Planting a vegetable garden is one of the most rewarding things you can do. You get the benefit of getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine, which boosts your vitamin D levels and lifts spirits, and the benefits of gentle physical exercise – which most of us could do with more of. You get to watch over the little plants as they grow, but if you forget to water them and some die you can just plant some more, (a great way for children to learn about being responsible and much less stressful than pets)!
Then you get to enjoy the pleasure of a full busy garden with bees pollinating and flowers blooming, after which you can harvest and enjoy the fruits of your labour in delicious dishes and healthy snacks. After a bit of practice, you will be able to have constant fresh produce from your vegetable garden and save yourself quite a bit from your food bill too.
These are the obvious health benefits to planting your own vegetable garden. The less obvious ones though, are just as important, perhaps even more so. Food you grow is very satisfying to eat, but it is also better for you. There are numerous reasons for this – you are able to control whether it has had dangerous chemicals such as pesticides applied during its growth, you can decide whether to use natural or synthetic fertilisers, you know it is fresh (time spent in cold storage will lower the nutrient content of any food) you can even have the soil tested before planting and add the necessary minerals to ensure your food is full of goodness.
Vegetables that are grown for the supermarket are chosen for their hardiness and high crop yields, and to further enhance the yields often synthetic fertilizers are used. Unfortunately, though this increases the yield of the vegetable so there is more to sell, when synthetic fertilizers are used it can make a lot of the mineral content in the soil unavailable to the plants, which results in vegetables lacking in nutrients. As the same chemicals are used year after year the health benefits of the foods being sold get lower and lower. Calcium and magnesium are particularly affected, and these are important minerals for the good health and proper growth of the human body.
When you plant your own vegetable garden, you can choose varieties for their taste, and grow a wide range of foods that are unsuitable for commercial production due to lower yields, meaning you will have a more varied diet. You can also ensure that your vegetables have all the nutrients they need through a good composting program and use of suitable fertilizers, meaning that you and your family will be getting all the minerals a diet high in vegetables should provide.