Monday, May 2, 2011

Top Ten Reasons YOU should Cultivate a Garden

I have always been a great lover of lists.  I love to write them, I love to read them, I love to save them, I love to mark things off of them and to combine several into one big list!  I was thinking about all of the reasons that anyone with a chunk of land (or a pot on the patio) would (could, should) benefit from keeping a garden.

10. Your physical health.  Tending a garden can provide you with a daily dose of exercise and vitamin D.
9.  Your mental health.  Research has proven that what my Mema always referred to as "Dirt Therapy" is real!  Gardening is beneficial for your mental health!
8.  Makes your world more beautiful.  Even if you decide to only grow veggies, plants are pretty and have flowers before fruit.  While veggie flowers aren't as showy as flowers grown specifically for their bloom, they can be lovely.  The fruit itself is often beautiful and colorful.  Plants grown for their leaves (lettuce, spinach and other greens) can be left to flower and you can save seed for next season!
7.  For the children.  They don't even need to be your children.  Kids love a garden (ask me how I know)!  Kids will find all sorts of ways to entertain themselves in a little patch of dirt.  From digging, to finding bugs and worms, to planting a seed and watching it grow... Oh, and they will try (and love) things like Brussels Sprouts when they planted the seeds and watched them grow.  Wouldn't you want to eat something that looked this cool as it grows?

6.  Education.  The funny thing about gardening is, the more you grow, the more you want to grow.  You learn something (sometimes a lot) every season you tend a garden.  When you have successes, you learn, when you fail, you learn even more!  You learn that gardening is a lot like life... 
5.  Successes and failures connect us with our food and the farmers.  When you discover that not everything grows well every season, you learn an appreciation for each potato you eat.  Each stand at the Farmer's Market represents someone's hard work (BEWARE: you may feel the need to buy something from each farmer once you begin to really appreciate all of their hard work).
4.  You can try unusual and heirloom varieties.  This one is fun!  Have you ever had a purple potato? A white radish?  What about a red and green striped tomato?  Grow an unusual variety this season.  Often heirloom varieties have superior flavor to the mainstream varieties (that were often developed for storage and transport, not for flavor).
3.  Your friends will love you for sharing your extras.  You will always have an abundance of something.  Everyone loves getting some free, homegrown produce!
2.  You will have a baseline of knowledge when/ if you need it.  You know, when the zombies attack, or Peak Oil causes food to be inaccessible, or when something happens to interrupt the food supply.  Preparedness is essential.  Those of us with experience growing food, saving seed, caring for the soil will have the tools to feed our own families and help others feed theirs.  Did you know that monoculture (farms only growing one variety of one crop) threatens to collapse the entire food supply?  Do you remember learning about the Great Irish Potato Famine?  When a blight destroyed the potato crop, the people starved.  What would happen if a blight affected corn in the US?  Look on the boxes in your pantry.  Are *any* of them free from corn?  Do you eat animal products?  Do you know what those animals eat?  Unless you are seeking out organic, grass-fed animals, they are not eating what God intended them to eat.  They eat corn.  Just spend a minute pondering how much of our sustenance depends on corn.
1.  You know what you are eating.   You can be sure that your crops are free from pesticides, harmful bacteria, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), slave labor (yes, slavery is alive and well in the world).  You know when your food was harvested, you were there!  You are sure to be getting the freshest possible food, superior in taste, quality and nutrition!

So, there you have it.  My top 10 reasons to garden.  Can you think of others?


  1. Just one more - because "fresh from the garden" tastes better than anything - I'll never forget stealing tomatoes from Grandma's garden and eating them as is - nothing ever tasted better than those stolen goods :)

  2. Uh, I don't care how "neat" brussels sprouts look when they're growing, I don't like them. My sister that used to not like them now likes them. I cooked them the exact same way she did and they still taste like a little stink-bomb went off in your mouth.

  3. Miriam, there is a gene that predisposes those who have it to a dislike of brassicas. Maybe you have the I-hate-brussels-sprouts gene!

  4. ...because it is kind of dreamy, and you feel so proud.

    -said the novice gardener/black thumb turned kind of green so far

    love your blog Amy!! :)

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