Are you thinking about starting a garden this year? Growing your own fruits and veggies at home provides you and your family with so many great benefits! Check out some of the advantages of growing your own garden as well as some handy gardening tips and tricks to get you started.

Five Benefits of Gardening

Old farmer planting tomatoes seedling in organic garden

#1 Save Money

How much do you think you spend on produce? Starting a garden requires some cash up front, but once you’ve got a good base, your investment can really pay off in the long run. This is especially true for health-conscious families who consume a lot of fruits and vegetables. Rather than buying a pack of pricy strawberries at the store, you can pluck them from your garden—free of charge!

#2 Improve Your Diet

Fresh produce isn’t always cheap or easily accessible. In today’s culture, grabbing a sodium-saturated cheeseburger is far more convenient and affordable than eating a healthy, well-balanced meal.

With a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your own backyard, you can easily improve your diet. If this is your primary motive for starting a garden, we suggest you grow versatile veggies that can be incorporated into a wide variety of recipes.

#3 Reduce Toxin Intake

What many people don’t realize is that sometimes the healthier choice can also introduce unhealthy chemicals into the body. It’s very probable that the produce selection at your local supermarket is laden with pesticides and other toxins that can be harmful to the body. When you choose to grow your own produce, you can enjoy your home-cooked meals knowing that your ingredients are free of toxic chemicals. As an added benefit, organic gardening means that you yourself are not adding any harmful chemicals to the environment which reduces the risk to any nearby water supply if any.

Not only does organic gardening protect you from unhealthy toxins, but it also protects the surrounding environment in which they are used. Chemical fertilizers, though used to enhance and enrich the soil, can throw off the natural balance of nutrients in the long run and can actually take away from the environment’s ability to self-sustain and produce nutrient-rich plants. In order to preserve the environment, it is best to adopt organic gardening practices and avoid these chemical fertilizers that disturb the environment.

#4 Live a More Sustainable Life

Herb garden on a balcony

Supplying your own food is one of the many great ways you can create a more sustainable lifestyle—especially if you’re gardening with recycled materials. By growing and consuming your own fruits and vegetables, you can take less from the environment, reduce your household food waste, and stop contributing to agriculture-related emissions that pollute our air.

In addition to all that good, your garden may encourage your family and possibly even your friends and neighbors to follow in your footsteps and grow one of their own.

#5 Get Pure Satisfaction

If you’ve ever tried your hand at growing anything from flowers to trees, then you know just how satisfying it can be. Not only will you find pleasure in growing a whole garden from nothing but seeds, dirt, and sweat, but you’ll also find great satisfaction in feeding your family with food you grew all by yourself.

Gardening Tips

african american woman in community garden

Are you feeling a little apprehensive about starting a garden? We don’t blame you. When it comes to growing your own produce, there’s a lot that you should know. For a smooth start and a successful harvest, we recommend you keep in mind these fruit and vegetable garden tips:

  • Position your garden in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight during the day. Vegetable plants and flowers need a lot of sunlight to reach their full potential.
  • Once you’ve chosen the right location for your garden, you’ll probably need to improve the soil to create a more hospitable environment for your plants. Till the soil, add finished compost, and consider having your soil tested if it’s close to the foundation of your home. This could save you a lot of time if your soil is inadequate and incapable of producing healthy plants.
  • If you’re a beginner, you may want to use “starts” or “transplants” your first time around. These are small, starter plants that have been grown by a professional for you to plant in your garden. They cost a little more, but they require a lot less attention than a handful of seeds. Consider planting plants that are native to the area you live in. Native plants not only will grow the best because they naturally occur in your home environment, but they also support the ecological life in the area far more than foreign plants. (For more on the effects of planting native plants, visit the article Why Native Plants Matter)
  • Find out what your gardening zone is and plant accordingly. Knowing your gardening zone will help you determine the best times of the year to plant different fruits and vegetables.
  • If this is your first garden, we recommend you keep it small so as to not get overwhelmed or discouraged. Gardens require quite a bit of upkeep, so set realistic goals and don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall short.
  • Don’t forget to take into account what plants are native to your area. Following along with the native flora will not only ensure that you don’t introduce plant life that will end up being detrimental to the local ecosystem, but you will also give your plants the best chance of success they can have.

Looking for additional ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle? Check out Spring Power & Gas for more tips, insight, and eco-conscious energy plans.