An insight into the benefits of gardening and whether or not it suits your lifestyle.
We’ve all been there. The sun starts shining, the buds begin to bloom, and we catch ourselves wondering whether this is the year we will get off our butts and start growing our own food.
But at the end of the day, we as humans typically need to know that our actions will be rewarded. In this case, is the amount of work I put into creating, tending to, and harvesting my garden worth the amount of food I will get.
Now let me start by saying gardening has amazing benefits for our brains and our bodies. Gardening has been said to be a great way to get some physical activity into the majority of our days, increases serotonin, and can bring peace to our minds, bodies, and spirit. You have the opportunity to save money, bring pollinators back to your garden, and grow nutritious, chemical free produce. Plus, who doesn’t love the taste of something you grew yourself? I know for myself, having that first bite of something homegrown is a feeling of accomplishment and a delicious snack all at once (Heck Ya!).
I’d also like to mention that I am in no way shape or form a gardener (yet). I have many green and leafy plants around the house, but have only grown one tomato plant and some kale in my lifetime. So this is coming from someone very inexperienced yet very curious to know if starting a garden is worth it (I’ve now done my research).
So first thing first (from what I’ve heard) is that you reap what you sew. That is, the amount of work and care you put into your garden is how much food you will be rewarded with. If you only have 5 minutes a day to tend to your space, that doesn’t mean you can’t grow some of your own food, it just means you definitely can’t grow all of it. But hey, you’ll still be saving money, increasing pollinator life, and like I said before, controlling the amount of chemicals used on some of your food. Even if you’re only growing your own herbs, tomatoes, or leafy greens, that still is an amazing accomplishment. If you don’t have a ton of knowledge, experience, or desire to grow your own garden, it might be a good idea to start with a few indoor friends and go from there. There are also many veggies you can grow inside throughout the winter to stay on top of your gardening skills. Take lettuce for example, you can grow it simply by placing the stem of an already purchased lettuce in a shallow dish of water.
*side note, a $3 tomato plant (cheaper if you buy from a seed) can harvest over 10 pounds of veggies for you a season. Plus they can be grown inside all year round.
*another side note, the majority of high yield veggies need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. So make sure you have the space for that.
Another thing to think about is how much money you’re willing to spend on your garden. I’ve seen people create beautiful gardens over the years, but their start up costs can be anywhere from $150 to $700. That’s not to say that you can’t do it for cheaper (because trust me, you CAN!), but you may incur some higher costs at the beginning. These costs will significantly decrease year after year, and eventually you will just be paying annual maintenance fees and having to buy new seeds or plants (which can cost cents per seed or a few dollars per plant). If you plan on making a garden for just one year, then you’re basically just throwing money down the drain as you will most likely not produce more than the amount of effort and money you spent on creating your garden. However, if you plan on committing to your garden for at least 3-5 years, you will absolutely see that it was worth it. So make sure you see yourself gardening for the next few years if you plan on starting soon.
Another thing I want to talk about more in depth is that we are living in a world full of harsh, nasty, questionable chemicals that are being sprayed onto our food. I know these are all “FDA Approved” but who the heck even trusts those guys anymore? NOT ME! I hope ‘not you’ either. There are hundreds, if not thousands of ingredients that are FDA approved that have been linked to all kinds of health issues (including asthma, cancer, reproductive problems, etc.) and we’re trusting that the chemicals they use on our food are safe for ingestion? I just can’t see myself believing that’s true. That being said, organic produce is expensive AF! I know there are A LOT of us doing our eco-friendly lifestyles on a budget, so organic produce is not always an option. So, a great way to bring organic, chemical, and transportation free produce into our homes and bellies is to grow it ourselves. This way, we absolutely know exactly what has been put onto our produce and who has handled it. I trust this process way more, and believe the majority of people do too. (P.S. Can we all boycott Monsanto?). I’ve also seen it mentioned in a ton of articles that homegrown food typically has a lot more nutrients that somewhere using a mono crop, unsustainable, and inorganic farming methods. So, growing your own produce helps you avoid nasty chemicals AND is giving you more nutrients per bite than something store bought.
One more thing to mention is that there is a variety of low hassle/ high yield veggies to try out if you want to dip your toes in growing your own deliciousness. Some examples are:
-A ton of spices and herbs
The decision is hard, and it requires a decent commitment at least for a few months, and at most, half a decade or more. I hope you’ve learned something from this article, and that I’ve made your decision to start/ or not start a garden easier. But just know there is definitely A LOT more to learn. But once you’ve decided you’re ready to grow a garden, make sure you do your research. YouTube has been a great resource for me (I’ll link some channels I like below) and has taught me a lot about what, when, and where to grow my produce. Do you think you are ready? Let me know in the comments what’s pushing your forward or holding you back.
Well guys, I’ve certainly convinced myself that there are more benefits to gardening than now, so I guess it’s time for me to be more resourceful and *off the grid like*. I will try and spend some more time getting my hands dirty and learning the ways of growing my food. I’ll keep you guys updated on how it’s going. I’ve already planned to pick up some free compost from the town coming early May and am having virtual meetings with my grandmother to ask her questions about the dos and don’ts.
Are you a gardening master? Tell me your ways in the comments below!