Whether being able to add just a sprig of fresh mint to your tea or quickly nabbing a juicy tomato for your summer salad — or even saving a bit of time and money on the price of organic produce from your grocery store — there are so many wonderful benefits to discover with a home vegetable garden.
To start, imagine a sunny weekend, listening to the birds chip (or, maybe a little music in your earbuds), escaping the everyday stresses of the world, and simply focusing on nurturing this thing you’ve grown with your own hands.
And that’s just the beginning. So let’s explore our favorite reasons for starting a garden...
1. Fresh & Nutritious Produce At Your Fingertips
An obvious favorite of ours, there’s nothing better than healthy, clean fruits, vegetables, and herbs to grow at home. With a little work, your favorites are all conveniently available. Simply step outside and cut!
Access to these fresh, nutritious foods is not just convenient, it can help you eat healthier too. Dietary Guidelines recommend eating at least 2 cups of veggies and 1½ cups of fruits per day to get necessary nutrients and reduce risk of chronic disease. However, only 1 in 10 Americans adults meet those recommendations, according to the CDC.
And, while you grow your healthy foods, you’re not only getting more of your daily recommended servings, you’re also controlling how they grow — choosing what pesticides or chemicals (if any) are added to your produce.
Plus, what you grow will be more flavorful, vitamin-rich, and nutritious! That’s because, once harvested, produce typically begins to lose moisture and nutrients. That means what you buy at the store might not be as fresh as what you find in your vegetable garden. So, being your own gardener lets you harvest your produce when, and only when, it’s ready to be enjoyed — at its peak flavor, freshness, and nutrition!
2. Gardening Helps you Live Healthy
Beyond the nutrient-rich nature of homegrown fruits and veggies, planting and starting a garden is a rewarding way to get fresh air, sunshine, and some exercise.
As easy as maintaining a garden can be, it’s still hard work. But it’s fulfilling work that exercises your muscles, increases your heart rate, keeps you limber, and fills your lungs with fresh air while you crouch, squat, carry, dig, and all-around work your body.
No personal trainers needed, and you get all that without a costly gym membership!
3. Gardening Helps you Feel Healthy
Feeling anxious, bored, or stressed? Maybe you’re just not getting enough dirt under those fingernails.
That’s because the act of gardening is simply grounding (no pun intended). It’s a natural stress-reliever that helps you slow down a bit, take time to focus, and create something with your bare hands.
For some, gardening is considered meditative, or a time for self care — “me time.” You might have experienced “flow state” or “the zone” when working or playing sports. Other times, it’s the hyper-relaxed, calming feeling you might enjoy in a nice, warm bath.
Wherever you find it, this “me time” is when you can shut out the world and simply be present in what you’re doing, helping you care for your mind and emotions. And that’s one of the wonders of gardening. You can naturally and easily escape everyday worries to slow down, tend, nurture, rejuvenate, grow — all without the distraction of your phone, TV, or computer. Just breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine, tend your vegetable garden, and leave all your problems elsewhere.
And, at the end of the day, when you look in the mirror and remember what you’ve accomplished — all that planning, tilling, planting, nurturing, and harvesting — you’ll see someone a bit different; someone who can do all those things while taking care of their body and the Earth. And if you can do that, what can’t you do?