I have always thought that our family was fairly healthy when it came to what we ate. We have the occasional bowl of ice cream, but don’t pig out all the time. We don’t eat out every day, and I never make hamburgers for dinner.
But then my husband got his cholesterol and blood pressure checked. Oh. Suddenly my assumptions about our diet quickly crashed down around me and we have had to reevaluate how we eat. My husband is on a crash course with a heart attack in 20 or 30 years unless we change something now.
So that’s what we are trying to do. To accomplish this we have to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diet. Every meal suddenly has to revolve around vegetables instead of meat and bread.
So, to help offset this, I began a patio vegetable garden. And along the way have learned some surprising things.
5 Benefits of Growing a Vegetable Garden
1. Helps You to Eat More Fruit and Vegetables
Yes, we have the intention of eating more vegetables and fruit. But that doesn’t mean it always happens. Having a garden right outside my kitchen door however, it forces me to use vegetables in every meal.
Suddenly I have 30 cucumbers and have to be creative in using them before they go bad. So by having an abundance of vegetables, it forces me to use them when I otherwise wouldn’t think about it.
And by having 30 cucumbers that need to be eaten in a few days, it allows me to be creative and find new favorite recipes to use. I get to experiment and make vegetables taste great! And thus we want to eat them more.
2. Saves Money
This was my number 1 reason for starting a garden. I wanted to save money, and I have. I invested a small amount of money in some seeds, soil and a few containers. And now I can have an entire season’s worth of vegetables out on my patio. All for pennies compared to what it costs to buy this much fruit and veggies in store.
3. Teaches Kids Value of Working with Hands
Growing a garden can be a wonderful way to show kids the value of working with their hands (and a great homeschool project). Having kids plant seeds, watch them sprout and grow into large plants, and then harvesting vegetables that they get to eat teaches them that with hard work, determination, and sticking with projects, the benefits can be great. By investing some time and energy, they actually grew something to eat.
4. You Can Bless Others
Sometimes you will end up with too many tomatoes at once. You simply can’t eat them all at once so you share them with others and bless them.
When you invite a new family from church over for dinner, send them home with a nice package of homegrown tomatoes and a cucumber or two. Share the fruit of your labor and bless those around you.
Check out this post on chocolate mint! This is a super hardy plant with many uses!
5. YOU control what you eat
Often, the fruits and vegetables that are store-bought are pumped full of all kinds of chemicals and additives to plump them up, help them grow unnaturally fast, or improve their color. Well, this just means that you are consuming that many more chemicals into your body.
This can be so harmful in the long run. The more vegetables you try and eat to be healthy, the more chemicals you are also ingesting, which practically counters the value of the vegetables.
By growing your own fruits and vegetables, you can control what goes on and in your plants. You know where they have been and what has been done to them.
I hope that I have inspired you to start a garden. It can be so rewarding to kids and parents alike. And you would be surprised; anyone can have a garden!
Guest post from Jami Leigh Balmet
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