Still wondering if gardening is really worth your time and energy? There are dozens of great reasons to garden. Here are my Top Ten Reasons to Garden:
A garden starts modest investment of just a few dollars in seeds. But it gives you hundreds of pounds of fresh fruits and veggies. And if you preserve the surplus produce you’ll get even more. If you are willing to do a bit of canning, freezing or dehydrating, you can provide most of the fruits and vegetables your family will need for the entire year.
Food in the grocery store is picked days before it is ripe and long before the food has developed all its nutrients. Fruit from your garden can have as much as 30 times the nutrients that food in the grocery store. The fact is food today is bred for one purpose: to withstand interstatetransport and have a long shelf life. Nutrition never even enters into the equation. Consider this: 70 years ago an adult woman could get her daily requirement of vitamin A by eating two peaches. Today, she would need to eat 53 peaches to get the same amount of vitamin A. This infographic illustrates how nutrition content of our food has changed over the centuries. It really is shocking.
Mother nature uses flavor to entice us to eat well. Food picked too early not only lacks nutrients but flavor, as well. Even the food you buy at the Farmer’s Market is not just-picked fresh. It is usually picked a day or two before reaching the market. And who knows how long it was in the stands before you come along to buy it? Once you taste garden-fresh vegetables, nothing else can compare.
Save the environment
You can grow your food chemical-free, which has a lower impact on the environment. Bonus: you get organic food at a fraction of the cost of what’s in the store. You also have less impact on the environment because your food isn’t being shipped in from hundreds of miles away and it’s not consuming energy to keep it in cold storage till it’s ready to be sold.
Scientists are now finding that gardening helps relief stress and improves mental health. There are many reasons for this. First, the fresh air helps clear the mind. The sounds and smells of nature are soothing. Plus the repetitive nature of gardening chores creates a calm similar to meditation. And the creative process of gardening improves mental acuity.
Just 2.5 hours of moderate-to-intense physical activity a week can make you healthier. It can reduce the risk for obesity, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression and colon cancer. Gardening does all of that for you and more. It also helps improve flexibility, balance and physical endurance. All this without having to pay for gym membership.
Not only do you get the health benefits of better nutrition and exercise, but getting your hands in the dirt actually has other health benefits. The soil that you are digging into is filled with bacteria and micro-0rganisms that are beneficial to human health. You inhale these organisms while digging in the soil. Or they get inside you through cuts on your skin or a bit of dirt left on your veggies. Inside your body, these organism have many health-promoting benefits.
How many times do we hear about food safety recalls in the news? When you garden, you control the safety of your food through all stages of production, harvest, delivery and cooking. Grow your own food and you wont have to worry about some strange bug putting your family in the hospital.
Improve your home’s value
A well-designed garden can increase your home’s value by as much as 12%. Studies show that community gardens foster closer-knit neighborhoods, reduce crime and increase property values.
Gardening helps you create new and meaningful connections. When you garden you are also connecting with your community and with nature, with your family and with your own body.
Still need more reasons to garden?
How about tomatoes? Fresh, delicious, vine ripened tomatoes. Enough said.