When I think back on my childhood, a vegetable garden was an important part of every family. Once I became an adult vegetable gardening didn’t seem to be as popular. People seemed to have forgotten the benefits of growing your own food.
I have had a vegetable garden every year for the past 20+ years and can’t imagine not having one.
There is something just so satisfying about going out and picking the makings of a fresh salad just in time for dinner.
Our children remember the fun they had just going and picking beans or tomato for a snack.
From a very young age, I have taken each of our grandchildren out into the garden to help, learn, and explore.
To me, growing vegetables is a must-have life skill. If you know how to grow the food you will never go hungry.
One of our sons lives in an apartment and he grows tomatoes on his balcony proving you don’t need big space.
A big wake-up call
We all have just been given the biggest wake-up call for the necessity to grow our own food when the pandemic came crashing down around us, pinning us to our homes. Even a trip to the grocery store was nerve-racking.
With our grandson, it was even more important to stay healthy so he didn’t catch it, since as a diabetic he was in the high-risk category. Meaning if were to catch COVID-19 he has a higher chance of more severe symptoms or death because he is already immuno-compromised.
Even though we taught our kids to grow food at a very young age not all of them did. And the biggest reason is that there is too much work involved. Well, since this pandemic began, our daughter has started growing some of their food themselves which was a very good thing to see.
I have always been health conscious but have become even more so since our young grandson was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last June.
His diagnosis has really brought home the necessity of a healthy diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a very big part of a healthy diet.
Eating fresh fruit and vegetables not only tastes great but it is an excellent source of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need daily.
It is a bonus that when those fresh veggies come from your own backyard they are even more irresistible.
When my oldest grand-daughter was younger she didn’t like carrots unless they came from Nana’s garden. She was correct in that they really do taste different when grown and picked fresh.
Note to Parents: According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association preschool children who were frequently served homegrown produce were more than twice as likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and enjoy them more than kids who rarely ate homegrown produce.
This I can vouch for, our grandson didn’t eat very much of his food on his plate at home and our daughter was always after him to eat more but he never did. When he came to our house he would always eat his entire meal and sometimes ask for seconds… a couple of times even thirds.
Fresh vegetables don’t only taste better, they are better for you.
Reduce Grocery Bill
Stocking your pantry with homegrown produce will significantly reduce your grocery bill. Here in Canada, a lot of the produce sold in grocery stores is imported which makes it so very costly.
A package of seeds is rather inexpensive and if you purchase heirloom, non-hybrid varieties you can save the seeds from your best producers for next year.
If you are fortunate enough to have space, you could grow enough to can or freeze to last into the winter months which will further reduce that grocery bill.
Much Tastier Food
Naturally, the fresher food is the better it will taste. We have no way of knowing how old the food at the supermarket is, especially since it needs to be imported.
If you have ever eaten a homegrown tomato, you would notice a significant difference when compared to a supermarket tomato. There is no comparison.
Of course, the better food tastes the more likely you are to not only eat it but to enjoy it as well and isn’t that the point.
We all want to enjoy the food we are eating daily.
When you grow the food yourself, you are in control. You know without a doubt whether pesticides or chemical fertilizers were used.
We are all aware that conventional farming uses extreme amounts of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to grow commercial crops. This fills our earth and foods with harmful cancer-causing chemicals.
I personally don’t use either.
Here in New Brunswick Canada, we have heavy clay soil so I add several bags of peat moss to my garden as well as our own compost in the spring when I till up the soil before planting.
This works well for me and I know the quality of the food I grow is top-notch.
I don’t want any of my family ingesting chemicals so I make sure not to use them.
Load up on Vitamin D and Outdoor Exercise
With all the raking, hoeing, weeding watering, and eventual harvesting you will be adding significant physical exercise to your daily life which is just as important as the food we eat.
At first, be cautious not to overdo it, you could get some stiff and sore muscles until they become accustomed to it. If you do happen to get sore muscles don’t worry about it, the muscle will grow and adapt.
All that time spent outdoors on those nice sunny days is a great source of Vitamin D which is an added health benefit.
Reduce Food Waste and Environmental Impact
By growing your own food you are reducing your dependence on food that is commercially grown and requiring to be transported sometimes thousands of miles. That puts unknown amounts of emissions into our world just to transport the food.
When you grow your own food you help reduce the burning of high amounts of fossil fuels as a direct result of importing commercially grown foods.
You are also reducing waste from food packagings such as plastics and cardboard.
Just take a moment and think about how much food packaging you would be able to save in the course of a summer of eating homegrown veggies.
You could save even more if you were able to preserve your veggies for the winter months as well.
By composting your kitchen scraps you are also saving on your amount of garbage going to the landfill each week.
Fun Times with the Grand-kids
Growing our own food has created great learning opportunities with our children and later with our grandchildren.
To help the crop flourish you will need to learn about the types of soil, composting, and the benefits of crop rotation, or companion planting.
You will also find it necessary to learn about the weather and other environmental factors you may never have really thought about before.
What a great way to learn as a family and teach your kids or grand-kids essential life skills while reducing your environmental footprint and living a healthier, greener life.
Over the years I have learned that there are plenty of benefits to growing a vegetable garden in your back yard.
In addition to providing you with plenty of fresher, tastier produce it can improve your family’s health, help you save a ton on your grocery bill while helping the environment at the same time.
You can also have some incredible family fun as you learn this important life skill together.
If you don’t have a back yard you can still grow vegetables in a pot on a balcony so you can still reap some of those great benefits.
Thanks so much for dropping by. I’d love to hear about your own gardening stories in the comment section below.