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Four Reasons to Start Gardening

It still feels like winter, but Spring is just around the corner.  There are many reasons to start a garden.  Here are four great ones!

 

1. Sustainability

Growing your own food at home is the perfect way to begin a lifetime of sustainable practices.

You are saving water. Common agricultural practices have been shown to use water extremely inefficiently. Home grown food uses significantly less water relative to the amount of food harvested.

You help decrease the environmental cost in transportation of mass amounts of produce to grocery stores, restaurants, and other vendors around the globe.

Another practice to integrate into your gardening regimen: Composting.  Composting decreases the amount of waste you create and transforms the dirt in your backyard into a fertile bed of soil in which your seeds can grow! Did we mention how easy it is to do?

Tip: Know your home’s hardiness zone. It will help you decide what and when to plant for maximum success.

When planning your garden, make sure you consider the sun’s path to ensure your garden beds get optimal levels of light (~6 hours).

The sun’s path isn’t the only thing to mull over – a moon phase calendar can predict the best days of the month to plant a variety of seeds.

 

2.  Nutrition

The perceived convenience of global food sourcing and mass shipping of produce to achieve lower prices has been detrimental to our diets and our planet.  Not only has the nutrient availability of fruits and vegetables decreased, but there is also an environmental cost to transporting produce such great distances.

Homegrown vegetables, fruit, and herbs are naturally more nutrient rich and flavorful than conventional store-bought produce.

The fact that you are the garden manager ensures harvesting at peak ripeness levels (maximizing nutrient content), safe fertilization, and minimal transportation costs.

Tip: Of course it would be inconceivable to try to grow every kind of produce in your backyard. We recommend eating with the seasons and shopping local as much as you can to get the freshest, cleanest, and most nutrient dense produce

 

3. Pride

Nothing is as satisfying as watching the steady progression of a pumpkin seed turn goliath in your own tilled garden.

You’ve sewn the earth with a variety of seeds you look forward to some day eating (or are willing to “try” again). Next thing you know, the buds start popping out of the ground at an alarming rate and every time you step away from your garden, you think to yourself…I DID THAT.

The fruits (or vegetables) of your labor should be a great source of pride. These are your ‘food children’ that you’ve reared, fussed over, and tended to – and if it weren’t for you, the world would never know how good a bite out of a raw misshapen carrot actually is!

The fact that each piece of the produce you’ve grown is unique in shape and size only reflects the purity of your garden and how conventional, store-bought produce can never compare.

Tip:  Look into a community garden if you lack the time, space, or budget required to start your own garden. It’s a great way to meet people and get fresh produce that’s also nurtured with community love!

 

4. Exercise

Food gardening is a gentle, relaxing, and stress-lowering form of exercise.

Done right, you can minimize your waistline, maximize savings in your wallet, and boost your mood and energy levels.

Getting your hands a little dirty can keep your body limber as you maneuver into uncommon positions around the garden. Additionally, working outside gets you a lot of fresh air and some mood-boosting  Vitamin D.

Working with nature not only provides a much needed break from the mental assaults of technology that we often experience in the workplace, but it also gives us a chance to reflect, meditate, and calm our inner spirit.

 

 

Visit your local garden center to learn more.

 

Sources:

http://www.aerogardenblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/White-Paper.pdf

http://www.almanac.com/astronomy/moon/calendar/zipcode/78702/2016-03

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00982.x/pdf

Pirog, R., Van Pelt, T., Enshayan, K. and Cook, E. (2001). Food, Fuel and Freeways: An Iowa Perspective on How Far Food Travels, Fuel Usage and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Retrieved May 5, 2011 from Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture www.leopold.iastate.edu
http://www.veggiegardener.com/

Photo Credit: By Elina Mark – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16751183