5 Reasons to Plant a Backyard Garden This Year

Grow your own food in a backyard vegetable garden.

gardening tomato plantsIt’s time to plan our backyard garden. Yes, even those of you who are still snowed in to the eaves! Spring will be here sooner or later, and the best way to welcome spring is to lovingly plant seeds in the ground. If you have been contemplating a garden for a while now, but just haven’t gotten to it, this is the year to move forward. Why? Glad you asked.

1. Grow Unusual or Hard to Find Vegetables

Got a hankering for sunchokes? Missing those big, yellow tomatoes that Mom used to grow? Want to try sorrel or nettles or yard-long beans? Most of us are out of luck if we want something a little different, something we can’t find at the grocery store. The only way to add these delicacies to our plate is to grow them ourselves. Every year I grow big, Evergreen tomatoes and purple carrots. I live in an area with three large farmer’s markets, but can’t find my favorites even there. So the seeds go into the ground each spring. I am never disappointed. What unusual veggies would you like to grow?

2. Save Money in a Drought Year

California is in the middle of a historical drought. Other western states, including Texas and Colorado are also experiencing a drought year. Much of the nation’s fruits, vegetables, and nuts come from these drought states. Drought means lower harvests. Lower harvests mean higher prices for the crops that are grown. That means we will all be paying more for our food. Get a handle on your grocery budget this summer by planting a garden and growing your own favorite vegetables.

3. Gardening as a Mental Health Fix

We are a stressed out nation. The recession may be over, so they say, but the uncertainty remains. Prices are going up, salaries are staying the same, the weather is costing us a fortune, benefits are being cut. We could all use a mental break. An easy, and productive, way to get that break is to garden. Studies have shown that working in the garden (vegetable or flower) helps reduce our blood pressure and leads to a sense of well-being.

4. Get in Shape

In addition to helping our mental health, gardening also helps our physical health. All that digging, pulling, walking, and bending helps get us in shape and keep us in shape. We don’t have to run a marathon to get healthy, just caring for a garden does the same thing.

5. Give Your Family a Great Experience

My grandchildren love my garden. And I love the fact that they want to come and wander in the garden to see what is ready to pick. How can you complain about toddlers filling their hands with fresh peas or ripe cherry tomatoes? I welcome their help planting the cucumbers and carrots, even if they do all end up in a bunch. When your children or grandchildren want to visit, and want to share the garden with their friends, you know you’ve provided an experience that will last. What could possibly be better than that! So break out the seed catalogs and get ready to plant your own garden this year.




by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at SeedToPantry.com. Find her professional food writing info at PenandProvisions.com.

February 19, 2014

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