For me, getting back to basics includes having a vegetable garden. For over twenty years I have had a small backyard garden in south central Pennsylvania. I enjoy getting my hands dirty and growing things I can consume. It also makes me feel a little closer to my Dad who used to garden when I was growing up. Our gardens differ in the fact that I have raised beds and he didn’t. He also had fruit trees (pears, apples, peaches) and I have fruit bushes (raspberries and blueberries.) I wish I would’ve paid closer attention to what he tried to teach me back then, but I did glean the following seven reasons to plant a garden from him.
Grow your favorites
If you love hot peppers, you can grow several varieties in your own backyard. Or if you love having fresh herbs for cooking, you can grow a wide variety for when you need them. You don’t have to plant anything you won’t eat. My Dad always had rhubarb, but I don’t like it so it’s not in my garden.
Organic Produce. I choose to grow organic produce by not using pesticides. I check my garden regularly and try to pick off any pests I see and use organic means to help deter diseases.
Stock your pantry
If you choose to freeze or can your bountiful veggies, you can eat them throughout the winter and still reap health benefits from them.
Commune with nature
I find it so rewarding to turn the soil and plant the seeds with the hope that they will grow something I can share with my family and friends. Even though weeding is a chore, I still enjoy feeling the sun on my back and listening to the backyard birds singing sweetly to me. I do fight with a certain catbird who loves my raspberries, but I even feel a certain awe when I watch him pick the juiciest berry in his beak and take off to his nest to eat it.
Help the environment
I am providing a benefit to the bees that help pollinate all the garden vegetables. The bee population seems to be declining of late so I am helping my little bee friends by planting something we can mutually benefit from.
One of the biggest perks I enjoy from my garden is the money I save. Even at the cheapest in season store prices, I am still saving money from my garden. I have 2 raspberry bushes that probably cost me $10 to purchase about 5 years ago. Each year, I get 10-20 quarts of delicious red raspberries that would cost me an arm and a leg at the local grocery store for that quantity.
There is great joy in knowing that you can produce healthy foods to feed your family with just a little know-how and some hard work.
If you have never gardened, start out small. Just buy one plant to start with. You can even plant them in pots to put around your patio or deck. Just make sure you get a variety that is suited to this. Peruse gardening magazines to see which varieties are suggested for this. Each year I try to add another section or a different plant to my garden. This year I am trying corn. I have never grown corn in my garden before, so it is an experiment that I hope turns out well. I would so love to eat fresh grown corn on the cob, juicy and sweet from being freshly picked. Oh, I hope this experiment goes well!
If you have a garden, what do you enjoy growing? If you don’t have a garden yet, what is the one thing you wish you could plant? It’s still not too late to plant something today.