Most of us celebrate the shelves of our supermarkets and farmers’ markets bursting with wholesome, produce and dry goods. Even so, the last few years have shown a 20% increase in home gardening across the United States. Where climate permits, more do-it-yourselfers are choosing to pick it fresh from the backyard.
It doesn’t take a lot of land to yield a decent crop. Last year, I called in a tree stump removal company to clear a small 6 x 10 foot area that led to a bumper crop of zucchini, green beans, kale, tomatoes, Bibb lettuce, carrots, broccoli, 4 stalks of corn and a variety of herbs. If you include my wild strawberries growing along the fence line, then I’d count myself among the fortunate.
With a gamut of growing conditions throughout the country, depending on where you live and what Mother Nature dishes out, you will get results outweighing the efforts. The length of growing season, wet or dry, sunny or cloudy and critters to compete with, all play a part in the art of home gardening.
Benefits of growing our own food vary per several motivating factors. Some of us just want to get our hands in the dirt. Sounds simple, but add that to the calming effects of interacting with Nature along with reaping fresh, wholesome foods and we have a winner.
Even though whole, non-GMO organic foods are more available than ever, many home gardeners trust only what they grow themselves. Some folks like being assured that the food they are eating is of a personal standard and don’t want to take any chances with the store-bought variety. The taste can’t be beat, freshly picked or pulled from the garden minutes before eating.
Small gardens yield large returns. Over and beyond the costs of seeds, fertilizers, tools, water, and other gardening supplies there is an upside to the cash investment. An average savings of $500 annually for a middling, well-maintained garden is about the norm. Preserving and canning stretches the savings a step further. Taking a jar of tomatoes from the pantry shelf mid-January is like cashing a check at the bank.
Gardeners from all over the world use the practice to teach their youngsters and community members the benefits of working together and living in a sustainable world. What an eye-opening experience for some children to learn where food comes from and how it all begins. Inner-city kids get to have hands on experiences of agriculture, neighborhood cooperation and sharing when participating in a community garden. Their appreciation of their food is felt even more deeply while learning to eat healthier.
This goes hand in dirt with the above point. Anyone who has ever had a garden soon finds out that a successful garden yields more fruits and vegetables than a single household can use. Giving food away is a rewarding part of having a home garden. Organizing a neighborhood canning party complete with homemade yummies and cocktails taken fresh from the vine is motivation to plow the land the following year.
With an annual increase of nearly 7 million people every year, taking to tilling their land – big or small, there are many good reasons for buying seeds and picking up a hoe. These are just a few of the rewards that come along with spending time in nature and getting back to basics.
Take these four and more reasons to have a home garden and add your own. Leave a comment below and share your bounty with us.