Have you ever considered growing a garden? Every year, my husband and I plant a garden on our farm. There are many benefits of growing a garden. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about it.
I’ve also learned something about myself- I love gardening! From the planting and growing to the picking and canning (or freezing) I really, really enjoy every part of it. Well, maybe not chopping weeds, haha! But everything else is a lot of fun.
Although there are many benefits of growing a garden, I can put them into three main categories: health, family, and financial benefits. Keep reading to learn more about them!
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Gardening for Better Health
One of the biggest benefits of growing a garden is becoming more healthy! It takes time and effort to grow a successful garden. All of this work will not only produce good food. It will also improve your health in several different ways.
Spend time in Nature
One way gardening will improve your health is by allowing you to spend time in nature. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help boost your mood. Even looking at pictures of nature has a calming effect, so think about how time spent in your garden could help you feel better mentally.
Sunlight is an awesome source of vitamin D, which is super important for your bones and immune system. But did you know many people are low in this crucial vitamin? By growing a garden, you’ll be spending more time outside. This will boost your vitamin D levels and improve your overall health. Just don’t forget the sunblock!
Get Exercise in Your Garden
Getting exercise is another one of the important benefits of growing a garden. You have to move to plant a garden because those beans (tomatoes, squash, whatever…) won’t plant themselves.
Simple gardening tasks, such as planting flowers or pulling weeds, can help your body burn 200-400 extra calories. More difficult gardening tasks, such as hauling dirt or moving rocks, can burn almost twice that much! So as you can see, growing a garden is an excellent way to add more exercise into your day.
Add More Healthy Food Into Your Diet
Another one of the great health benefits of growing a garden is adding more healthy food into your diet. In the US, we eat wayyyyyy too many processed foods. And we also have no real idea of how these foods are processed before they end up in those nice packages in the grocery store.
This isn’t true when you grow your own garden. You know exactly where those vegetables come from. And you know everything that went into growing them. These whole foods that you’ve grown, and added to your diet, will make you more healthy in the long run!
Organic Gardening Methods
One way to make your vegetables even more healthy is by using organic growing methods. Nobody wants bugs or animals to eat their tomato plants. But you also don’t want to put pesticides in your diet either.
There are several ways to keep pests away from your garden. My mother in law told me about using 1 part ground red pepper to four parts flour (1:4) to protect your garden. Simply mix them together and dust it over your plants! There are also several essential oils that will encourage pests to avoid your garden. A simple search on Pinterest or Google will show you many more organic methods and benefits for growing a garden.
Family Benefits of Growing A Garden
The family benefits of growing a garden are amazing! There are so many ways having a family garden is good for your family.
As I mentioned earlier, growing a garden gives you more fresh and healthy food. This is also a benefit for your family. Here are a few more ways that a garden will be good for your family.
Gardening as a Family
One huge benefit of growing a garden is when you’re able to garden as a family. We have had a garden since we built this house, which was over 16 years ago. So our kids all grew up learning how to grow a garden.
When they were little, they all enjoyed spending time outside in the garden. They probably spent more time playing in the dirt than actually “helping”, but we still spent a lot of family time together outdoors.
As our kids got older, they weren’t thrilled with picking or breaking beans. But I did enjoy those hours spent together over the summer. When you’re working in the garden, your muscles are moving, but your mind is open to thinking. And with that thinking comes conversations. Some of our best conversations with the kids started while working together in the garden.
Learning to Live Off the Land
One of my favorite benefits of growing a garden is that my family has learned to live off of the land! We have a cattle farm, so our kids are not only learning to grow their own food. They have their own food supply all around!
Along with growing our garden, we’ve had the kids involved with canning and freezing our produce. They have all spent time breaking beans while watching TV. My girls have helped can green beans, pickles, and salsa. They have also helped freeze peppers.
Several years ago, while we were into watching “The Walking Dead”, one of our kids stopped suddenly when reaching our basement. We were carrying jars of green beans and tomatoes down there to store for the year. She stopped and stared at the corner filled with the produce we were saving. “You know,” she said, “if the zombie apocalypse happens, we will be okay.”
And you know what, she was right! I don’t think we will ever have to worry about zombies lol. But it’s awesome to know that your kids will be able to feed themselves if they need to someday!
Connections to the Past
Another one of the awesome benefits of growing a garden is making connections to the past. My granny, who died when I was five, grew a garden. She was the one who taught my mom how to grow and can her own garden produce.
When I started growing a garden, my mom gave me some of my granny’s canning supplies, which I still use. Every time I bring them out to use, I think about my granny, and the few memories I have of her. I also remember gardening with my mom when I was a kid.
More Connections to the Past
Another connection to the past I have from gardening is with my husband’s family. Just like my mom, my mother in law gave me several gardening and canning tools that I continue to use. My husband’s grandmother, affectionately known as “Big Mamaw”, gave me tons of canning jars when she stopped growing her own garden. We sadly lost her three years ago, but I think about her every time I work in the garden.
I’ve also enjoyed sharing these connections to the past with my kids. While working in our garden together I’ve been able to share stories of the past. Telling them about their great grandparents that they never knew has been a lot of fun!
Financial Benefits of Growing a Garden
We’ve covered the health benefits and family benefits of growing a garden. But one of my favorite benefits from gardening has to be the financial benefit!
Growing a garden can help you in so many ways financially. Not only can you save money, but you might even be able to make a little money from your garden. Here are a few of the financial benefits of growing a garden.
Save Money on Groceries
Growing your own food can help you save a ton of money on your groceries! Not only do you have fresh produce to eat, but you didn’t have to pay the overpriced grocery stores to get it. Just walk out to your garden, pick, and eat!
Your garden will have some start-up expenses. You will need to purchase plants or seeds, depending on what you want to grow. Our main garden staples are tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and cucumbers. We go to a local greenhouse to purchase most of these as plants. For the green beans, we buy seeds. This year, we spent about $80 on plants and seeds.
There are some years that we don’t have a great garden. A garden is dependent on the weather. Too much or too little rain can cause you to have less produce from it. But most seasons we are able to recoup our money and much more with what we grow and eat.
Canning or Freezing for Later
When you have a good garden year, there will be so much food! This is a good problem, but there’s no way you can eat it all. You can give some to family and friends, but your best option to save your produce will be canning or freezing for later. Canning and freezing allow you to enjoy your garden the whole year!
The first food I tried canning was green beans. I remembered helping my mom can them years ago, but it had been a long time. So my mother in law helped me can my first batch, and I was hooked. She bought me my own pressure canner the next year, and I’ve been canning green beans ever since.
Learning to Can Salsa
At first, we only used our tomatoes fresh, but we ended up wasting a lot. And let me tell you, wasting food from your garden is no fun! So I started canning tomato juice. I did this for a few years until I realized I could BUY tomato juice cheaply and very little effort. Canning tomato juice takes a lot of time. With the prices of it in the store, it wasn’t worth it for me to keep canning it.
So my husband suggested I try making and canning salsa. We grow a lot of tomatoes and peppers, which are the perfect combination of salsa! I bought a salsa spice mix, and we started canning our own salsa from the garden. It was sooooo good! This year, I plan to develop my own mix of spices for our salsa making adventures.
As our garden has grown, I’ve learned to can and freeze a few more items. We’ve made and canned some pickled cucumbers and peppers. I’ve also frozen peppers, both cut up and whole, to use for later. Some years, when the deer don’t eat it, we are able to blanch and freeze corn.
Once you have a few years’ experience, one of the best financial benefits of growing a garden is making money with it! It’s wonderful to save money on your own food bills. But it’s even more amazing when people will pay you for your hard work!
Last year, after several years of compliments and requests for my salsa, we decided to try selling some of it. My husband and kids all pitched in to help! We printed labels, sanitized jars, and peeled and chopped tomatoes. We then added peppers and spices and began advertising locally on Facebook.
After about a month of selling salsa, we had already made back the cost of our entire garden! Yes, you read that right. By selling some of our salsa, made from our garden, we are able to eat the rest of our produce for free.
This year, we plan to expand our salsa sales. We’ve put out several more tomato and pepper plants. I’ve also been looking into different spice mixes for the salsa. Hopefully, our garden will be a success again!
Enjoying God’s Creation
In my opinion, the greatest of all the benefits of growing a garden is being able to enjoy God’s creation. God created people, and He created the world for us to live in and take care of while we are here.
Through growing a garden, I get to spend time in nature. I’m able to watch a tiny plant grow and grow until it’s ready to be harvested. Gardening gives me the opportunity to see God’s promises acted out every year.
Growing a garden has been a blessing to me and my family. If you enjoy gardening or have any questions about it, please comment below!