When I was growing up my house was always surrounded by gardens. My mother had a passion for working with the soil, so every summer we planted rows of corn, squash, lettuce and all kinds of vegetables. We had tomato plants sprouting on every corner of the house, and an herb garden overflowing with everything from echinacea to marjoram.
Thanks to my upbringing, I always had an appreciation for all things home-grown. There’s nothing more satisfying than eating something that you’ve grown yourself, and nothing tastier either!
When I got older, I began to take an interest in the additional properties of the plants I was so familiar with. Turns out, there’s much more to a plant’s capabilities than its edible properties. From medicinal uses to aromatherapy, plants have a nearly sacred value (and in some native cultures, they are sacred).
Many times, everything we need to live and be healthy can be grown or raised in our own backyard, which is all the more reason for starting a garden of your own. Not only is it satisfying, but it has a long list of benefits for you, your community and your environment.
1. Starting a garden is good for your fitness
Tired of monotonous exercise at the gym? By tending to your garden, you’re getting a great workout and creating something of value at the same time. Weeding, mulching and hoeing can be strenuous, but it’s definitely a calorie-burner.
If you’re someone who enjoys working in and around nature, gardening could be the perfect alternative to the stuffy gym. There’s nothing better than finishing a day of hard work with the fresh-picked fruits of your labor.
2. Starting a garden is good for your anxiety
After a stressful day of work, some time spent in the garden can be a great meditative experience. It’s a time to connect with the earth (literally), rewind and find your peace.
For those who feel like they have a lack of control of their life, or don’t see the fruits of their labor in other areas of their life, gardening is a good way to see (and taste) the tangible results of your hard work. Gardening can bring a sense of purpose and control back to your life.
3. Starting a garden is good for your diet
The best feeling about starting your garden is when your first vegetable is ready for harvest. You start getting dreams of fresh-off-the-vine salads and aromatic homemade tomato sauces. Not only is everything tastier, but it’s healthier too.
Most of supermarket produce is grown using pesticides and is genetically modified. Even organic produce loses some of its nutritional value during the time it takes to arrive at the market once it’s picked. When you eat produce directly from your garden, you can be certain that you’re getting the real deal of vitamin and minerals au natural.
4. Starting a garden is good for the environment
By cultivating the soil in your backyard, you help restore nutrients and keep it fertile. The roots of the plants prevent erosion and retain rainwater. With a garden you can transform your dusty, dead-looking backyard into a lush green paradise with a little bit of love and hard work.
If you want to be more ambitious, consider starting a compost pile as well. Anything from food scraps to eggshells can be composted – just create a little fenced area and stir it up a couple times per week. You can then use it as fertilizer for your plants, thereby giving back to the soil and minimizing your waste and landfill contribution.
5. Starting a garden is good for your wallet
Shopping organic can be expensive, sometimes almost double the price of generic produce. Not everyone can afford to eat organic all the time, especially during the winter seasons when fresh produce is scarce.
Cultivating your own produce is much cheaper, with minimal costs for seeds, mulch and water. If you make your own compost and live in a place with plenty of rainwater, your costs drop to almost zero. Of course it takes a little time commitment, but in the end I’m sure you’ll agree that it pays off.
6. Starting a garden is good for your community
Starting a garden is a great way to get involved in your community. Check out your local farmers market to get information about what to grow, seeds, or just to talk to other home growers. If you’re looking to grow on a larger scale, consider looking into opening a stand of your own.
Many communities have gardening projects or workshops every once in awhile, which is a good opportunity to share your knowledge of benefit from others’. Who knows, maybe you’ll even start a project of your own!
7. Starting a garden is easy
You don’t need to have a big backyard to grow something; many plants can be grown in pots or planter boxes inside your house or apartment. Just place them near a window and give a little water daily and voila! Keeping a garden is ten times easier than keeping a dog, and it provides you with food instead of the other way around!
Nowadays you can even grow tomatoes from an upside-down hanging tomato planter; there’s a solution for everything. If you’re a complete newbie, start with just a few plants to get the hang of it. Before you know it you’ll probably be out of growing space!