Is Growing Your Own Food Really Worth It?
Growing your own food can lead to a host of potential benefits, not only for your physical health but also for your mental and emotional state. The problem is that the whole process is likely to chew up a chunk of your free time and energy, an exchange which may leave you wondering whether fresh fruits and vegetables are really worth the trouble. Fortunately, there are simple answers to many of the questions that may come to mind.
Why Should I Grow My Own Food?
The most obvious benefit to starting your own fruit and vegetable garden is the knowledge that all of the produce you eat is fresh and free of any unwanted pesticides, but the process can also benefit your wallet and the environment as a whole. In the long run, growing your own produce can be much cheaper than buying from a supermarket, as you are able to bypass the cost of paying the grower, distributor, and seller. It also eliminates the need for transporting produce, which causes the emission of tonnes of harmful gases every day. If you have children, your garden can also act as a tool for encouraging healthy eating, while also teaching them about patience.
How Do I Get Started?
Every prosperous plant needs the right location to grow, so you’ll want to section off a spot on your property that receives good weather conditions for growing produce, but before you can do that, you’ll need to work out what kind of plants you want to grow. Choosing plants that suit the general weather conditions around your property is a great starting point – in fact, the only other thing you’ll need to get started is some great quality soil. Start with a bag of organic potting mix, throw in some compost or mulch, and you will have created the perfect environment for your plants. As a starting point, consider one of the easiest plants to grow – the humble tomato. It’s simple to grow and maintain and bears fruit fairly quickly once planted.
What Will It Cost?
When you ask whether growing your own food is worthwhile, there’s a good chance that the question is financially charged. What you really want to know is whether your garden will save you money in the long run, but in order to find out, you need a rough idea of what it will cost to set up and maintain.
If you plan to construct anything around the garden area, like a fence, factor in the cost of the materials you’ll need and any hired help as a starting point. Depending on how many plants you buy, this is likely to be your most significant expense, so choose wisely. Opting for plants that produce high volumes of fruit or vegetables will maximize the monetary value of your garden – that is, as long as your family will eat the produce! Tomatoes, zucchini, and lettuce are great options to start off, but if you’re concerned about expenses, you could start by growing herbs.
What Are the Potential Threats to My Garden?
Once you have established your garden and your plants are bearing produce, it’s worth putting in the time to safeguard it from harm. Pests are amongst the most common pain points for gardeners, hence the popularity of pesticides amongst commercial growers, but you can achieve similar results with strategic planning. Plants like basil have been known to repel insects, so by planting it next to other plants you are effectively creating a natural buffer zone, and adding some extra protection to your garden. The weather conditions are another important factor in the success of your gardening endeavors, but you can control this to some extent by choosing plants that work well in your home environment; for example, if you know the plants will receive plenty of sunlight, choose a hardy variety suited to full-sun conditions. After all of that, one of the most common dangers your garden will face is neglect. When life gets busy, you’re more likely to forget about their water and nutrient needs, so if you want your investment to continue growing, it’s important to factor these regular maintenance requirements into your schedule.
Growing food in your own backyard has many benefits and few downsides, but it is important to be aware of potential pitfalls, like lack of energy or time, if you want your new plants to live a long, healthy life. Once you taste the fruits of your labor, you may find that the benefits of inexpensive, fresh produce far outweigh the challenges that come with growing it.