There are many benefits to growing a garden, and one big advantage is the chance to improve your physical and mental health.
Growing A Garden Will Improve Your Health
When you grow your own garden, your health will improve because you will eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more, get more sunlight, and spend time in nature.
Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
I find that it is much easier to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with a garden at home. It is easy to go outside and eat fresh from the vine, or to harvest and prepare a quick vegetable stir-fry.
The improved taste and quality of home-grown fruits and vegetables makes it even more likely that you will eat more of them. There are more nutrients in food that is not shipped and stored for a long time, and they just taste better.
If you have never compared home-grown tomatoes to store-bought tomatoes, then you should try it – there is a big difference! Store-bought tomatoes are not picked at the peak of ripeness, since they have to survive mechanical harvesting, packing, shipping, and storage.
If you choose to grow heirloom tomatoes in your garden, you will get excellent taste and color that you could not find at the grocery store.
For more information, check out my article on what makes heirloom tomatoes so special.
Make no mistake – keeping a garden is hard work, especially if you decide to grow a large garden with lots of different vegetables. However, it’s not all bad – that work can count as exercise (no need to make the trip to the gym!)
There are plenty of ways to get a little exercise while also tending your crops. For example, you will dig, squat, push a wheelbarrow, pull a rake across the ground, pull weeds, and carry scraps out to your compost pile.
However, gardening does not need to be strenuous. You can opt for a no-dig gardening system, using grass clippings and leaves as a layer of mulch to prevent weeds from growing.
Even just walking through your garden to admire your plants as they grow or to inspect for problems (such as pests and diseases) will give you a little exercise from walking.
Get More Sunlight
Spending more time outside in your garden has the added benefit of giving you a little extra sunlight. This is a good thing, since a large and growing number of people work indoors during the day, and stay indoors after work.
Even 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight a day will help your body to produce the Vitamin D it needs, which in turn allows your body to absorb calcium.
For more information, check out this article on Vitamin D from U.S. News & World Report.
Spending Time In Nature
When you spend time outside in nature, you will start to feel more relaxed and at peace. Our natural state is to be surrounded by green growth, and there is no better place than a garden to get back to that natural state.
You will also feel more connected to the food you eat from your garden, since you know where it comes from, and you watched it grow and helped it along the way.
Growing A Garden Will Create Stronger Family And Community Ties
When you grow a garden, you can spend more time with your family, and you can also become involved in your community.
Spend Time With Your Family
Sharing a gardening hobby with your spouse or children is a fun and easy way to spend more time together. An added benefit is that you will also learn about how to care for plants and how to grow your own food.
If you have younger children, you can give them their own “garden jobs” to do each day. That will give them a sense of pride in their work and a chance to contribute to the family garden.
If you are interested in saving seeds, you can also try to create your own heirloom seeds over time. The idea is to select seeds each year from plants that have the traits you want.
Eventually, you would pass the heirloom seeds on to your children to grow in their gardens. For more information, check out my article on saving seeds.
Become Involved In Your Community
Gardening is also a great way to get involved in your community. You can share fruits and vegetables with family and friends, and trade advice about how to get better results from your garden.
You can also join a community garden, or start your own. This is a great way to meet new people who share your interest in gardening, and to learn from others who may have more experience.
Community gardens will often charge a fee for a plot of land, but many also offer courses so that you can learn more about gardening.
For more information on community gardens and other ways to find like-minded gardeners, check out my article on how to rent garden space.
If your garden is large enough and you turn out to be a good gardener, you can sell your extra produce at a farmer’s market.
In addition to earning a few dollars to help pay for seeds, you will meet some interesting people and learn from fellow gardeners.
Finally, you can donate some of the food from your garden to local charities, shelters, or causes (for fundraising). This is a great way to teach your children about giving back to the community.
Growing A Garden Will Reduce Your Impact On The Environment
When you grow your own garden, you will be able to recycle kitchen and yard waste for compost, avoid the use of commercial fertilizers or pesticides, and encourage bees and other beneficial insects to thrive.
Recycle Waste For Compost
When you have your own garden, you can start a compost pile to recycle kitchen scraps and yard waste, instead of filling up garbage bags with these materials.
You can compost most fruit and vegetable scraps, along with yard waste such as grass clippings and raked leaves.
The best part about using compost is that you will recycle waste and produce less trash while also creating a source of nutrition and organic material for your garden.
For more information, check out my article on how to make compost.
Composting is also an opportunity to teach your children to avoid waste. As a result, they will become more resourceful when you encourage them to find creative to uses for what some may see as trash.
Avoid Commercial Fertilizers And Pesticides
When you grow a garden, you get to choose what you use in your soil.
You can make the conscious decision to avoid the use of commercial fertilizers, which can damage local water due to runoff.
You can also avoid pesticides, which harm beneficial insects along with pests.
In addition, growing your own fruits and vegetables reduces the demand for store-bought produce, which means that less fertilizer and pesticides will be used in large-scale commercial farming.
Bees are declining in many areas, in part due to pesticides used to keep gardens and lawns green. When you grow a garden, you can help bees to survive by providing them with a sanctuary.
By planting flowers and maintaining a pesticide-free environment, you can encourage bees to thrive in your yard! As an added benefit, they will help to pollinate your plants, giving you better yields from your garden each year.
Growing A Garden Will Present Learning Opportunities
Growing a garden presents learning opportunities for you and your family. You will learn about how to care for plants, how to harvest and preserve food, and how to make your yard beautiful.
You will also learn planning, diligence, and patience, all of which are necessary for a successful harvest from your garden.
Learn About How To Care For Plants
When you grow a garden, you will learn all about germinating seeds, transplanting seedlings, and caring for growing plants. You will also learn about each plant’s needs in terms of spacing, temperature, watering, fertilizing, pruning, and weeding.
As you become a more experienced gardener, you will also develop an intuition about what your plants need. You will learn to avoid over watering (a common rookie mistake!), over fertilizing, and planting too close together.
You can also learn tricks of the gardener’s trade, such as using mulch, grass clippings, or leaves as ground cover to prevent weeds from growing.
Learn How To Harvest And Preserve Food
At the end of the season, you will want to make the most of the harvest that you get from your garden. You will learn how to pick fruits and vegetables when they are at the peak of their ripeness, before they start to get too soft (or too hard!)
You can also learn about food preservation to make and can your own sauces, preserves, jams, and jellies. You can even get a pressure cooker to preserve low-acid foods or entire meals that include meats and vegetables.
Learn How To Make Your Yard Beautiful
Finally, you will learn how to make your yard visually appealing by organizing your garden. You can use trellises, gates, statues, and other features to make your garden more interesting.
You can also plant flowers, shrubs, and other decorative plants to beautify your yard and garden. In addition to being useful as a source of food, your garden can be a beautiful retreat for your family.
Growing A Garden Will Save Money On Groceries
Growing a garden is a great way to help you save money on groceries.
First of all, you will avoid food spoilage by picking fruits and vegetables at the peak time, rather than when they are best for shipping. You can also harvest just as much as you need, and leave the rest on the vine for later. (Of course, you can always preserve your food in cans, as mentioned earlier.)
Second, you can often grow lots of vegetables for the price of a seed packet, which is a huge discount compared to fresh or even frozen produce. For instance, green beans (the pole variety) will keep producing throughout the growing season if you keep picking them.
This year, I ate green beans every day and still managed to freeze a bunch, just from the plants grown from a seed packet.
By now, you know that there are many advantages of growing a garden. Despite the work required, the benefits of a garden outweigh the drawbacks.
I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information. If you have any questions about the advantages of growing a garden, please leave a comment below.