Gardening

Why Start a Vegetable Garden?

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Should you start a vegetable garden? Is it really worth it?

Maybe you’ve thought about starting a vegetable garden, but then wondered if the time and effort were really worth it when your local grocery store is always stocked full of vegetables.

Well, there’s really more to a garden than just the harvest. Read on to find out what I mean!

The Why

There are a ton of reasons why starting a vegetable garden is worth it. Here are just a few:

It’s Really Fun!

Planting and watching vegetables grow is actually really fun. Every plant grows differently and even finding out what types of seeds each type of plant produces as well as how is interesting.

Be a Kid Again

You get to play in the dirt like when your were a kid! Except no one is telling you to stop. Wearing gloves is optional. And if you happen to like holding worms, roly polys (pill bugs), and lady bugs… well, no one will mind!

Experiment

Experimenting is encouraged and can be very thought provoking. For example, have you heard of the the three sisters planting method? This is a planting technique where you plant corn, squash and pole beans together. The beans climb the corn stalks and squash acts as a mulch for the corn.

At one point someone experimented in their garden and discovered this fun planting combination. What plant combinations will you try in your own garden?

An experiment I did last year – planted runner beans along a trellis for a tomato!

What types of trellises will you use? Maybe you’ll want to use 2 different fertilizers on the same type of plant to see which works better! Maybe you will experiment with intercropping or whether to prune or not to prune your tomato plants!

vegetable gardens

Or play scientist and get your soil tested, then amend by researching the right combination of nutrients your plants will need.

Enjoy the Process

Whether from seed or nursery grown start, you will take pride in the plants that you grow! Watching a tiny little seed or plant grow into a full sized, food producing specimen, is really neat. And with many annual vegetables, you can watch this process happen in a matter of months.

how to grow plants indoors
Lavender Seedlings

If you are interested in growing your own starts from seed under grow lights, you can check out my comprehensive post on that HERE where I walk you through the process step by step!

Flavor

If you’ve never tasted a home grown tomato straight off the plant in the hot summer sun, have you lived? Lol, no, but really, it’s that good.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables, and picking them ripe, really does taste better than the early picked and shipped produce you will find at your local grocery store. It’s totally worth it.

Even a small herb garden or container herb garden will add fantastic flavor to all your home cooked meals. From chives on your baked potatoes, to oregano in your mexican, cajun, and italian dishes. Or sage and rosemary with chicken or beans – fresh herbs really take your food up a notch.

When you grow your own peppers (especially by starting unique varieties from seed), you can really make some unique spicy condiments to have year around. Some gardeners are really into growing spicy peppers and making their own hot sauces and powdered spice blends.

Health

I eat pretty healthfully to begin with, but when I started growing vegetables, I realized that there are quite a few veggies and herbs I don’t regularly (or in some cases ever!) buy fresh and consume.

But, after growing radishes, beets, snap peas, chives, kale, sage, and more…I realized –I was seriously missing out!

how to grow radishes

When you grow your own, you are more excited to see it grow and then to try it. And when you have a surplus, you can get creative in how you prepare it. Ever wondered why zucchini bread is a thing? Let’s just say that zucchini plants are extremely productive!

You might just find that you actually love a vegetable that you thought you hated! (beets and brussels sprouts and kale, for example, can actually be fantastic!)

Exercise

Also along the lines of health – exercise! It’s interesting because there are some activities that are so fun, that you don’t even realize that you are getting a workout most of the time. Gardening is one of those.

Even just walking around the garden each day, watering, and tending to the plants is good exercise.

Building raised beds, structures, and hauling soil, wood chips, and stones…well, you might realize you are putting out some real effort with those activities, but the end product is totally worth it.

Preservation

If grow a large harvest, more than you can eat fresh, the next step is how to preserve it! Whether this is through canning, dehydrating, freezing, or even freeze drying, it’s a neat experience to grow your own food, preserve it and then eat it months later.

While freezing and dehydrating are easier, I’m especially fond of canning. It makes the food shelf stable so that you can store more without a freezer while protecting the flavor and smells of the original product. Opening a can of summer salsa or peaches and taking a sniff, is like inhaling the smells of summer. Fantastic.

For the Kids

Gardening with kids is mostly awesome. Will they step on your plants, pull a new seedling out thinking its a weed, or fall into your prized tomato plants? Probably.

But on the flip side, they will love planting seeds with you and watching them grow.

gardening with kids

Kids nibbling peas, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and more when outside is much more likely to happen, than those same kids eating those same exact flavors on their plate at the table. In a way, gardening with kids is a sneaky way to expand their taste palates!

Kids imaginations make vegetables come alive the way adults don’t remember. To children, radishes look like pretty bouncy balls ready to pick out of the soil, and the fact that they get to eat them…even more exciting!

If you do garden with kids, I also highly recommend planting peas all around the garden. Kids love hide and seek, let them play it with the peas!

Relaxation

Many a gardener loves to take a peaceful reprieve in their garden. Personally, I love to plop a chair in the pathways of my garden and just watch the plants sway in the breeze and examine their leaves and growing habits.

My favorite time to be in the garden is in the evening on a hot summer day when the air starts to cool down just a bit. If you are an early riser, a summer morning in the garden is just as amazing. It just so happens that these also happen to be the best times of day to water your garden.

You know that heavenly smell of fresh rain that so many people love? Your whole garden will smell that way after you give your plants a nice long drink. Free smells everybody!!

Community and Giving

If your a person that has a giving heart, growing and sharing your own harvest is a great way to give back to the community. You can share with your friends and family. You can bring food to those in need.

And did you also know that many food banks will accepts produce? All those extra tomatoes or zucchini’s that you can’t use, you can give to those less fortunate who don’t have the time, space, or money to grow their own vegetables.

A Great Hobby

As you can see, growing a vegetable garden is truly a great hobby. I know I enjoy it!

In Summary:

  • Why – fun, pride, cost savings, flavor, teaching kids, health, relaxing, hobby to keep busy, community, giving

Stay tuned for the next LGH installment on Vegetable Gardens where we will cover the Where’s and How’s!

Happy Gardening!

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