The lack of harmful chemicals was only one of the reasons that having your own vegetable garden is a healthy choice. When they start growing their own vegetables, most beginners are surprised at how much they are able to harvest. These nutritious plants end up in all sorts of different meals, if for no other reason than the fact that they need to be used (or preserved) before they can go bad. To boot, these vegetables are free if you already have the supplies, whereas store bought vegetables cost you money. Due to cost, most people purchase smaller quantities of vegetables compared to what a vegetable garden can yield in a good season.
Let’s say you are a fan of carrots, so you purchase them a lot. Chances are you get one or two bags of them in your fridge at any given time. You might consider buying more of them when they are on sale, but then many people find they don’t go through them fast enough to get through the bags before the carrots go bad. Since there are only so many carrots in the house, it is always an easier choice to cook them up in a way that is familiar and safe. However, when you have tons of them from a good harvest, you will find yourself getting creative with your meals. There are thousands of new recipes to be found on the internet every day and it is much less riskier to ruin a few carrots when you have tons, unlike when you buy them from the store.
This level of creativity is something that you will often hear new gardeners talking about after their first good yield. People don’t really consider this to be one of the benefits from gardening because it seems detached from the physical work of planting seeds and getting your hands dirty in the soil. But having more vegetables around the house leads to healthier meals with more variety and experimentation. You might just discover your new favorite recipe this way.
It’s Better for the Environment
While we were discussing the price of store-bought veggies, we saw that there are a ton of middle men who need to get paid in order for chemically grown vegetables to make their way onto the shelves of your local grocery store. This process actually has two costs required to keep it functioning. The first is the money that is necessary for everyone along this production line to be paid. This is the cost that is reflected in what you pay at the till and in your weekly budget. The second cost is the environmental cost. This cost can’t be budgeted as easily, but it can be seen by turning on the news or reading about our current climate crisis. Growing your own vegetables helps you to cut not just the first cost but both of them.
One environmental cost that is a direct result of modern farming practices is the amount of chemicals that are poisoning the environment. Most of the chemicals used on your food aren’t poison in a direct manner. That is, you can eat traces of them without getting sick (though there are exceptions to this). But these chemicals are the most harmful to the environment itself; runoff from fields affects the wildlife in the surrounding areas and seeps into nearby bodies of water. Unfortunately, starting your own vegetable garden is not going to have a strong impact on this. This is the result of large scale operations. But switching from store-bought produce to veggies you’ve produced yourself will keep you from funneling more money into these harmful practices. Less money being funnelled into environmentally-abusive hands is always a good thing.
Starting your own vegetable garden is more impactful in reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt as part of your eating. When you go to the grocery store and purchase vegetables, you are also paying for the gas that was required to move that vegetable across the country. By growing your own vegetables, you create food without having to burn fossil fuels, which reduces your carbon footprint. If you sell those vegetables locally, then you are able to reduce the amount of vegetables that need to be shipped into your local area, which means that you are also helping to reduce the carbon footprint of your community this way.
If you don’t care about the environment as much, then at least consider the fact that the less fossil fuels being burned, the less money you are spending to keep you and your family fed. It would have taken a trip to the grocery store to get your vegetables but since you have a crop of your own you don’t need to waste the time or the gas needed to drive there. All it takes is your two hands and legs and a couple minutes to go grab something from out of the garden.