Over the last two years, backyard kitchen gardens have once again boomed in popularity. Of course, this increase in gardening as a hobby has happened many times over the history of the United States, but why is it such a good thing, and why should you consider starting one?
Fresh and Homegrown Produce
The first and most obvious reason to start a home kitchen garden is the benefit of having fresh and homegrown produce to cook with and eat. You might roll your eyes at the people who claim homegrown tomatoes taste way better than store-bought, but once you try it for yourself, you won’t be able to go back to store-bought tomatoes. They are not only tastier than their mass-produced cousins, but they are also healthier for you.
More Variety Options
Many farmers who grow for supermarkets have to choose which varieties of produce they grow based on how well they travel. For example, heirloom tomatoes are delicate and would become tomato paste before they arrive at the store. This is why you’ll rarely if ever, see those beautifully diverse tomatoes on the shelves. However, if you grow at home, you can decide which tomatoes to grow, leading to a more varied and enjoyable selection.
Spend More Time Outside
Other than more nutritious and delicious food for your table, growing a home kitchen garden means you’ll likely be spending more time outside than you have in the past. There is a lot to do, from preparing your soil, sowing seeds, pulling weeds, checking for pests and diseases, harvesting, and overall management. But, we’ll also bet you spend more time outside just admiring the work you’ve done and how beautifully those plants are growing.
Excellent Form of Exercise
Remember when we mentioned pulling weeds and preparing soil? That’s not easy work, and it’s been studied repeatedly, and it’s still true that gardening is one of the best forms of exercise. While you might not feel like you’ve just completed a hard HIIT workout, you’re bodies mobility, flexibility, and stamina will improve over time. You’ll be bending, kneeling, standing, pulling, raking, digging, lifting, and don’t forget all the celebratory dances you’ll do every time you see a new fruit begin to grow.
Fantastic for Mental Health Too!
Of course, your body will be feeling better, but you’ll even notice your mood shifting as well. Not only does a good exercise increase endorphins (happy chemicals), but all that movement and time outside will also increase your body’s natural reaction to vitamin D. There have been many studies that prove a lack of vitamin D is linked to numerous mental health conditions including depression and increased anxiety. So with all the time you’ll be spending pulling weeds and harvesting the fruits of your labors, you’ll be eating healthier and feeling better!
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Those tomatoes that have to be shipped across the country create a pretty big carbon footprint. Most produce is moved on semi-trucks, and while truck drivers are the country’s backbone, those trucks use up a lot of fuel. When you reduce the amount of produce you need from the supermarket, you’re reducing your carbon footprint. For those looking to do better for the environment, this is often a good enough reason to grow some of their own food.
Composting for Your Garden
When you start your garden, you’ll likely need to amend your soil. This means you’ll need to add certain elements to improve its ability to grow big and healthy plants. This often means adding compost, and once you purchase your fifth bag of compost, you’ll start to wonder if you can make your own so you can save some money. And you can! Composting is an easy and beneficial way to lower the costs of your garden and reduce your kitchen waste. Once again, this lowers your carbon footprint, and you can feel better about not filling the landfills with items that could decompose and feed your plants next year. Not only is this healthier for the plants and easier on your wallet, but it’s also better for the planet.
So a home kitchen garden will provide you with delicious food, healthy exercise, better mental health, reduce your carbon footprint, and is excellent for the planet too. It’s a win-win situation all the way around! So even if you’ve never grown a plant in your life, give it a go, and don’t be too hard on yourself. The best part about gardening is there is always next season to try something new.