Published on September 22, 2014
blog.navut.com http://blog.navut.com/growing-your-own-vegetables/ Yum! | The Advantages of Growing Your Own Vegetables A selection of garden-grown vegetables The current trends towards being more environmentally focused, combined with the economic conditions negatively affecting food and gas prices more and more have influenced many people to get back to basics. This includes doing more walking, cycling and taking public transit, and also involves trying to eat locally and buying seasonal fruits and veggies (which are generally far less expensive) from nearby sources. And those sources for some, are as nearby as one’s own backyard or balcony! As it would happen, one of Navut’s own humble interns (yours truly) has been experimenting with this over the summer (for science), and we were hoping to convince you to try and start your own gardens to discover for yourselves the innumerable advantages of growing your own vegetables. Here are a few of my conclusions thus far: It’s fun As a creative type with a disturbingly low attention span, I rarely undertake anything long-term (which I consider gardening
to be) unless it’s really, really fun, (or unless I’m being forced to). The latter fortunately not being the case, I can tell you with assurance: gardening is great fun. You get to be unapologetically dirty, make a huge mess in your house, juggle various pots and in the end, watch lovely green things grow. Of course I realize that the entire mess part might be a deterrent to some, but I promise you that once in a while, there’s nothing like playing in the dirt to relieve some stress. Part of the fun is also the reward of seeing the efforts of your hard work, but I’ll cover that a little later. The bottom line is, however: If you love the outdoors, are looking for a new and rewarding hobby, or enjoy simply getting dirty once in a while, gardening can be a wonderful escape. A newly planted balcony garden It’s easy I’ll be honest here: I used to be someone who killed all of her innocent houseplants ( by accident, I assure you). However, with a little reading and some great advice from my garden-savvy parents, even I was able to pick up on the basics of gardening outdoors. Indeed, one of the most attractive things for people like me who want to cultivate their green thumb, is that for basic knowledge, gardening is easily learned and accessible. The Internet is chock-full of wonderful tutorials, local libraries are veritable treasure troves for first-time gardeners, and as I mentioned, parents, grandparents and friends are usually quite willing to share their experience. Furthermore, most plants, seedlings or seeds come with instructions and “levels of care difficulty” so you can target your comfort zone in terms of what you want to try out. Gardening’s ease also has to do with its versatility: whether you have a huge backyard to take advantage of (you lucky duck) or a small balcony with sunlight to try a container garden, you’re ready to enjoy the advantages of planting your own vegetables. The
equipment you’ll need to start is usually very accessible and you guessed it, brings us to my next point: It’s cheap Hands down (in the dirt), gardening is one of the cheapest activities around for all it can bring you in return. (I mean come on folks: free food!) It can be as simple and cheap, or as expensive and fancy as you want. In my case (which may be a bit lazy I grant you), many of the makeshift pots for my container garden were recycled coffee cans, painted yogurt pots and abandoned finds from the side of the road (it’s amazing what people throw out). Even my trowels were recycled: I gave my old kitchen ladles a second chance! Of course, for those of you perhaps wishing for a more standard experience, basic gardening equipment is cheap and plentiful during the summer season at most home decor or gardening centres. As little as 30$ can have you set and ready to go! All you need is dirt, pots, seeds/seedlings and frequent watering, and nature will do the rest.
Some basic (and mostly free) equipment for a small balcony garden: dirt, plants, pots and sunlight
It’s rewarding There’s nothing quite as rewarding as watching something you planted grow; it gives you a new appreciation for where your food comes from, and a sense of pride to know that you were able to bring your veggies to term all on your own! It also makes you less inclined to misuse or throw out good food because know how much time and effort it took to produce. Learning a new skill and enjoying the fruits (or veggies) of your summer-long labor is something very valuable, and it’s a great activity to share with your children or friends as a group project. Growing something with others builds a sense of responsibility, community and fun that’s hard to beat, not to mention that you can enjoy your hard work together with something delicious (I must say, I could get used to fresh zucchini bread every week).
A fresh Lebanese variety cucumber
It’s healthy Other than relaxation and confidence-building, there are other more obvious benefits to growing your own vegetables: it’s darned healthy! Free and easy access to a variety of greens encourages you to find new recipes to match your particular bounty, and hence to eat healthily. Bonus: You might even learn a thing or two about cooking while you’re at it, you keeners! The unfortunate truth is that most adults don’t get their recommended 7-8 fruits or veggies a day, so having your own source nearby can definitely help change those habits for the better. Furthermore, if you have a large garden in your yard, tending the veggie patch is great exercise; so flex those planting muscles! It’s pretty… and pretty delicious! In my case, the reasons behind my balcony container garden were as aesthetically-pleasing as they were healthy and environmentally-sound. There’s nothing like a little greenery to beautify your summer surroundings… and there’s nothing like fresh vegetables to make your meals that much more delicious. The pasta sauce below was the culmination of last year’s harvest. If that doesn’t get your mouth watering for your own vegetable patch, I don’t know what will.
Pasta sauce made from garden-grown veggies These particular veggies were grown in the beautiful Plateau neighborhood of Montreal.
If you want to know which other green neighborhoods which might have community gardens, check out Navut’s Montreal Neighborhood Profiles! For more great tips on how to get your garden started, check out these great articles we found: Canadian Gardening Magazine Reader’s Digest Canada GrowaRow’s illustrated guide on how to grow a garden If you have your own tips or experiences (good or bad) with your own gardens, we’d love to hear them! Share with us in the comments below!
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