However, the more committed I've become to taking care of my body from the inside out, the more important it is for me to choose only the very best, cleanest ingredients. What can be more real, wholesome, nourishing, and clean than food that is grown right outside your back door?
- You can pick and choose. Grow the vegetables you love most, and maybe even a few you've always wanted to try, but weren't really sure about.
- It's cheaper than buying food in the store. Even if you have to start from scratch and buy potting mix, planters, seeds or seedlings. It still amounts to less overall for the amount of food you get compared to what you had to pay for it in the store. Especially if you've been trying to buy organic!
- It's better for the environment. This is obvious, but it's worth listing all the environmental benefits: less pesticide and chemical use, less pollution to transport the food from the earth to your dinner plate, increased and sustained biodiversity in your area.
- It just tastes better. If you don't believe me, you'll really have to try it out yourself. But I can say this: I've never brought home a bag of vegetables from the grocery store that actually smelled good! I usually have to wait until they are sauteeing in the pan before I can smell their delicious aromas. But when I pick fresh vegetables from my garden, I can smell them immediately! You can only imagine how good they taste after that.
- It encourages you to expand your dinner menu. If you are growing your own food, you are automatically forced to eat what is in season. This might mean changing things up a bit when menu planning from what you are used to.
- It's fun!
- It gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- It gives you something physical to do and enjoy the nice weather.
- It's actually a lot easier than it looks. Trust me, if I can do it, ANYONE can!
Growing your own food doesn't have to be an onerous task, and you actually don't need a lot of space. I started out with a few planters of fresh herbs on my 8th floor balcony. When those took off, I decided to try my hand at vegetables. I'm lucky that my parents own a farm because my dad just gave me a small plot of his own garden to play in. But I could have just as easily planted all of these vegetables in containers on my balcony.
Here is what I'm currently growing:
Fresh Herbs: Parsley, Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Basil
Fruits and Vegetables: Red Bell Pepper, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, Watermelon, Cucumber, Green Zucchini, Yellow Zucchini (Summer Squash), and Spaghetti Squash.
I also have a strawberry plant but it isn't doing so well, so I'd rather go to the local strawberry fields in my parents' area. I also could have grown many more vegetables, but my parents and brothers already have a bunch growing including green beans, lettuce, onions, broccoli, green bell pepper, carrots, radishes, roma tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, rhubarb, and I don't even know what else. It's like the produce section in a grocery store in their backyard!!!
If you're interested in starting out with growing your own produce, you MUST read the "Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible," I've included a link on the "My Inspiration" page. It's perfect for people just getting started and those who don't have a whole lot of space.
Do you grow your own food? If so, which ones? How have you found the experience? Got any tips to share?