A home garden is great for your health, your wallet, your mind, your soul, and your planet!
Empty grocery store shelves during this COVID-19 crisis would seem to suggest that our food supply chain may be a bit less robust than we thought. (If empty shelves are an indicator, it would appear most of us are more concerned about what comes out the bottom of our alimentary canals than what goes in the top. But I digress.)
So why not grow some food of your own? The advantages of a home garden include:
- Freshness: it’s hard to beat the taste of something that’s gone from plant to plate in under an hour
- Healthy: as producer of your own food, you can be certain of its safety; most home garden pests can be controlled by hand rather than with pesticides
- Healthy, again: gardening is great exercise; it gets you bending, stretching and feeling energized
- Good for your wallet: I’m constantly amazed at how much food our little garden yields each year; we bought virtually no veggies all last summer, and still haven’t worked through last year’s carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, beans (frozen and dried), tomatoes or squash!
- Good for your mind: whether flowers or veggies, gardening is a great way to take a break from the overstimulation of work, news or social media
- Good for your soul: nurturing a living organism from seed (or seedling) all the way to maturity helps one appreciate the miracles and glories of our natural world, believe in the possibilities of a bountiful future and get a taste of the contentment that comes with self-sufficiency
- Good for the planet: the production, storage and transportation of our food make up a significant portion of our personal carbon footprint; but the carbon footprint of a home garden is virtually zero
- Good for the kids: home gardens can be a great learning experience for kids, who often spend too much time in front of screens and know dangerously little about where their food comes from. (Possible spillover benefits to parents newly working from home too.)
- A better use for land: lawns may be green, but they’re not very eco-friendly when you consider the water, fertilizer, pesticide, lawn mower fuel and lawn owner time they consume. They’re also biodiversity deserts. Gardens, on the other hand, pay huge dividends in produce, and can help beneficial insects like bees.
- Food security: there’s something extremely satisfying about being able to rely, at least in part, on food you’ve produced with your own hands. Perhaps it’s serendipity that this meme appeared in my social media feed today!
So if you’ve never gardened before, why not make this your year to start? Or if you’re already a gardener, why not make this your biggest garden year ever? The internet is loaded with good advice, and, alas – you’ve probably got lots of time on your hands.
PS You’re probably not quite ready to go as far as Rob Greenfield – but his story sure is inspiring!