10 Holistic Health Benefits and Advantages to Growing a Vegetable Garden and How to Make it Happen
I'm pretty sure I’ve turned into my mom and both of my grandmothers, as I love to garden. My mom has a green thumb and can make anything grow (that's not me!). Out of necessity, both of my grandmothers had gardens too. From potatoes, green beans, corn, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers and onions, their gardens were full and I have sweet memories of walking through their gardens with them and picking vegetables.
While gardening has become my hobby, I’ve only planted flowers, but for the first time I’m experimenting with vegetables in a raised bed planter. I’ve been reading up on the benefits of growing your own vegetables and frankly, I’d prefer to be more self-sufficient and not so reliant upon the grocery store. That being said, I have 1, 9x2 ft planter and assuming I’m able to harvest everything I’ve planted, these vegetables will last my family for few weeks only (at best)….so trust me, I'm aware this is hardly self-sufficient, BUT you have to start somewhere, right?
With the fall temperatures setting in and it also being the perfect time to plant some Thanksgiving vegetables and/or herbs, I invite you to join me in connecting with nature and your food by planting one thing you can eat. It can be an herb, such as mint, rosemary, or basil that you put in your windowsill, or it can be several things like I just planted in my new raised-bed vegetable garden, such as lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and rainbow chard.
10 Benefits and Advantages to Growing a Vegetable Garden or Herb Garden
As an attempt to convince you more, the benefits of growing your own food (even if it’s one herb) are abundant. For me, gardening is a spiritual experience. When digging in the dirt, getting my hands dirty, planting something small and overtime watching it miraculously grow with sun, water and TLC (yes, I do talk to my plants), I experience joy, gratitude, peace and a connection with God. But, I get it! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, however, there are plenty of holistic health benefits and advantages of growing your own produce and/or herbs.
If nothing else, it's an opportunity to try something new!
Freshness and Flavor
Homegrown produce is often much fresher and tastier than store-bought equivalents because you can harvest it at its peak ripeness. This results in better flavor and nutritional value.
A well-tended garden can provide a habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies, which play a crucial role in the ecosystem.
Homegrown fruits and vegetables are typically richer in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants compared to commercially grown produce that may have been stored and transported for extended periods.
Over time, gardening can save you money on groceries. While there might be an initial investment in gardening supplies, the ongoing cost of seeds and maintenance is usually lower than buying fresh produce regularly.
Control Over Pesticides and Chemicals
When you grow your own food, you have control over the use of pesticides and chemicals. You can choose organic methods or reduce the use of harmful substances to create a healthier and safer product.
Gardening has been shown to reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Spending time in nature and tending to plants can have a calming and therapeutic effect.
Sense of Accomplishment
Successfully growing your own food can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride. Seeing the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor can be highly rewarding.
Variety and Customization
You have the freedom to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that may not be readily available in stores. You can tailor your garden to suit your personal preferences and dietary needs.
Growing your own food can make you less dependent on commercial agriculture and the food industry, providing a degree of self-sufficiency.
Reduced Food Waste
You can pick and use only what you need when you need it, reducing food waste compared to store-bought produce that often spoils on shelves or in the fridge.
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5 Steps to Planting My Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
For several months I've followed a company called Vego Garden. They are located in Houston, TX and I find their prices reasonable, their information helpful and their raised beds beautiful! So, I finally bit the bullet and ordered my first raised bed! It's Modular Metal Raised Bed.
While it came with a lot of screws, putting it together wasn't difficult, but I would recommend having someone help. It took about 1 hour.
Next, I found an area in my back yard that gets full sunlight, then placed the bed there. I found this great How to Fill a Raised Bed article on Vego Garden's website. The steps are:
1. Layer 1: Cardboard Boxes
Given the abundance of cardboard boxes we all get from Amazon deliveries, this was pretty simple! I just cut some up and placed them all along the bottom.
2. Layer 2: Logs, Sticks, Branches
On top of the cardboard boxes, I layered logs, sticks and branches. I had some leftover fire wood from the winter, but I also walked around my neighborhood and was able to find branches that had fallen off the pine trees.
3. Layer 3: Grass, Plant Trimmings, Kitchen Scraps
I used grass from our most recent lawn mowing, as well as plants and flower trimmings from our yard. I grabbed produce from my refrigerator that needed to be thrown out.
4. Layer 4/5: Compost & Raised Bed Top Soil
5. Layer 6- Planted my Veggies and Watered
Voila! The project is complete and I am quite happy with the whole experience. From putting together my raised bed to planting my last veggie/herb, it took about 5 hours. Now I'm in full dork mode and can't wait to watch the veggies grow! With gardening being an experiment, the outcome is to be determined, but I'll be sure to follow up with the harvest.
To know what you can plant for your zone, simply do a Google search. I live in Oklahoma so I searched "What to plant in Oklahoma in September" and got plenty of great feedback. I purchased my vegetables at Lowes....and PS, I'd be delighted to turn into my mom and grandmothers :-)
Raised beds are elevated garden beds filled with soil. They offer better drainage, warmer soil temperatures, and can be easier to work with than traditional in-ground gardens.
You don't need a large backyard to grow vegetables. Many vegetables can be grown in containers on patios, balconies, or even windowsills.
Vegetable gardeners often compost kitchen scraps and yard waste to create nutrient-rich compost that can be used to enrich the soil in their gardens.