10 reasons why you should grow your own vegetables (even if you think you can’t)

In my first year of marriage, I started a little vegetable patch behind our house. I planted way too many carrots and then got so attached to them that I couldn’t bear the thought of thinning them out to give them space to grow, so at the end of the season I had about two hundred miniature carrots that I couldn’t do anything with. I still felt, however, that it was a success. I put something in the ground and nurtured it, and it lived. I was hooked.

The following season, I forced myself to thin the carrots and even added a couple of tomatoes. I also accidentally grew some pumpkins (they just started growing out of the compost, and then I took credit for them). Then my first baby was born, and we loved spending time in the garden together. He went from lying on a blanket while I was gardening to crawling around while I was weeding to trying to help me water the plants. It didn’t matter how many vegetables I was actually growing. I was having the best time with my baby.

Now I have three boys, and they all love growing things. The time we spend together outside is so special to me. So here is why, in my humble opinion, everyone should try to grow something, even if they think they can’t.

1: Level Up Your Planning Skills

It teaches us the importance of patience and planning ahead, and this is a lesson I know my kids need to learn, as well as myself! There is value in doing something that will take a long time to pay off. When we learn that doing something today can benefit us in the future, that lesson carries over into many other parts of our lives.

2: Experience Magic

The moment the seed germinates is 100% magical. You plant a seed, and every day you check on it. Nothing happens. You wonder if you did something wrong, if the seed was faulty, or if your husband was right, and you just kill every green thing that you come close to. And then, just when you are about to give up hope, you spot the tiniest little glimpse of green trying to poke out through the soil. You did it! You are growing something! You are amazing!

3: 100% Risk-Free

There is literally no downside. This is a no-risk project. Your livelihood doesn’t depend on it. You are not depending on your crop to get yourself and your family through the winter. You are not investing much (or any) money. The worst-case scenario is that you end where you started: with no homegrown vegetables. The best-case scenario? Harvesting a perfect tomato and cutting it into enough pieces so that everyone can have a taste and admire the miracle that is nature!

4: Beautiful Flavors

Once that little seed grows into a plant and produces something edible, you will taste the difference. Food grown on a small scale has infinitely more flavor and is way more nutritious. A supermarket strawberry cannot compare to a strawberry from your garden.

5: Reduce Food Waste

You will produce less food waste. When you work so hard to produce your own food, there is no way you will let it die a quiet, soggy death in the crisper drawer! I guarantee you that that head of lettuce, that beautifully yellow pepper and those perfectly ripe tomatoes will inspire you to try out new recipes and get them on the dinner table as soon as possible.

6: Healthy + Relaxing

Working in the garden is a very healthy and relaxing hobby. You will spend more time outdoors. Gardening means you get in good exercise as well as your daily dose of vitamin D. (Did you know that your body can only absorb calcium when there is also vitamin D present? So if you want those strong, healthy bones, make sure you get some of that sunshine vitamin!)

7: Togetherness

And if your family is anything like mine, that means all the little ones and even the husband will follow you into the garden. What starts out as a fun hobby might very well turn into a family activity. My four-year-old planted random seeds in the flower patch without telling me, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand what was sprouting between my clivias until I pulled out a tiny little baby radish. He will plant anything, anywhere, and just wait patiently for it to grow into something. Sometimes nothing comes of it, and then we just try again. No matter what the results, we love the time we spend outside.

Or, if you are single or have no one in your immediate vicinity to share your garden with, what’s to stop you from making your garden a group project with friends or neighbours?

8: Environment Friendly

It is good for the environment. No long-distance transportation is needed to get the veggies onto your plate. Just walk outside and pick yourself a carrot (hopefully a normal-sized one, unlike my first ones!)

9: Simple Beauty

And this is just my opinion, but I think vegetable gardens are beautiful. So lovely to look at and aesthetically pleasing. I like flowers, but I’ll take a raised bed full of cabbage over flowering agapanthus any day.

10: Inspiration galore

What better place could there be to find inspiration? Whether you are looking for inspiration for your home life or your creative practice, being nature has a way of opening your eyes and heart to new beauties. You can read here how fine artists Christie van den Berg and Alastair Gordon look to God’s creation to feel inspired.

Give Gardening a Try?

Have I convinced you to give it a try? My number one tip is to start small and grow as you go. There are so many resources available online, but HERE is a list of my top 10 favorite websites for gardeners who are just starting out and feel a little bit overwhelmed. Don’t plant a huge garden from the get-go. Take it one step at a time.

You can do this!

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