Whether you grow just a few tomato plants, have a backyard garden, or plunge into a full-blown effort with chickens, bees, and fruit trees, growing your own food is life-changing.
For me, it has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable hobbies and experiences of my life.
When you raise your own food, you know exactly what goes into it. You’re assured that what you put on the table is free of herbicides, pesticides, and other questionable additives. You can enjoy vegetables that are chosen for their flavor, not their ability to withstand days or weeks sitting in a semi trailer after it has been radiated. You can also grow unobtainable heirloom vegetables. And with better food readily available, I’m enjoying a healthier diet.
The ups and downs of personal finances is another reason to start a backyard garden or homestead. If you’ve ever had to do some serious belt tightening because of a job loss, you know that the more you can do for yourself, the less vulnerable you’ll be. It’s good to know that you have a “Plan B” should you have to get by on less income. Even a couple of garden beds can bring in hundreds of dollars of produce each growing season.
Another enjoyable benefit for me is the exercise I get from gardening. Many of us have sedentary, indoor lifestyles. Whether at home or at work, we are sitting in a chair looking at a computer, sitting in the driver’s seat of our car, or sprawled out in the easy chair at home. A backyard homestead or garden engages me in productive, healthy work. Some weeding, digging, pruning, and hauling is just what the doctor ordered for getting outdoors and breaking a sweat. Tilling the soil and turning compost strikes me as being a more sensible way to get exercise rather than driving to the gym and mounting a machine for a workout… and having to pay membership fees to do it!
Of course, there is the mystery of life itself. Even a small 4x8 garden plot can be loaded will all sorts of discovery. I am totally fascinated how a little seed grows into a living plant, then blooms, and eventually produces something edible. And the best part of is, I love getting outdoors and picking everything that I need for a meal from my own garden and then bringing it to the table.
That is a good feeling; to know that I am growing food that is healthy, organic, and better than anything I can buy at the grocery store or eat in a restaurant.