Nobel-prize winning author John Steinbeck once wrote, “There is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp.” From spading the soil to planting the seeds, to nurturing the plants, to harvesting the resulting fruits, vegetables and flowers, the process of starting and maintaining your own garden can have immeasurable benefits for your mind, body, and soul.
Learn a New Skill
So maybe you don’t exactly have a green thumb; maybe you always forget to water that desk plant you bought last spring, or the flowerbed in your front yard is overrun with weeds. That doesn’t mean you can’t acquire the skills needed to start and tend a garden. Like anything else, it just requires a little practice and dedication and that thumb of your's will start changing colors before you know it.
Although startup expenses can be a deterrent, a longtime commitment to growing your own fruits and vegetables can make its mark on your grocery bill. Freezing or canning your harvest can help extend the shelf life of your produce to help you save money year-round.
There’s a certain peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly where your food came from and how it was treated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 29 pesticides in the average American’s body. If you feel you need to use pesticides, make sure they're natural pesticides, which won't hurt the environment and all of us who live in it.
Don’t tell me you’re going to grow all these beautiful fruits and vegetables and not eat them. Studies have shown that people who grow their own produce are more likely to eat healthier. After all, once you’ve had a perfectly ripe tomato fresh off the vine, greasy fast food just doesn’t have the same appeal.
Locally Grown is Better For You
Produce begins to lose its nutritional value the second it’s picked. That’s not to say store-bought produce has no nutritional value, but, for example, broccoli can lose up to half its vitamin C on the journey from truck to store shelf to fridge.
Share the Love
You’d be surprised how much your friends, neighbors, and coworkers might appreciate some spare peppers. Sharing your harvest not only improves your relationships with these people, but it can also encourage them to eat healthier!
It’s pretty difficult to grow a garden from the couch in your living room. Not only can gardening get you more sun exposure for some much-needed vitamin D, but three hours of gardening can burn as many calories as an hour at the gym. Why pump iron when you could be aerating a garden?
Make it a Family Affair
Working a garden together can be a great way to bond as a family. Plus, it’s a great way to get kids away from their electronic devices and connected with nature. Kids are also more likely to try more fruits and vegetables if they’ve been exposed to gardening.
Everybody has to deal with stress. Whether you need to reduce your road rage from your morning commute or calm your nerves for an upcoming presentation at work, stepping away from all the bells and whistles of modern technology to enjoy the great outdoors can work wonders for your mental well-being.
Reap What You Sow
There’s an un-quantifiable satisfaction that comes with reaping the fruits of your own labor—especially when those fruits are literal fruits. Basking in the achievement of your own hard work is something we could all use a little more of.