Top 10 Reasons to Grow a Garden This Year
Never grown a vegetable garden in the back yard of your Stony Plain or Spruce Grove home? This article, reprinted in its entirety with the permission of the fine folks at the Brazeau 100 km Kitchen Party may make you decide this is the year to do it! The article is found on page 26 of the publication Eat Local Goodness 2011. (The Brazeau 100 km Kitchen Party was a 3-year program, now sadly completed, funded through provincial grants and the support of Brazeau County, whose aim was to promote using produce and products found within a radius of 100 km of Drayton Valley, Alberta, the heart of Brazeau County. Although the original project has now finished, three committed ladies formed The 100 km Kitchen Company to carry on the good ideas. Be sure to check out their website and visit them on Facebook).
Here are the top 10 reasons to grow a garden this year:
1. Save money. The average family can save an average of $500 per year on groceries by planting and maintaining an average garden. Preserve some of the produce and watch your grocery bills plummet, even in the middle of winter!
2. Fresh produce tastes better. Ever notice the difference in taste between a fresh home-grown tomato and a tomato bought at the supermarket?
3. Stay fit. All the bending and lifting involved in maintaining a garden, from planting seeds to pulling weeds to harvesting fresh produce can really have an impact on overall health.
4. Get more nutrients. From the time produce is picked off the plant to the time it is eaten, nutrients are lost. The fresher fruits or vegetables are, the more nutrients they provide.
5. Save time. A few minutes a day can go a long way toward producing an amazing amount of fruits and vegetables. Compare a few minutes a day to the time it would take to get in the car, go to the supermarket, select produce, pay for it, and bring it home, and you’ll see you’ll actually save time by growing a garden.
6. Teach children with the garden. Children love to know where things come from, especially food. What easier way to show a child where green beans come from than to show them the plant the green beans are growing on?
7. Keep children healthy. Children are more apt to eat something when they are given the opportunity to prepare the food. Preparing food from seed is about as close as you can get to the basic fundamentals of food. Encourage children to come outside and help in the garden and they will not only be spending time outdoors and learning where their food comes from, but also helping you to save some time in the garden by pulling weeds, planting seeds, and harvesting produce.
8. Help save the environment. Most produce found in a supermarket is not naturally grown and many chemicals, including pesticides, are used to help the food grow. Semi trucks are used to transport the food from the farm to the grocery store. Most people drive a car to the grocery store to pick up the food. Now picture how much better for the environment it would be to walk outside the back door into the naturally-grown garden and pick some fruit or vegetables for the family.
9. Increase your home’s value. Certain well-established perennials can actually increase the value of a home. Blueberry bushes and grape vines are excellent examples of edible perennials that actually add value to the home.
10. It’s easy. Growing a garden is not as difficult as some might lead you to believe. With proper planning, an amazingly productive garden can sustain a family with very little actual work done. Gardening is not back-breaking labour, but instead a fun activity the whole family can enjoy!