Do you remember your grandmother’s garden?  It had the most delicious vegetables in it.  I have pleasant memories of rows of tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and even sunflowers!

Today grocery stores have in part replaced gardens, yet there are downsides to purchasing all your food from a grocery store.

  1. Your food may be coming from a foreign country.  Just read the stickers!
  2. Your “fresh” strawberries may be thawing from the freezer.
  3. The organic and conventional stickers of the produce may have been mixed up.  (True story – I heard about this from an employee at a grocery store myself.)
  4. Your food was sprayed with cancer-causing chemicals.
  5. The list keeps growing, and we are mainly addressing the issue of produce!

Here are just five of the benefits of growing at least some of your food yourself:

1. When you garden, your need to visit the grocery store may decrease.

Since fruits and vegetables are perishable, you may need to visit the grocery store twice a week in order to buy just enough so that your food will not spoil.  When your salad ingredients are growing in your backyard or on your deck in containers, you can save time going to the grocery store.

2.  When you garden, you have more control over your food.

You can choose which fertilizer you use, if any.  You also can control the type of soil you cultivate.  If you rotate where you grow each type of plant, your food will have more nutritional value, since each plant takes different vitamins and nutrients from the soil.

You can also grow more of the foods your family enjoys most.

3.  Your food has more nutritional value.

When I taste vegetables grown in a garden, they always taste better than any organic vegetables I’ve purchased in a store.  Why?  Home grown vegetables were harvested just a few days, if not hours, before being added to the meal.  Most produce you purchase from a store has been harvested before it was ripe and ripened on its way to you.

4.  Gardening is an excellent way to exercise and get fresh air.

It takes time to maintain a garden, even a container garden.  You will be outside more often by weeding, watering, and harvesting your vegetables.

5. Gardening is calming.

You get to be away from social media, technology, and the news to be outside listening to birds singing.

Our lives tend to be full of stress.  Studies show that gardening can reduce stress more effectively than other methods can.

If you are new to gardening, learn from someone who has been gardening for years.  Start small.  If you like salads, you may want to begin growing lettuce and onions in containers on your deck or balcony.  Instead of beginning with seeds, begin with seedlings from a garden center or your local co-op.

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