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Why GROW Vegetables? Isn’t it cheaper to buy them?

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basket full of harvested vegetables

Growing your own vegetables is a fantastic experience, and watching all your efforts morph into garden-fresh vegetables is extremely rewarding. The robust flavors of freshly picked vegetables just can’t be compared to store-bought vegetables.

Growing your own garden-fresh vegetables is a healthy way to enjoy fresh produce –and save money, especially in the long run. It has been reported by the Journal of Extension that, on average, you can save over $500 in growing vegetables at home, producing about  $677 worth of vegetables while also having to invest about $70 in seeds and supplies.

Your diet becomes more diverse and healthier when growing your own food packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There is no comparison to when it is in its freshest form for the tastiest and most nutritious vegetables.

Many people think that growing their vegetables involves a lot of back-breaking work. Additionally, they believe that it is cheaper to buy them. Here, we will address both concerns.

Then, read on to understand why having a garden and growing your own vegetables can save you money.

The benefits of growing your own vegetables instead of buying them

people in garden harvesting vegetables

A survey performed by the National Gardening Association (NGA) found that one in three American families grows vegetables at home or in a community garden.

You don’t need a lot of space to garden –even the smallest backyard garden can produce bounteous amounts of vegetables and provide significant savings on your grocery bill.

With the advent of raised-bed gardening, what little work goes into creating your personal vegetable garden is more a labor of love. Home improvement stores offer material that is both cost-effective and durable. You can install 4-6 beds over a weekend.

I wrote his article on raised bed gardening containing information, its varieties, and why one should consider doing it. I am sure you will get many more ideas by reading through it.

Monetary benefits from growing vegetables in your garden instead of buying them

As previously stated, the Journal of Extension, a magazine on agricultural extension and farming, reports that, on average and with a 600 square foot garden, you would save over $500 in growing your own vegetables. This figure may vary by season, vegetables grown, and other variables depending on your own area.

Home garden costs are minimal. An essential list of supplies would include:

  • Cages, coverings, and fences
  • Cost to water plants
  • Nutrient-rich soil dirt, fertilizer, and worms
  • Plants or seeds
  • Tools and accessories, i.e., gloves, tiller, shovels, hoes, and a head covering to protect you from the sun

With regards to growing and making your garden flourish, the rest is all chalked to your effort in growing them! It’s all about having fun while getting your hands deep into the soil and toiling your love into your garden and future vegetables.

Health benefits from growing your own vegetables in your garden instead of buying them

Changes and improvements are constantly being made in various vegetables, resulting in improved flavors over older types.

Yet if you have ever tasted fresh produce and compared it to that purchased from stores, you won’t need the research to tell you the difference. The nutritional quality of vegetables is also much better when freshly harvested.

People who grow their own vegetables tend to eat more of them which is generally good for your health, and this results in fewer chronic diseases, including strokes and cancers.

There are several intangible benefits to growing your own vegetables as well.

  • Did you know that farm-to-table vegetables are richer in vitamins and minerals and retain their fuller, more robust flavors longer since you pick them as they ripened?
  • Did you know that gardening is a great stress-reliever? Gardening can reduce symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety which is really helpful in providing us a sense of order during this world of uncertainty.
  • The CDC says that light yard work (aka gardening) constitutes moderate exercise and can burn up to 330 calories in an hour.

The harvest time of your own vegetables in your garden instead of buying them

Vine-ripened vegetables have more nutrients than store-bought ones that must be picked early. Also, with everything being in your own garden, you control when your harvest.

Compared to store-bought veggies, homegrown ones can also outlast the other by 2-3x times by keeping them in a wicker basket on your counter.

In addition, the possibility of yielding bumper crops means that you can freeze or share your extras with your families and friends.

Other benefits of growing your own vegetables instead of buying them

Many other benefits come with growing your own vegetables. For example, besides the satisfaction of raising tiny plants or seeds into producing vegetable plants, you get to enjoy time outdoors, in the sunshine –getting lots of vitamin D in the process.

Lastly, growing your own food also helps reduce the reliance on long-distance transportation of produce that harms the environment.

Growing vegetables and maintaining a garden is therapeutic for kids

lady and 2 children gardening

According to several studies, gardening has a therapeutic influence on children; it gives them a sense of responsibility and teaches them to care for nature.

When learning to garden, kids tend to strengthen these following skills:

Skills learned by kidsExperiences that they learn through these skills
Kids learn to care for the environmentThey come to understand how gardening impacts the environment in many positive ways
Knowledge on how plants clean the air that we breathe
They learn about producing better quality produce
Kids learn about food waste and how to reduce itThey learn to pick only what they will eat
Improves emotional wellbeingKids are happier being surrounded by plants and nature
They experience therapeutic relief
Gardening helps them release feelings of stress or anger
Gardening helps kids foster a sense of responsibilityThis helps develop personal and social skills
Gardening creates opportunities for kids to connect with one anotherThis boosts self-confidence
It also improves self-esteem and their outlook on life
Kids spend quality time with each other
Kids learn the importance of a healthy dietKids learn to eat the foods they grew.

You can also take this as a bonding time within your family, the act of spending time with the kids and planting.

Growing a garden helps the environment

Growing your own vegetables also means you no longer have to deal with plastic bags from the store—another win for the environment.

  • Food waste is a severe problem in the US. One of the most significant benefits of growing your own vegetables is that you will be less likely to waste them.
  • Gardens reduce greenhouse gases through photosynthesis –the process plants use to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. More oxygen means cleaner air!

Food tastes so much better when seasoned with homegrown herbs. Fresh basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, dill–there is no comparison to cooking with fresh herbs—your palate will get spoiled in a hurry from all those aromatic flavors!

Planning and knowing what vegetables go into your garden instead of buying vegetables

Keep in mind; you are the designer and architect of your garden. With a bit of research, you can learn which vegetables will thrive best in your zone.

Then, you decide what kinds of fertilizers and pesticides come in contact with your food. Finally, it lets you control when to harvest your food.

This is an excellent way to avoid ingesting the chemicals and waxes used as shelf-life extenders on store-bought vegetables; you can reduce your exposure to pesticides on food by 80%.

If you join a garden co-op, other farmers will share precious information with you. Whether you choose to buy starter plants or start your garden from seeds, it is exciting to watch them grow and produce. Picking and enjoying fresh vegetables that you tended, cared for, and raised is very satisfying.

With all of this, if you plan on planting tomatoes soon in your garden, I wrote this valuable article on what companion plants to avoid grouping when growing tomatoes. Knowledge such as this will be precious in tight planting spaces and saving you from time and heartbreak if the plants fail to grow well.

Community gardens are fun!

lady holding community garden sign

There are over a million community gardens across the US. Even if your vegetable garden is not located at your home or your own property, it is still a lot of fun to grow, AND it gets you out of the house.

Don’t let space become an issue—if you need such a space to start a garden, check out www.communitygarden.org. (source) These types of gardens are gaining in popularity.

  • You get to interact with other gardeners.
  • You can swap seeds, produce, and knowledge.

These gardens are also encouraged and may be part of a larger beautification project and often result in a crime reduction.

What is the process of growth and fostering of store bought vegetables?

Store-bought veggies may appear to be cheaper on the surface. But here are a few things to keep in mind about store-bought vegetables:

Information on store-bought vegetables in terms of growthInformation on store-bought vegetables in terms of fees and transportation
Commercial farms can also harvest during off-seasons in their greenhouses and keep up the market suppliedCommercial farms have a lot of overhead—payroll, taxes, equipment maintenance, property tax, building maintenance, cost of materials, i.e. seed, fertilizer, soil conditioners, pesticides.
Commercial farms grow thousands upon thousands of acres of vegetables.Farms use expensive equipment to prep fields, sow seeds, and harvest.
They use hundreds of thousands of tons of pesticides and fertilizers to produce the highest yields and best-looking vegetables.Farms use expensive equipment to prep fields, sow seeds, and harvest.
Commercially grown vegetables go from farm-to-refrigerated storage-to-refrigerated truck-to-refrigerated cooler, thereby delaying the ripening process.Long-distance transportation of produce relies heavily on fossil fuels.
Farms often use genetically modified seeds for hardier plants.These vegetables are not vine-ripened–if they were, they would deteriorate too quickly.

The farms also strive to bring these vegetables sooner to the market, and this produce travels an average of 1500 miles or more which can have a bad effect on the environment with the regularity of this practice.

Return on your investment and possible risks of growing your own garden

Whether it’s a large commercial farm or a small home garden, vegetable gardening comes with some risks—two of the most common are:

  • Pest infestation
  • Unseasonable weather (or other nature-related problem)

While these may wreak havoc on your garden project, most home gardeners agree that the return on their investment is worthwhile.

To sum it up, it is expensive for commercial farms to raise the vegetable, and their ROI can’t even begin to match your home garden.

Vegetables provide up to twice as many benefits as fruit, so variety is the key to a great garden. Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in as wide a range of colors as possible will provide you with a healthy intake of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Also, when growing your own vegetable, you don’t have to think about the price—you can enjoy even the most expensive ones for the cost of the seeds or plants.

Conclusion on why grow vegetables in your garden instead of buying them

If you are a beginner and want to try your hand at gardening home-grown vegetables, you can start small, with a grow box, for example, or a small patch of land with a raised garden bed. Then, as you learn, you can always add beds and enjoy more vegetables.

Your local garden centers can provide many tips on what grows best in your area. Many seed companies also offer great tips on home gardening!

Turning a garden into a vegetable garden is fun and rewarding. This blog will show you exactly how to do this and what to expect. If you are thinking of turning part of your gardens over to vegetables then this article is a must for you.

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