Gardening has so many great benefits. Learn more about the benefits of growing a garden and some of our best tips for starting one!
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When we bought “the homestead” three years ago, there were many things about our new place that were exciting to us – the acres of timber and natural grasses for hunting, the 3/4 acre pond, the privacy, and the house itself.
When we moved in a couple months later, we found another pleasant surprise – a planted garden, full of produce ripe for the harvest (almost obscured among LOTS of weeds)!
At the time, we were brand-new to the gardening game, but we quickly fell in love with it that first year, and have come to love the benefits of growing a garden.
7 Benefits of Growing A Garden
- Fresh ingredients
You can’t beat the freshness of produce picked straight from the garden! Not only do fresh vegetables taste better, but they’re better for you, too. Vegetables picked when ripe in the garden have more nutrients than their store-bought counterparts, which have to be picked early.
- Better Flavor
There is just no comparison between homegrown fruits & veggies and those that you find in the store. Lettuce is crisper, corn is sweeter, herbs are more aromatic, and the tomatoes! Oh, the tomatoes! Store-bought tomatoes don’t even come close to matching the fullness of flavor from homegrown ones. Trust me, once you’ve had tomatoes straight from the garden, you’ll have a hard time ever buying tomatoes from the grocery store again!
- Save Money
Growing your own food helps you save on your grocery bill. A packet of seeds is very inexpensive, and the return on your investment is high. Even buying already established plants, though more expensive than seeds, is still cheaper than buying the same amount of yield from the store. A couple of tomato plants will keep you supplied with tomatoes throughout the summer! That’s a lot of savings! And these savings are even greater if you are a frequent buyer of organic produce!
- Improve your health
I’ve already mentioned that vitamins and nutrients are highest in produce picked at peak season, but there’s another reason growing your own garden will help improve your health. With all those fruits and vegetables growing literally right outside your back door, you will be much more likely to eat them! Plus, you won’t be able to resist their full flavors and will use them more in your cooking and meal preparation.
- Peace of mind
When you grow your own garden, you know exactly what’s going into and on your food. You won’t need to worry about contamination, and you have complete control over the use or non-use of pesticides and herbicides.
- Sense of accomplishment
There is something very gratifying about growing your own food. Working with your hands, nurturing your plants from little seeds, watching as they blossom and grow, and enjoying the fruits of your labor, knowing that you’re caring for your family’s needs, gives you a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
- Good exercise
There is a great deal of physical labor involved with gardening! Not only is the food you produce good for your bodies, but the physical activity it requires is too! And you’re not the only one who could benefit from the exercise. Getting your kids involved with the garden would be a great way to get them off the couch and into the fresh air and sunshine this summer, and they’ll enjoy seeing (and tasting!) the results of all their hard work.
Tips for Starting a Garden
- Start small!
Don’t overwhelm yourself and get burned out after the first year. Start small and build as you gain more confidence and know-how. Trust me. We did not do this and I wish we had!
- Plant what your family eats or likes the most
To get the most out of your investment and get the biggest grocery bill savings, think of what your family eats the most and plant those foods. Also consider planting some of the more expensive items, like asparagus.
- Don’t plant what you don’t want to take care of
For example, I loathe the idea of shelling peas, so even though our family eats a lot of peas, I won’t plant them in our garden. I would much rather pay the $0.88 a bag I can get them for on sale!
- Consider starting with 5 gallon buckets
If you’re not sure yet if a garden is something you can commit to, you can always start with a few plants in 5 gallon buckets. It’s a great place to start, saves on space, and you won’t have to weed!
- The Best Way to Plan Your Vegetable Garden – This is a fantastic resource from the Old Farmer’s Almanac for everything related to planning your garden
- Find Your Gardening (Hardiness) Zone
- Garden Planting Calendar – Calendar by zip code that tells you when to plant different kinds of plants
- What to Plant Now – Another planting calendar
- Average First and Last Frost Dates in the US
- Burpee Seeds and Plants – One source for your seeds and plants
- Gurney’s – Another place to buy seeds and plants. We buy most of ours from these two companies.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about why we’ve chosen to grow a garden and have gotten some ideas for your own!
We are in the thick of gardening season here at the homestead, so I’m going to do a weekly gardening post throughout the month of June! If you enjoyed this post and would like to learn more about gardening, tune in next week for my second installment of 4 Weeks to Glorious Gardening!
- Week 1: 7 Benefits of Growing Your Own Garden
- Week 2: Lessons From a Greenhorn Gardener
- Week 3: All About Herb Gardening
- Week 4: How to Store & Preserve Your Fresh-Grown Produce