7 Ways a BackYard Garden Will Improve Your Family’s Lives
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients.” Julia Child
There is no better way to discover and appreciate the exquisite taste and beauty of good food than by learning to grow it yourself. And there is no fresher ingredients than those picked directly from your yard and delivered straight to the table.
Through the Ages, ever since humans ceased being nomads, we have grown food to survive and thrive. Today, you can find backyard (or front yard) gardens all over the world as people continue to boost their nutrition, slash their food expenses and enjoy food at its very best.
Benefits of a Garden
1. Saves Money
While some might argue that the savings of gardening does not offset the cost, I am here to assure you that it can. In fact it can make a significant impact on your food budget. Not only are you able to save money on regularly priced produce but at home you can easily grow without chemicals. My personal grocery budget does not allow room to purchase organic produce most of the time so when I calculate my savings I base it on non-organic prices, even though I get to enjoy the greater benefits of my own fresh organic fruits and vegetables. (Check out Beginners Guide To a Thrifty and Appealing Backyard Garden for how to start a garden without breaking the bank!)
2. Tastes Amazing
Nothing quite compares to taking a bite out of a freshly picked strawberry or cherry tomato, or even picking that cucumber and eating it like an apple. The best tasting produce I have ever consumed has always been picked by my own hand and eaten immediately. It is because I think everyone should have this opportunity, that I love to mentor new gardeners!
Ripened by the sun instead of gassed in a warehouse to achieve the most saleable ripeness. Grown with healthy soil and no chemicals. Picked and eaten fresh instead of transported hundreds of miles over days or even weeks. Produce from your garden is significantly higher in nutritional value than even the organic counterparts in a store.
4. Environmentally Sustainable
Do you care about your carbon footprint? Does contributing to a healthier environment appeal to you? Gardening can help with both. Food produced with the least distance from garden to table automatically reduces stress on the environment. To cite just a few obvious examples: you have immediately eliminated packaging, fossil fuels used in transportation and large scale operations, storage facilities to contain the food and the energy used to store it unripe and then ripen it at just the right time. (And these are just the tip of the iceberg. It would take an entire article to delve into the many ways that growing your own food can benefit the environment.)
5. Great Experience for kids
Have you ever seen those kids who eat everything? Without complaining??? Gardening from a young age has been shown to be a great contributor to a more adventurous palate. Additionally, it provides kids with a connection to the source of their food, contributing to healthy development and responsibility among other benefits. Sending your child to the garden to grab “salad” for dinner will give them a life long appreciation for good food and what it takes to produce it. (For more information about Gardening with children read: Calmer, Healthier, Better Brain Development! Why You Need To Garden With Your Kids!)
6. Connecting with nature
Time spent in nature has been cited as life enhancing for both children’s health and development as well as for adults. We all need time in the great outdoors to be truly grounded and healthy. (This benefit has been well documented and would require its own article to explore thoroughly.)
7. Free Therapy
Related to the benefit of connecting with nature, the Therapeutic effects of gardening are innumerable. I like to joke that even if my garden didn’t save me a ton of money in groceries, it is saving my hundred’s in counseling sessions. Taking the time to sit in the dirt and pull weeds gently away from the vegetables, connecting with the earth while reflecting on life, having deep thoughts while holding the hose to nourish those new transplants, all of these are opportunities to ponder and center our very souls. It is a rare day that a trip to my garden does not bring me peace, gratitude, and often new thoughts and revelations about life or myself.
The Garden Makes It's Own Time
As a single mama, with 5 kids, you might wonder how I find time in my busy life to keep a garden. After working, homeschooling and caring for my family, I too wonder how to fit in this extra task. It is because I rarely view it as a task. Gardening is a life-giving blessing in my life. As I feel my stress mounting trying to scrape together a few minutes to rush out to the garden I ask myself, “WHY?” “Why did I add this additional burden to myself?”
Slipping silently out the back door, I step into my rainboots and with only 2 deep breaths of fresh air I feel the stress falling off my shoulders. With every step towards my beautiful, weedy green garden I breathe in peace and the stress is forced out of my weary body with each exhaled breath. My lips curve ever so slightly upward and I caress the new growth and run my fingers through the soil checking to see if water is needed. Spotting an almost ripe strawberry, I pluck it from it’s hiding place savoring the sweetness. “These are the most delicious strawberries, ever.” I sigh to no one and everyone. Alone in my garden, the bills, the squabbling, the loneliness, the screens, the world fades like a distant mirage far behind me. Here, I find quiet, I find peace. I find myself, my real self. It’s a place where thoughts come freely and I ponder, heal and grow. This is my sacred place.
Gathering greens for dinner, and a few more berries, I turn on the water and with shoulders no longer bowed beneath life’s burdens, I return courageously to my regular life, calmer, happier, and ready to face the world again.
And with a beautiful basket of the freshest produce to share with my sweet family.
About the Creator
Born a lover of stories. I love to read, write and tell them. Tales of inspiration, resilience and struggle.
A life long learner, I enjoy nothing more than sharing interesting and useful things I have learned so far.
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