10 Benefits of Vegetable Gardening
Have you been thinking about putting in a vegetable garden this year, but aren’t sure whether it is worth it to you? Here are ten good reasons to vegetable garden.
Better Tasting vegetables
If you have never grown tomatoes in your own garden and eaten one right after picking, you don’t know how good a tomato can taste. There’s nothing like eating a tomato fresh off the vine, unless it’s corn on the cob eaten at the peak of ripeness within fifteen minutes of picking. When my siblings and I were growing up, we all enjoyed vegetables and I think part of the reason for that was that our mom had a vegetable garden.
I have always grown my vegetables by improving the soil using organic methods. I’ll never forget the time when a few years back we were selling our place and I was showing a perspective buyer my garden. He couldn’t believe that my garden soil had been produced there on site using nothing more than homemade compost, sawdust from a local sawmill and leaves for mulch, and a little kelp thrown into the tomato planting holes. Healthier soils make for healthier plants which make for healthier vegetables which makes for a healthier you.
Less expensive for higher quality vegetables
Organic vegetables are great, but let’s face it, they cost more than “conventionally grown” vegetables. When you grow your own vegetables, especially if you work your garden by hand, you’ll discover that you can grow your own for a lot less. Take for instance, spinach. A package of spinach costs about $5 or more and may last about a week. However, if you were to grow your own, that same $5 could be spent on a package of spinach seed which could last you all summer. If you learn how to save seeds, a package of an heirloom squash or cucumber seeds (which is easy to save) can last indefinitely.
Fresh air and sunshine
Nothing beats getting out in the garden for providing fresh air and sunshine. Get out in the garden in the morning or in the evening rather than midday. You get the benefits of vitamin D without the skin damage.
Hand working your garden is better for your health than using mechanical devices. The bending and stretching of hand working your garden provides a workout that pays. Not only do you get a workout, but you get fresh vegetables in the process.
The gentle labors of working in my garden allow me to allow my mind to wander. I don’t feel pressed to stress over issues in live, but I can mull over my thoughts and discover solutions to problems that might not be as readily accessed when I am anxious about finding an answer.
As already stated, healthy soil creates healthy microbes and healthy microbes produce healthy plants which produce healthy animals and humans. Understanding what produces healthy soil promotes immunities in plants which is passed on to their animal consumers. Which, in turn, produce healthier wastes that promote healthy soil and the cycle continues improving immunity throughout the ecosystem.
Immunity can be found in the heat of compost just as it is in the fever of a human. Microbes are attracted to decomposing vegetation and manures and their consuming of those nutrients releases the calories which produce heat. The heat neutralizes disease causing microbes and even weed seeds and turns what was waste products into nutrition that eventually plants can utilize.
In humans the heat of a fever also kills off disease causing microbes from parasites to bacteria to viruses. Fortunately, under normal circumstances disease causing microbes are more susceptible to the heat than their human hosts.
In both processes helpful microbes feed off the disease causing ones and remain in the soil providing synergy with the host that strengths both the helpful microbes as well as human immunity.
I sense a spiritual connection with the ecosystem, the universe, and even the creator of the universe when I am gardening. The wonders of God’s creation are obvious to me as I go about the gardening chores. I am in awe of the natural processes that I wouldn’t see if I bought my vegetables at the grocery or even the farmer’s market. As I labor in the garden, I become part of the circle of life. I am one with nature and the creator of all.Social Connection
When gardening can become a joint effort among family members, it creates social bonds that are so often missing these days. What the cell phone takes away, learning to garden together can return to the family unit. Similar to the spiritual connection, it creates a social connection with those who participate in the gardening experience. It creates a sense of belonging, a sense of connection with one another.
Positive Effect on Environment
When growing your own garden, you have a way of recycling items that you use on site. You can use containers for growing plants that might otherwise end up in a landfill. You can use cardboard, yard wastes, woodchips, and shredded paper as mulch.
You can use your vegetable plants as ground cover which protects the soil, nourishes soil life and conserves water.
You can recycle manures, household food scraps and yard wastes not used as mulch by making compost. You can either make compost using the hot compost method or by creating worm compost.
Your food isn’t traveling across continents to get to your home. Therefore, you’re reducing your contribution to the extensive use of fossil fuels.
Various items can be used as trash to treasure all you need to do is use your imagination.
Okay, so there’s my list of ten things that vegetable gardening does for me. Can you think of more? If so, share your ideas below.
Also, if you’re looking for a good book that can help you learn more about vegetable gardening, check out my book Simply Vegetable Gardening In print or on Kindle.
Preaching to the choir. 🙂 Good luck with planting this spring.