by Sarah Harris: I, for one, never really cared about gardening…
The whole “start a home garden” trend seemed like another part of the organic eating phase. If you’re still on the fence about starting your own garden because you don’t buy into the organic trend, I get you. Really.
Even if you want to eat organic food, you may need some convincing to commit to a home garden. It does take some work, and you may need to persuade your family to help, as well.
Convincing your family, including yourself, that a home garden will benefit you in diverse ways, simply requires getting your hands in the dirt. Of course, skillfully using your walk behind string trimmer to enhance your garden’s foliage won’t hurt either. Once you start, you will quickly see that growing a home garden has more merits than just putting some organic greens in your family’s diet.
1. A Sustainable Way To Cut Down Your Expenses
The organics section at your grocery store will charge you an arm and a leg to get fresh produce that the Flintstones could have easily grown. If you’re committed to eating healthy, your grocery bill will likely get higher and higher, for fewer foodstuffs.
Moreover, constantly going out just to get fresh fruits and vegetables will likely raise your gas bill. A sustainable way to cut down such costs will be to just walk to your backyard and pick what you need.
2. Family Bonding Time
You’ll probably never hear people talking about “the harmful effects of spending time outdoors.” I realize that it’s a chore to get kids to leave their beloved gadgets and instead connect with the family outside. Giving them responsibilities in the garden however, allows for more family time without them even realizing it.
You’ll also be teaching your children important healthy eating habits, since half the fun in gardening is getting to eat what you’ve grown. In fact, a study found that students with hands-on agricultural teaching more likely choose fruits and veggies to snack on, instead of junk food. So put a metal garden hose in their hands, because no matter how grumpy they are at first, your family will be happy in the end.
3. Moderate & Engaging Way To Exercise
I’m not saying you’ll be ripped or lose weight from gardening. It’s just that gardening is a surprisingly physical activity. All that raking and turning compost works wonders for the muscles in your upper and lower body.
Research carried out on people who tend their gardens for 5 hours a week found that they lost about 722 extra calories just by gardening. Obviously, the more intense the activity, the more calories you’ll burn. Whatever gardening activity you do, I’m sure it is better than sitting on the couch.
4. Reduce Pollution
This isn’t really obvious at first. Our society is quite keen on reducing pollution, and you might not realize that planting trees is not the only way to go about this. Vegetables, even though have significantly shorter lifespans than trees, also help reduce our carbon footprint because they “eat up” excess carbon dioxide.
Not to mention, sustainable home gardens tend to use less herbicides and pesticides than their commercial counterparts. Residues of these chemicals almost always end up in nearby water bodies. As a result, you’re leaving an even smaller footprint on the environment.
Finally, agricultural corporations are becoming more conscious about their activities because of this “peaceful protest” by home garden owners. Thus, you might be contributing to a much larger industry change that benefits our planet and food supply chain.
5. Build Confidence
The satisfaction from setting a goal and completing it is always immense.
This is especially true for your kids. Despite what might seem like an infinite amount of patience required to tend a garden and watch it bloom, the payoff in watching something you’ve nurtured will give you a sense of achievement equal to the time invested.
For children, contributing to a thriving garden makes them feel just as capable as adults. In addition, the amount of planning and reasoning (such as: Is there enough sunlight for this plant?) that goes into gardening helps children develop thinking and analytical skills.
6. Relieve Stress
Yeah. Dirt can make you happy.
Gardening allows you to just breathe and be at peace with yourself. You don’t have to take my word for it. A study carried out in Amsterdam on the stress-relieving effects of gardening found a significant decrease of cortisol (a hormone released when you’re stressed) in participants.
Look at it this way, when gardening, your mind is simply focused on the plants and how to make them thrive. You become disconnected from your job or any other personal issue. It is truly freeing.
7. Better Tasting Food
Juicy red strawberries picked just before they land on your taste buds…freshly plucked bell peppers packed with flavor…who would turn down such tastiness?! Aside from the obvious benefit of knowing what’s in your food (or should I say what chemicals are NOT in your food), you get to experience the full, rich flavor of freshly picked produce. An that’s how it is meant to be.
Start a Home Garden Today
Did you enjoy the list? Share it with friends, and if you think I missed something, leave a comment below. With all the extra benefits of a home garden, you should pick up your shovel and start digging. Not soon; NOW.
Start small, and you’ll be surprised by how much easier it is to get your family on board. Perhaps you’ll even motivate some of your friends to follow suit.