There are a multitude of good reasons to grow your own food, and I can think of only one not to. That one reason would be if you’re paralyzed from the neck down and bedridden. Growing your own food may be the number one priority in becoming self-sufficient, and may well be the thing that saves you when the SHTF. Food and water availability during and following disastrous events is a major concern. The more you can provide for yourself, the better your chances of survival.
Even if you aren’t a full-out prepper/survivalist, a list of reasons still applies–the main one being your health. Growing your own food is good for your health on several levels.
- It’s an excellent exercise routine that lets you work on strength-building, endurance, balance, and flexibility/stretching;
- You’ll have a healthy food source; even if you don’t go organic (which you definitely should), you’ll still be eating healthier, because you’ll be eating more fruits and veggies.
- It will get you outside in the fresh air, and close to nature–great for your spirit and peace of mind, a fantastic escape from the daily grind. I, personally, find that it’s a form a meditation. It’s a great stress-reducer.
I know. Growing your own food can be a huge chore, taking time and energy you don’t have. That’s exactly why I’ve spent decades experimenting with short-cuts and time- and energy-saving hacks to take as much of the chore out of it as I possibly can. For instance, one of the most tedious and time-consuming parts of gardening is weeding. Well, I love gardening, but I HATE weeding–so I developed a method that virtually guarantees no weeding necessary all summer long! In fact, there’s more than way one to eliminate this back-breaking task–and they really do work. (I’ll share them with you when the time comes–at planting time.)
I’m not going to tell you that you can grow your own food without any time or effort being invested. The only way I know how to do that is if you pay someone else to do it for you. Of course, that’s an option, if you can afford it. But most of us can’t. So you’ll need to schedule in some time for it in the spring, especially, and again in the fall. Everything in between may require minimum time and effort, as long as you do it right in the beginning.
Two more ways to minimize your work while maximizing the benefits that you should explore right from the start involve joining forces with others. Two ways to do this: become involved in or start a community garden; or start a neighborhood garden co-op in which members agree to grow certain fruits and veggies, and everyone trades. For instance, you might agree to grow tomatoes and peppers, one neighbor grows greens and cabbage, another has fruit trees, etc., and you trade with one another when you harvest. That way, no one worries about needing to grow a wide variety. But you must plant enough to go around, which shouldn’t be a problem since most gardeners end up with a surplus anyway–and this arrangement automatically takes care of that surplus.
What about Organic Gardening?
I imagine that most of you already know what organic gardening is, but just in case you’re a real gardening beginner, here it is in a nutshell: Organic gardening is gardening without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Organic gardeners take care of all of those issues using Mother Nature’s guidebook.
Why do it organically? For one thing, it’s cheaper than the conventional method, because you don’t have to buy all those chemicals. But the top dog reason is that it’s healthier for you and for the environment.
Abundant studies prove that over-use of chemicals on our food and in our soil are extremely detrimental to our health and to the health of the environment. Synthetic chemicals have been shown to cause cancer, as well as a myriad of other diseases (some chemicals are absorbed by the plant/fruit, and cannot be washed off); kill the soil and encourage soil erosion; pollute the water through run-off; kill the birds, bees, butterflies, and other beneficial creatures as well as the harmful ones; and destroys biodiversity, the ecosystem. The chemicals destroy soil health by killing vital microorganisms and other life in the soil and by leeching out nutrients–all of which are necessary for healthy plants and nutritious food.
Organic gardening actually creates healthy soil and environment, restoring both. So if you’re starting out with poor soil and environmental conditions, your only way out is to go organic! Organically grown food is healthier for you and your family, too, because it’s more nutritious. Check out this article for more information about the increased nutrition in organically grown food vs. conventional.
Need another reason to grow your own food? It’s fun! So, get out your trowel and spade and get ready to get some dirt under your nails. Don’t cringe! Instead, remember what it was like to play in the mud when you were a kid. The freedom from prissiness, the freedom to just be one with your environment, to experience it on a very personal level. If dirt under your nails still makes you cringe, wear some gloves. I’m not going to let you off that easily. This is too important!
Next up: How to plan your garden, step-by-fun-step!