Learn why everyone should start a garden this year. The benefits are numerous and it may change your health and way of life!
Gardening Experiences Don’t Need to Hold You Back
Gardening has become a passion of mine. When I got married, I had to start a garden right away. Because I grew up gardening, it just seemed like the right thing to do.
I’ve learned so much since those early years of gardening. I’d do so much different now, but it’s the journey and seeing how much I’ve learned that also brings me a lot of joy. Since having my very own garden, I find myself craving it more and more every year. My passion has grown as the years have gone on.
Here’s How to Start a Garden if you need some direction to get started.
I know not everyone has that passion but personally I feel like that is because they haven’t truly had the experience of growing their very own garden. Maybe you worked in your parents garden growing up or maybe you have never had a garden or maybe you have had a garden that failed.
It can seem intimidating to even know where to begin when you’ve had no experience or a bad experience. I don’t know what comes to your mind when you think of gardening, but I think of huge garden where I can grow all my own food. (I’ve never been known to dream small). That in itself could be enough to deter anyone from starting a garden.
A garden doesn’t have to be massive, and it doesn’t even need to contain vegetables. Maybe starting a flower garden might be the spring board you need to become a gardener.
Personally, I feel nothing is better than eating your own homegrown fresh food, so amidst the flowers sprinkle in a few veggies if you become convinced to give gardening a try.
I Don’t Have Time To Start A Garden This Year
But I don’t have time to start a garden this year… This is one of the reasons people give that always make me think. We live in a time and country where we are so blessed that growing our own food is optional. Our food is so convenient and fast. Here’s a though…when in history has it ever been an option to not grow and hunt for ones food? Probably only in the past 100 years.
We are so spoiled that we don’t have to plan or worry at all about food. With this blessing, we have become so disconnected from our food. We don’t know where our food comes from anymore. Chicken comes wrapped in plastic and styrofoam from the meat aisle of the grocery store. Or maybe it comes in the form of chicken nuggets that resemble dinosaur shapes.
We know of maybe 20 or so different types of fruits and veggies and the rest we might not be able to name or identify. Carrots, potatoes, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, apples, blueberry, strawberries, bananas, grapes, etc. Think of all the different flavors we are missing out on, not to mention the nutrients that we have lost by not eating a larger variety of foods.
I think we all know that we have time for what we believe is most important. Here’s to convincing you that gardening is one of those things that is important.
Gardening Is Good For Your Health
Gardening is so good for your health. The fresh air and sun, all the bending and squatting and digging in the dirt with your bare hands (or gloves if you must). I could go on and on but here are a few reason I came up with.
Last year, when I walked out to my garden, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I’d stop to watch the bees and butterflies. I take a deep breath, maybe for the first time that day. In the quiet of the garden, I’d peek to see if the baby zucchini I saw yesterday had grown. Then I’d pick fresh tomatoes for dinner and some basil to make my own version of salsa. No recipe, I’d just let myself be inspired. By the way, it was amazing. Not sure if it was the ingredients necessarily or just the fact the it was homegrown in my garden under my tender watchful eyes.
Every evening I’d pick new flowers to put on the table or somewhere else around the house, the flowers my girls and I started from seed that spring. I just couldn’t get over the amazingness of that tiny seed becoming a beautiful flower. I’m not sure I ever will.
Exercise, Strength and Flexibility
How many people go to the gym to exercise? How many people wish they would start exercising? If you stop and think about it, exercise is a totally new concept. Over 100 years ago, almost everyone did some sort of manual labor. That was exercise enough. Now we are so sedentary, we pay to go somewhere to get the exercise we are now missing out on. Or perhaps we feel guilty we aren’t paying to go somewhere to get the exercise we need to stay healthy.
Take a moment to imagine what gardening entails. If you are starting from scratch, you need to prepare a place to grow plants.
Let’s say you are building a 4×8 ft raised bed. To build the bed you must measure, cut and drill or hammer the boards together, all which involve squatting, bending, lifting and pushing. Next, you need to fill the bed with dirt you ordered. You shovel, wheelbarrow and spread load after load of dirt into the bed. More exercise!
After prepping the ground, you purchase and plant all your seedlings, bending/squatting/kneeling/sitting while reaching to put your tender babies (plants) into the ground. Yoga anyone? After, they need water of course. Either you drag the hose or fill a watering can. More strength training.
Finally, you take a breath and watch your plants grow. The heavy lifting is done for now. Still more stretching and “yoga” left though. Visit your garden every day for some quiet mediation and do more squats to pick out any little weeds that you may see spring up between the rows. Check to see if watering is needed and when the time is ready, harvest and eat what YOU grew (well, God grew but you planted)!
More Health Benefits
If you are eating the produce you grew, the nutrient content is so much higher than what you could purchase from the store or even the farmers market. You can pick and eat all within a few minutes. Almost none of the nutrients have had time to escape. You may even surprise yourself and like something you never thought you did before because it was never fresh. This happened to me!
Also, we can’t possible not talk about all the fresh air and sunshine you will get from garden or just walking around your garden because your can’t possibly stay away. Contrary to popular believe, some sun is actually good for you, just don’t get burned.
Dirt! Can dirt possibly be good for you? Did you know, that microbes live in the dirt if it is healthy and not been chemically treated and worked to death, literally. Good healthy microbes live in the dirt and are actually good for our bodies, so get dirt under your nails and pick and eat right there in the garden. Of course if you produce is covered in dirt, you probably want to rinse it first.
Where Does Our Food Even Come From?
I mention this in the beginning, but we’ve lost track of our food. We don’t know what it takes to grow it and raise it. So much of our food is commercialized and only mindset behind it is profit. No attention is given toward the health of the animals or the land. They all get used and abused all for profit.
Some people say, oh don’t tell me I don’t want to know how gross it is. But is ignorance really bliss? I used to believe it was until I started really learning about my food and where it comes from and how it is raised. That’s when organic slowly became important to me. Then, it was no longer organic but pasture raised. Now, I coming to realize some of the labels in the store might or might not even be truthful. It’s slowly become more important for me to know my farmer and grow my own food if I can.
How Much Time Is This Going To Take?
So maybe now I’ve convinced you it would be good to start your own garden this year. But how much time is this all going to take? All that previous explanation may make it seem like gardening takes a ton of time. But in reality it doesn’t have too. Unless, of course, you become addicted to it! Sure, the prep might take a few hours but after that just a few minutes each day will be enough to maintain your little plot.
Start a small garden this year, with a 4×4 ft or 4×8 ft (if you are feeling adventurous) raised bed. Plant what grows easily and what you think you would enjoy. Maybe by next year you will be ready to expand and grow your garden bigger! You never know.
An Unexpected Blessing
One thing I started to experience, especially last year, was worship. Yes, gardening has become a way for me to worship and know God in a whole new way. The miracle of watching a plant grow and produce as well as the quiet and solitude I experienced as I was wandering through my garden gave me time to pause and reflect and pray. I was often reminded last year of the hymn “I Come To the Garden Alone.”
I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am his own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.
I’m so looking forward to the growing season this year. I hope you are now too!