Growing Your Own - Worth The Effort?
Anyone who has ever tasted a homegrown tomato knows how much more delicious and flavorful they are. The same is true for almost anything you grow yourself. As the grocery store produce is grown to be large, uniform in size for pack-ability, durable to ship, and to stay fresh for a long time, it lacks flavor and taste compared to homegrown veggies. But is growing your own veggies or planting your own fruit trees worth the effort?
Growing your own vegetables can reduce your grocery bill throughout the summer. If you freeze or can your harvest, you can extend your savings into the winter months. Initial investment includes soil conditioning, material for the garden beds, seeds or plants. But there are physical, mental, community and skills-building benefits that translate to economic benefits.
There are numerous studies that confirm the health benefits of gardening. As an avid gardener with almost twenty years of experience I can assure you that all of these are true.
Gardening lowers cortisol, “the stress hormone”. Chronically elevated cortisol levels have been linked to everything from immune function to obesity to memory and learning problems and heart disease.
Gardening ensures you are getting your daily dose of vitamin D to reduce risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and various cancers. Healthy level of Vitamin D also alleviates depression.
Gardening involves many of our critical functions, including strength, endurance, dexterity, learning, problem solving, and sensory awareness.
Gardening strengthens immune system: the “friendly” soil bacteria common in garden dirt which are absorbed by inhalation or ingestion on vegetables, have been found to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis, allergies and asthma.
Although gardening might seem as a time consuming hobby, try to count the time you spend shopping in the grocery store, making lists what to buy, waiting in the traffic, unpacking, etc. When you plan your garden properly and when you use techniques such as mulching, you drastically reduce the time spending watering and weeding.
Have you ever noticed, how much packaging you throw out after shopping? Individual plastic wraps on cucumbers, two peppers packed in plastic and styrofoam, the packaging is often unavoidable when you shop in large supermarkets. When you grow your own food, you not only reduce waste, but you can build healthy compost with the vegetable and fruit scraps you don't eat. In this way, you return to the garden its gifts and you create a sustainable circle.
Don't know where to begin? Starting with just few kitchen herbs that thrive beautifully even if you are a beginner, is already a good start. Check out my video on growing culinary herbs.