Here are 10 great reasons to start a garden for yourself and your family in 2020.
When I was ten, my parents picked us up and moved us out of the suburbs of Houston, TX, into a tiny town out in the country. They talked constantly about how we were going to raise animals and grow our own food. They shared why gardening was so great, and got us so excited to start.
Before that, my only experience with gardening came from visiting my grandparents, and suddenly, here I was, growing my own food.
I don’t remember many of the details of that time, other than digging for what felt like days, and putting wheelbarrows full of potatoes by the road to share with neighbors. I also remember picking cherry tomatoes and cucumbers right out of the garden to snack on all season long.
I’d love to say that from then on, we grew our own food, but we didn’t. That garden lasted one or two years, and then life got in the way, and before we knew it, the garden plot was overgrown, and life went on much the same as it had before.
Still, those few seasons of gardening developed a new interest in me. I loved growing my own food.
How I started growing my own food:
It was another 15 years before I gave another thought to growing my own food. I had a daughter of my own, lived in a different small town, and had made friends with a family who loved gardening. I learned so much from them, and caught the gardening bug all over again.
From then on, no matter where we lived, we grew our own food. A couple of times it was just in pots on the back porch. Other times it was large plots in the ground with so much excess we were canning and giving away food all the time.
The last few years, we haven’t grown our own food. Life got in the way, I had a baby and then a toddler, and I lacked the help I needed to get one started.
That void was felt every year when gardening season came around. This year, I vowed to plant something. Even if it was just in pots on the back porch.
When I made that plan, I had no idea we’d have all the time in the world to tend to a garden this spring. It’s one of the few things that worked out!
Quarantine victory gardens were popping up all over my own newsfeed, and from the sounds of it, they were popular everywhere. Seeds became harder to find, as well as pots, canning supplies, and anything else you might need for a garden.
Clearly, the world has caught the gardening bug this year, and I am here for it.
Why plant a garden? Keep reading for the top 10 reasons to grow your own food this year.
1. You’ll have access to fresh produce all season.
One of my favorite things about having a garden is that I have access to fresh, seasonal produce right in my back yard.
There are so many nights I walk right out to the back yard to trim some basil for some fresh pesto, or find some ripe tomatoes and cucumbers for our salads. All throughout our summer growing season, we have what feels like endless access to peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and so much more.
What you can grow will depend a lot on where you live, but that’s the beauty of it! You’ll have food that’s in season right in your area at any given time, which is the best way to eat.
2. You’ll get plenty of exercise and fresh air.
Did you know that gardening burns over 300 calories an hour? And that’s just for moderate gardening.
Maybe I’m not exercising right, but I don’t typically burn that much in an hour when I try.
You’ll also get plenty of fresh air and vitamin D by spending hours in your garden tending to your plants.
3. Your kids will learn a lot!
A backyard garden offers so many learning opportunities for kids. It’s a built-in science lesson!
When you start a garden with your kids, they learn all about ecosystems, pollination, and how plants grow. No textbooks needed.
4. You’ll save money (hopefully).
Planting a successful garden can help you save a lot of money on groceries. It’s one of the main reasons people start gardens! But, quite often, I see people say that it didn’t really help, and for those people, I have one bit of advice.
Having a garden only saves you money if you’re planting what your family will actually eat. It’s easy to fall into the trap of planting easy-to-grow veggies, and veggies that are popular among other gardeners. But, if you’re not actually going to eat them, then it’s a waste of time and money.
I used to grow eggplant every year. It’s really well suited to our climate, and a really popular crop among local gardeners. But…I don’t like eggplant. And so, I was spending time growing something that I was never going to like, which meant it was going to waste. Sure, I did my best to give away as much of it as I could, but that’s still a waste of time and money for me since I still had to go to the store and buy what I’d actually eat.
When you’re getting ready to start your garden, think about what your family actually likes to eat. Then, see if and when you should grow it in your area, and plan your garden that way! If you do that, you can actually save money with your garden.
5. It’s a fun project!
Let’s face it, isn’t this reason enough? We’re all bored and stressed this year. Between going in and out of lockdown, being bombarded with bad news every day, and tensions running high everywhere, we could all use a distraction.
Starting a garden gives you something positive to focus your energy on. It gives you something to do with your hands, your mind, and your body that leave you feeling productive at the end of the day.
And, I don’t know about you, but I can definitely use something positive to focus on right now!
6. You’ll be more self-sufficient
Do you remember back in March, when states first started going on lockdown and everyone rushed to the store to stock up on all the food?
Do you remember the food shortages that followed, that caused even more stress?
I know I do. If I learned nothing else this year, it is that we all need to learn to be a little more self sufficient.
Our society is so used to just being able to pop into the store real quick for whatever we need, and trusting that it’ll be there. But, what about when it’s not?
Growing our own food helps us be a little more self sufficient, so that in the event of a food shortage or lock down, we are taken care of and have what we need right in our own back yard.
7. It relieves stress
Have you ever noticed that you feel better when you’ve spent some time planting and digging in dirt?
That’s because new science shows there’s literally something in dirt that relieves stress and anxiety!
I don’t know about you, but if I ever needed a solid reason to go put some plants in the ground, that’s certainly it!
8. You’ll try new things
Starting your own garden is a great way to try new things. Not only for yourself, either.
If you’ve got your kids involved in growing your veggies, they’ll be more likely to taste something new after putting all that work in!
For a few years, I ran a school garden, and the amount of kids willing to try things like kale after planting it and tending it for weeks was amazing.
Seriously. Give it a try! You’ll be surprised at what you can add to your dinner table when you grow it yourself.
9. It teaches kids (and adults) responsibility.
Gardening comes with a lot of tasks. Everything from daily watering and weeding, to harvesting, fertilizing, planting on schedule, and keeping pests away.
There’s something for everyone, and the to-do list can seem endless.
It really is a great family activity, and there’s something that can be delegated to even the youngest of gardeners!
10. Your family will bond over it.
Because gardening involves work for the entire family, you’ll be spending a lot of time together working towards a common goal.
That’s always a great way to bond, but when you add in the fresh air, stress relieving dirt (see number 7), and the nutritious food you’ll all enjoy, gardening is a great family bonding activity!
Tips on Starting Your First Garden
In order to reap the full benefits gardening, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind when you start:
- Start Small: There’s nothing worse than spending a bunch of time and money on a project, just to realize you’re in over your head. Start small, and gradually build on what you know each year.
- Find a sunny spot: You’ll want to clear a space that gets roughly 6-8 hours of sun a day or more.
- Make a plan: I like to spend my winter planning my spring garden. Give yourself time to learn how to start a garden, what grows well in your climate, and when to plant what you want to grow. (If your zone is anything like mine, my planting dates range from early February to late June for different plants!)
- Learn about garden pests: You can do everything right, but no matter what, pests will always be around. As an organic gardener, this used to mean the end of my growing season. But over time, I’ve learned about some great organic and natural options that I can safely use in my garden to deter pests without harming my pollinators.
- Plant flowers! Sure, flowers don’t offer you food, but they do attract bees and butterflies to your garden, which you’ll really want when it comes time for pollinating!
What You Need to Start a Garden
Why Start a Garden? These Are Some Great Reasons!
There are so many great reasons to start a garden in 2020. It can protect us against food shortages, give us something to do during quarantine, and help relieve all of the stress we’re all feeling.
Have you considered starting a garden this year? These tips will help you get started!
Find more on green living from Angie Cruise Here:
- My Clean Living Journey
- How to Start Eating Real Food (Without the Fads)
- How to Make the Switch to Natural Cleaning Products