There are many reasons why I started a garden. Let me give you those 7 key reasons why I started a garden! Gardening is a growing and satisfying hobby and/or lifestyle especially over the last few years since COVID. Some are still sitting on the fence and thinking about a new garden or having one in the past and are thinking about replanting. Either way, Gardening provides several benefits!
Absolute Best Taste
Who does not love to cook and eat? I am here to tell you that fresh ripe vegetables from your own garden are 10 times better than what you can get from the grocery store. However, it is not surprising that many fruits and vegetables are grown to be aesthetically pleasing as they sit in the produce area in the supermarket.
The varieties of produce grown commercially for the grocery store are grown more for their looks, disease resistance and time to maturity, rather than how well they taste. Freshness is another aspect in how commercial produce is picked, ripened, and displayed in the grocery store. Most vegetables are harvested before they are ready and then artificially ripened, which improves their shelf life, but not their health value or taste. With a backyard vegetable garden, you can wait and pick your produce at the peak of ripeness for flavor and overall nutrient value.
Have you ever taken a bite out of a ripe tomato or cucumber, fresh off the vine, on a warm summer day? You cannot even think about comparing something store-bought to this. All it takes is to taste your fresh produce either straight from the garden, canned, or in a meal you cook up and you will be sold on the difference.
So, in summary, vegetables from your backyard garden will blow away the taste of those you purchase from the store.
Somewhat tied into taste is the fact that with a backyard garden, you have access to a much more diverse set of vegetable types and varieties than you can get at the grocery store. As previously mentioned, the varieties of produce at the grocery store are limited and based more on commercial factors rather than nutrients and taste. There are so many varieties of tomatoes, corn, beans, peppers, etc., you can get seeds for or can buy from your local nursery than what is available at the grocery store.
There are many sizes, tastes, colors, sweetness, heat, etc. For example, I grow two kinds of paste tomatoes, Amish Paste and Martin’s Roma for sauces. I also grow Japanese Trifle Black, Black Krim, Chocolate Pear, and several other tomato varieties. For peppers, I grow Jalapeno, Cayenne, Sweet Chocolate, Cubanelle, and other varieties. They all taste different and are used differently in cooking and canning. I thoroughly enjoy planting a variety I have never grown before. The variety of plants in looks and taste is one of my absolute favorite parts of gardening.
Your backyard organic raised bed garden provides health benefits including stress reduction, nutrient-rich produce, and physical activity which we all need more of in the internet world we now live in.
Stress Reduction and Soil
There is immeasurable value to walk out into your garden after a long stressful day of work. The garden is a safe zone where you can focus on your plants and their health. When you dig in the dirt, you will be also digging into mycobacterium vaccae, a soil-based organism that research has shown to play a positive role in gut and brain health, including lightening mood and anxiety. So, not only mentally healthy but some research shows a physical connection to the soil. Gardening is my go-to stress reliever!
Check out this medically approved article on” How Gardening Became the Self-Care Staple I Never Knew I Needed.”
Produce from your garden, harvested at the peak of ripeness, provides the maximum nutrient content available. Deterioration starts as soon as crops are harvested, so homegrown produce that gets to your table fast offers more nutrients than grocery-store produce that travels over time and distance. Storage times, temperatures and exposure all affect nutrient loss.
North American-grown commercial fruits and vegetables typically take about five days to get to U.S. markets. Produce from outside North America can be in transit for several weeks before it hits store shelves. You have one to three days before it is purchased, in addition to several days in your refrigerator after that, and the end product is no match for nutrient-rich crops from your own back yard.
It is reported that Vitamins and antioxidants in some types of produce may be more than 100 percent higher in local crops versus imported ones. (“The Benefits of Garden-to-Table Produce Versus Supermarket Varieties”) It is as farm-to-table and nutritious as it gets if you are eating what you are growing yourself.
Physical Activity and Burns Calories
In our days of the Internet, getting out in the backyard and doing a little work will do wonders for your mental outlook and health. It also increases exposure to vitamin D, which comes from the sun, which is good for our bones and muscles. Light gardening typically burns around 300 to 350 calories (about 28 minutes of running) an hour so gardening is beneficial for your health. The benefits of working in your garden daily, even for just 30 minutes a day, are well worth it.
Also, a health issue is the importance of organic produce. According to an article in the USA Today, based on samples taken by the USDA and FDA, many of our fruits and vegetables we buy from the grocery store contain residual traces of pesticides. The top produce with residual pesticides being strawberries, collard and mustard greens, and kale. Peppers come in at #10. 70% of non-organic produce sold in the country contains pesticide residues, the article stated. And more than 90% of samples including strawberries, apples and leafy greens tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides. (“Dirty Dozen List: The Most Pesticide-Laden Produce – Dr. Axe”)
Genetically Engineered Food
Another aspect of knowing where your food comes from is the desire to avoid genetically engineered food which affects many of our produce and products from the store. When you grow your own herbs and produce, you know the source and the story of your food. You know the type of soil you used –clean and nutrient-rich – and how you treated the plants as they grew, with plenty of sunshine and without artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides. This is especially important for me and my family and may very well be for yours as well!
An aesthetic landscape and garden are pleasing to the eye and evokes feelings of joy and satisfaction when viewing the scenery. You can intersperse flowers with your fruits and vegetables. These in return will draw in butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. A birdhouse and feeders will draw in birds and hummingbirds to help control bugs on your plants. You can include vertical aspects, bird baths, a water feature, and many other elements that can add to the aesthetic look of your backyard garden. You might want to have a sitting area in the middle of your garden to relax and spend time with family and friends. Be creative and you will surprise yourself with well a backyard garden area can look aesthetically pleasing while at the same time provide all these other benefits!
One of the great benefits of gardening is that it spurs curiosity and learning. Gardening creates a hands-on learning environment supporting curiosity, research, and collaborative problem solving. Recognize that gardeners never become experts at every aspect of gardening. I am constantly researching, learning, and trying new varieties, planting methods, composting and there are always new bugs and diseases that you may need to figure out. It is a lifetime learning environment that never gets old. Gardening also leads to more learning in the kitchen as you and your family try out new recipes with your home-grown foods. In short, Gardening keeps your brain active and interested in a beneficial hobby and more.
Satisfaction and Pride of Having a Garden
Growing your own produce gives you a real sense of achievement, satisfaction, and pride. You don’t think you were born with a green thumb, but after sowing, planting, nurturing, and harvesting plants, you might see a slightly different person in the mirror: a person ready to try new things, a person who can grow things, and is a little more in tune with the earth. (“8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening | UNC Health Talk”) Your friends and family will want to eat them too because they were raised with love and care by you!
If you like this content, you may want to jump over and review the What Zone is Louisiana for Plants post or the Good Garden Practices That Kill Vegetable Garden Plants post.
Closing Thoughts on 7 Key Reasons Why I Started a Garden
The 7 key reasons why I started a garden I’ve described here are ones that I have enjoyed and experienced in my own backyard organic raised bed garden. You may wish to consider starting or resurrecting a raised bed or container garden in your backyard to improve your mental and physical health and achieve all the above benefits as stated. It truly is worth it so give it a try or a try again!
So, get out in your backyard and grow something!!!!