10 reasons to start a garden this year!

Yeah, yeah. We’ve all heard  a garden is a green, environmentally friendly experience. But stop for a minute and think about why…

Adapted from Horticultural Professional Todd Hazzard’s OCCUPY YOUR GARDEN movement. (Visit Todd’s resourceful site on gardening tips and how to set up a container garden.)

1. By growing your own garden, food doesn’t need to be transported hundreds of miles to stock your local grocery shelves with produce. That’s less fuel used, and less traffic on the road = less CO2 emissions.

2. Gardeners are known to compost dead plants, caterpillar eaten leaves, and overripe surplus. This improves the soil and reduces refuse otherwise headed to the landfill.

3. By using that homegrown organic compost in your next garden, it chucks the need for chemical fertilizers.

4. Local produce tastes better. It hasn’t traveled thousands of miles to you, picked green.

5. Growing your own food causes you to become more aware of how food is grown, and therefore what you’re eating.(Hopefully improving your health!)

6. If you’re growing it yourself, you’re more likely to search out  a product with a lower impact on the environment.

7. Think of all the packaging you surpass. Packaging otherwise headed straight to the landfill. By not consuming products in packaging, you’re less likely to consume GMO matter, which studies show 70% of commercially packaged food contains.

8. Your garden is an ongoing science project. You’ll be amazed each and every season.

9. By gardening, you’ll automatically connect with other gardeners–learning lessons from their mistakes. Fellow gardeners encourage one another, swap tips, seeds, and seedlings.

10. Because you grew it, you’ll be less inclined to waste it. Canning and drying food will become much more interesting.

(Taken from The Seed to Success site)— The USDA’s directory of operating farmers markets shows growth of over 400% since 1994.
Map of the United States
 Get out there and give it a go! If I can do it, I know you can too.
Gardening/market articles:

17 responses to “10 reasons to start a garden this year!

  1. Well, when you give such compelling evidence it seems a crime NOT to garden! Thanks for another great article.

  2. typing this with dirty fingernails, fearing they may have turned to their summer tone in shades of gray…and loving the feeling of fresh air and emerging bulbs..can’t eat tulips but glad to have blooming company for the chives and garlic coming up..asparagus will reinforce the edible gardening credo here. looks like we have an ever growing following out there in farmer’s markets..hope is that timeless renewable!

  3. I don’t know how to explain it, but when I garden, I feel more like “me” than with just about any other thing I do. In one of my favorite movies, Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell says, “when I run, I feel the pleasure of the Lord.” I know exactly what he is saying except “when I garden, I feel the pleasure of the Lord.” It is what He made me to do, I think.

  4. Good points and lots of common sense.

  5. Hey Jennifer, this is really interesting. I’m stopping back later to make a few comments. I have to laugh about saving the food you are growing… oh boy, I finally put my foot down with the tomatoes, though! I’ll be back. I’ll tell you about my applesauce…

  6. I have a “new and improved” garden planned for this year…just need to get rid of a couple of feet of snow and we’re good to go…I can hardly wait.

  7. Wonderful ideas, Jennifer; wish I had a green thumb!

  8. Of all your reasons, packaging got to me. I’m so disgusted with the amount of plastic it takes. Costco wraps their 12 apples in enough plastic to make 6 drinking cups. Who needs to wrap an apple! The other best reason (for me) is that the younger you are when you start growing your own, the easier it is to incorporate it into your lifestyle. Even pots of herbs at the kitchen window.

    I love sprouting seeds in a wet paper towel for a salad. I once red an article about a couple who bicycled through Mexico on $5 a day. They grew sprouts in a wet towel on the backs of their bicycles as they pedaled each day, added safe vegies and bought beans and rice at night to go with it.

  9. You forgot the awesome farmer’s tan you get on your forearms and the back of your neck, and the wonderful night’s sleep you get after wearing yourself out in the garden all day, especially this time of year.
    Great post! Always a joy reading from your site.

  10. Gosh, I don’t want to write a letter here, but this has me thinking about so much! When my grandchildren visited last year, my husband made sure they got a tour of the vegetable garden. I doubt if they have ever seen a vegetable garden! He loves to garden, that’s what summer is for, you know! Even if you only plant one tomato plant (and oh my does home grown taste so much better than store-bought, there is no comparrison), you will end up having more than you can eat fresh. We have always taken extra veggies to a
    senior center, given to neighbors, and taken to an assisted living center, and older people who just can’t get out and do a garden. The older folks really appreciate a few tomatoes or cucumbers, it’s like

    gold to them. I simply rinse, slice in half and drop my tomatos in

    freezer bags. I pull them out in the winter for soups, and spaghetti sauce. We got bushels of apples from my father in law, and I sliced and froze in 2 cup freezer bags for fresh apple cake (my mom’s simple recipe), or to use in apple pie, and the coolest thing ever was making applesauce in my crockpot! It was so incredibly simple and it smells and tastes so good! I also give

  11. well, I stopped there and couldn’t go back to the comment, but what I was saying was that we also give homemade salsa (from the tomatos) and containers of the applesauce to people. I just gave some applesauce to my friend when I took a meal to her for her birthday. Okay, I’ll stop rambling here–but yes, gardening is lots of work, but I think it pays off with fresh veggies, the taste of no comparrison, being able to share with others, and just enjoying the “fruits” of God’s creation.

  12. I sure miss living in my own house (renting right now due to hubbys work situation ), and having my own garden. There is nothing better tasting then fresh tomatos off the vine! One day I vow to get back to gardening, even if I have to seek out a community garden somewhere. Thanks Jennifer!

  13. Hi Jennifer,
    I have just stumbled upon your blog and I’m glad that I did – we seem to have some things in common. My partner too is in the Navy, and I am a botanist, environmentalist, gardener and renter.
    I started a container vegie garden and compost bin this summer (I’m in Australia by the way)after missing my youth of growing up on a farm and being able to pick vegetables, fruit, eggs whenever we liked – it was fantastic. I’m working hard to convince my partner that having a garden is a good idea. He seems to think it’s a waste of time because we will be posting out in less than 12 months to the other side of the country and doesnt think we can take any plants with us – as in, the defence shipping company wont ship plants.
    How do you get around this when you have to move (which I am assuming you have done a few times)? Do you give them away to friends/family and start again?
    Your thoughts would be much appreciated :)

    • jo, another amateur naturalist answering here…having moved cross continents and deserts, i can tell you that frequent moves hone the conservationist in you. if you drive across country. here are some of my tried and true’s.

      nightshades: (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants etc) cruciferae: (kales, mustard turnips, cabbages, cauliflower etc)
      dig up rooted plants and wrap roots in moist rags, put them in a plastic bag tied to the neck of plants, stick in a bucket..will last for 2 weeks of travel…

      bulbs and dry rootstock: in paper bags or dry sand. revive with generous warm water.
      bushes: same as plants, they will lose leaves but will return the favor by adapting to new growing conditions in about three weeks after coddling anew..
      a mixture of ( slightly humid) sand and compost in a bucket will allow temporary survival, as long as you occasionally lift lid for a breather and wait for new growth.. transplant stock asap upon arrival in new destination pref. in protected area..plants are just like earthly partners..a little love restores both.

  14. @ Mrs. Green–you’re so sweet. I didn’t make this one up, though. Can’t take the credit. I rewrote Todd’s article, but this was his baby.

    @ Nadine–typing with the dirty fingernails made me laugh. I am too! The tulips sound lovely. What color?

    @ Learningandyearning—we’ll be out there digging together, just in two different locales!

    @ Lightly crunchy–thank you! Enjoying reading your blog posts! :)

    @ Joy–thanks for your comments! I LOVED the applesauce pictures you sent me. Have you done a post about that? Your pictures are so, so good! I’m going to have to experiment with salsa in the crock pot…

    @ Pam—all our food came from the community garden this season. We’re renters too, but we kindly asked the landlord, and he said, go ahead, plant wherever you want, just put grass seed down when you leave! Unfortunately, not much sun back there….we’ll see how it goes. Is there a community garden in your area?

    @ Eldy–looking forward to hearing about your garden!!

    @Marcia–you can do it! I know you can. Maybe one potted tomato plant? In your FL heat, I know the thing woudl flourish!

    @ Anne—who needs to wrap an apple? So true! I loved the stories of the sprouting seeds on the backs of the bikes in Mexico!

    @Ed–thanks Ed. Your comments always make me happy. And yes, how could I forget the farmer’s tan?? LOL!

    @ Jo–I’m going to email you, my response is so long. Though Nadine offered some fantastic ideas from her cross-country trips!

  15. You have a good landlord. I am not sure to tell the truth (about a community garden) if we do it is not anywhere terribly close or I am sure I would have heard about it. We live in an apartment complex – so much for asking if we can plant a garden lol. Besides all the dogs around here whose owners won’t pick up after them, I am sure the garden would be well fertilized, but a mess lol. (sorry pet peeve of mine.

    • pam, i must share a recent success with you–plagued by ‘herds’ of mutts, i dove under the kitchen counter where i keep the bulk spices bought in healthfood stores when on sale..pulled out a glass jar full of cayenne pepper and poured a handful in a paper bag. sprinkled that sparsely all around the obviously favorite spots where the ‘visitors had left traces of their unwanted presence….how mean of me to laugh when i heard wild sneezes and whimperings..
      suddenly i am off the guest list in dogdom…

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