10 Benefits of a Personal Vegetable Garden
10 Benefits of a Personal Vegetable Garden
Planting a vegetable garden will definitely save you money, but that’s not the only advantage. Here are the top 10 reasons why you need to plant a garden this year.
1. Chemical Free
Conventional farming uses pesticides and fungicides that inevitably will make it into your food. According to Consumer Reports, “studies have linked long-term pesticide exposure in this group to increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; prostate, ovarian, and other cancers; depression; and respiratory problems.” They have also cited, ADHD, breast cancer, lower IQ, immune system damage and fertility issues. These harmful substances are cancer causing and hormone disrupting. Over time, these chemicals can cause problems in our bodies and this risk is higher for children. You can buy organic, but that’s expensive. Choose vegetables and fruits that you use often. If you like cherry tomatoes, lettuce and strawberries, start out with these as your first choice crop.
Home-grown vegetables, herbs & fruits taste better. In one study, a scientist at the University of Florida discovered that conventional tomatoes bread for quantity had a lower quality of taste. He found that heirloom varieties taste better.
Fruits and vegetables sold in supermarkets spend as many as 7 to 14 days in transit. During this time, almost 50% of the transported food is lost to spoilage. What is fresher than a cucumber picked from your own garden? If you have ever purchased produce and placed it in your fridge, only to find it rotting a week later, than you understand the benefit of fresh veggies. If you space out planting, you won’t have to harvest all at once, you can pick a tomato and use it in your salad immediately. What a perk!
Home-grown produce contain a higher level of nutrients. There is some debate as to the level of nutrients in conventional versus organic produce, but the fact is that nutrients degrade over time. Therefore, it stands to reason that a fresh, hand-picked veggie will have more nutrients than any store bought piece of produce.
This is a given. You will have more than you need and will be able to share with your neighbors. “One project estimated that community gardeners saved between $75 and $380 in food costs every season” (Gardening Matters nonprofit of Minneapolis’ page)
Having a garden with fresh herbs is so convenient. You can pick a few leaves of Thai Basil for your curry dish and not kick yourself for forgetting that ingredient at the store.
7. Mental Health
According to Maller et al (2005) gardening improves mental fatigue, enhances outlook and life satisfaction, aides in the recovery from stress, increases our concentration, and betters productivity.
The CDC says that even a small amount of exercise, just 2.5 hours per week, will reduce the risk for high-blood pressure, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and premature death.
Another study found that just “a ten percent increase in nearby green space was found to decrease a person’s health complaints in an amount equivalent to a five year reduction in that person’s age” according to the Gardening Matters nonprofit of Minneapolis’ page.
10. Property Value
Gardens within a community have been shown to increase the value of surrounding properties (Voicu & Been 2008)
Gardens are more than economical. Growing your own food is an excellent way to maintain your health, increase your sense of well-being, and apparently increase the value of your home. So, what are you waiting for. Grab some organic seeds and start planting.
al, Maller C., et. “Healthy Nature Healthy People: ‘Contact with Nature’ as an Upstream Health Promotion Intervention for Populations. - PubMed - NCBI.” Accessed April 7, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16373379.
Darnton, Julia, and Lauren McGuire. “What Are the Physical and Mental Benefits of Gardening?” MSU Extension. Accessed April 7, 2016. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/what_are_the_physical_and_mental_benefits_of_gardening.
Johnson, Megan. “Health Benefits of Home-Grown Produce - US News.” Health.usnews.com, July 30, 2010. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/cancer/articles/2010/07/30/health-benefits-of-home-grown-produce.
“Multiple Benefits of Community Gardening.” Gardeningmatters.org, 2012. http://www.gardeningmatters.org/sites/default/files/Multiple%20Benefits_2012.pdf.
“Pesticides in Produce.” Consumer Reports. Accessed April 7, 2016. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/natural-health/pesticides/index.htm.
Voicu, Ioan, and Vicki Been. “The Effect of Community Gardens on Neighboring Property Values.” Real Estate Economics 36, no. 2 (2008): 241–83.