My family has consumed the last of the homegrown, sweet melons and tender potatoes. Also gone from my garden are the green beans, crookneck squash, lettuce, and cucumber plants. The zucchini and tomatoes linger on and so is the self-satisfaction that comes from cultivating vegetables.
There are many benefits to growing your own food, from goal setting to putting an extra buck in your pocketbook—something we all need these days—from bragging rights of flavorful, chemical-free meals to educating children.
Growing your own produce gives one something to look forward during difficult times. For sure, this winter I’ll miss the savings at the grocery store’s checkout counter, an estimated $50 per week. Like so many families, it hasn’t been easy stretching a budget on part-time work, wage and benefit cuts, increasing medical costs and raising food prices. Because of high-prices, many families are understandably making unhealthy choices. Let’s face it, healthy cuisine (especially organic) can cost more than cheaper processed food. However, when life gets tough it’s even more important to stay fit, physically and mentally.
Dani Federico, M.P.H. Masters of Public Health, UC Berkeley, personal trainer, nutritional counselor, and health blogger says, “Gardening can be a great stress reliever (even if you feel like some gardening flops have caused you some stress!). Spending time outside improves health by allowing us to breathe fresh air while the sun provides you with Vitamin D. Being responsible for another living thing gives us a sense of purpose which improves our overall happiness. While gardening is not vigorous enough to count as your exercise for the day, it is a great way to lead an active lifestyle.”
The tastes of homegrown flavors alone are enough to improve one’s health and habits. “I grow many vegetables because you can’t buy the flavor and freshness in any store,” says Master Gardener Glen Johnson. “As a result, we eat far more vegetables in our meals.”
Mike Spinetta, Staff Writer for The Gold Country Times, says he grows vegetables to “teach his daughter about how life works.” “Even this year, we planted tomatoes for some silly reason, and she sees how the plants are bearing no fruit. Aside from teaching her, it’s great to trade what fruit, veggies, and herbs I get for my neighbors’ various home crops.”
For those who garden, the reasons are as vast as vegetable varieties. Regardless of any “garden flops,” cultivating one’s own food brings a great deal of satisfaction to the soul. Vegetable gardening is a rich and varied experience that grows deeper than tomato roots while producing a healthier body and mind. © 2011 Dianne Marie Andre
PS: If you’ve been thinking about growing your own vegetables, autumn is the perfect time to begin. Whether you’re a novice, you want to switch to raised beds, or you’ve relocated, I can help you get started. For consultation information, please contact Dianne at email@example.com.