Benefits of Growing Your Own Food

Potting mix in a small shovel

Summer is the perfect time to start thinking about a garden. Read why planting your own organic garden can benefit both your physical and mental health, and why it’s for the environment.

You get organically grown food for a fraction of the cost

Organically grown foods are definitely worth the extra cost in our opinion, however, it doesn’t have to cost more (and may cost less after your first year of initial investment in clean soil, square foot gardening materials or the like), if you grow your own organic foods. It really is not at hard as it sounds, and A LOT of it can be grown in pots/buckets and indoors. Find a friend who already gardens to learn a few tips to get started, or spend a few minutes browsing online and you’ll be good to go. Be sure to purchase seeds from a reputable company. Baker Creek Seed Co. is an Heirloom seed company so their seeds are Non-GMO, organic and have been saved and passed down for many generations. Burpee Seed Company is another one committed to never providing seeds that are GMO (hybrid does not necessarily mean GMO). Beware, some organic seed companies are owned by Monsanto and other not-so-friendly organizations, so if you don’t want to support them, research the seed company before buying. You also can save some seeds from your produce from year to year, as another way to save money.

You can pick and eat your food at optimal ripeness

Many suppliers of grocery stores, organic or not, pick fruits and vegetables very early prior to ripening, in order to create a longer shelf life and allow the produce to look “perfect” at the store. Unfortunately this practice reduces the nutritional content of the food and increases certain harmful natural food chemicals that some individuals are sensitive to. The longer the fruit/vegetable is allowed to ripen before picking, the more nutritious it is and the easier it is to digest. One example of this is the nightshade family of vegetables and fruits. Those that are sensitive, may actually tolerate nightshade family produce, if picked and eaten at optimal ripeness.

You know what’s been done to the food you’ve grown

There are SO many ways to naturally prevent weeds and insects, one being simply that you plant certain things together that will naturally keep pests away. Some plants are naturally repel pests, which is something to keep in mind during mosquito season. When you grow your food you are more aware of what’s being done to it. Most plants do well with just the right amount of water and sunlight, and a little earthworm poop or compost from your kitchen.

You will reduce your environmental impact

Growing your own garden is good for the environment, since it lowers your carbon footprint due to the fact that your vegetables don’t have to be shipped across country (or globe), to arrive in your local grocery store. Also you will be reducing the chemicals (pesticides, herbicides and fungicides) commonly used on produce bought in most supermarkets, which are harmful not only to you and your family, but to our planet.

Gardening is good for the soul and puts a smile on your face:

It can feel really therapeutic to get your hands in the earth, plant things from seed, watch them grow, and harvest fresh green beans, zucchini, or potatoes for that night’s dinner; or the next day’s salad using your own mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, pea pods, and radishes. Working with the soil can reduce anxiety and depression, and according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, also help your kids eat more vegetables!  When kids are involved from the get go in planning, planting and caring for a garden, they are much more likely to be excited about eating the food that they helped grow.

So before you try to convince yourself that you don’t have the time or the know-how to garden, consider taking 5 mins to see how easy and NOT time consuming it is to grow your own food! Some sites may tell you that all these certain things need to be done, you must have your own compost pile for fertilizer, or that you need some big plot or fancy soil to make it cost beneficial. It’s just not true! All you really need is a small bit of space you can designate for a garden, or leftover pots and containers to set up a container garden – even 5 gallon buckets work well! Sticks are free and can be used as supports for taller plants. Check craigslist or your local co-op for people giving away dirt for free if you need it. Seeds are typically cheap and some packets come with over 200 seeds, which means you’ll have leftovers for years to come. The time is right to start planning your own organic garden!