The constant increase in grocery prices has forced thousands of families to rework their budgets over and over again. While some families have been fortunate enough to be able to reduce their food bill and still eat healthily, many others haven’t. However, it is possible for most families who have yard space – or even a little space on a balcony or front porch – to grow a few of their own herbs and/or vegetables.
1. Reduce your Grocery Bill
One of the most obvious benefits to having your own vegetable or herb garden is that it will help reduce your grocery bill substantially – even if you only grow a few items at a time. This is especially true when it comes to herbs and salad items such as tomatoes and lettuce. Many herbs cost up to $10 per bottle or a fresh bunch, and in a lot of cases, most people aren’t able to use the full bunch before it goes bad. You could save anywhere from around $50 to well over $500 per year on food if you are able to grow your own.
2. Save Time
You may be wondering how having a vegetable garden will save you time. However, many people forget just how much time it takes to rush off to the store to purchase one or two forgotten herb or veggie ingredients for the evening meal. When you have these items in hand in your back yard, you can simply take a few steps outside and pick whatever is needed within a few minutes at the most. Another benefit is that you won’t have to sit in traffic in an effort to get dinner to the table on time.
3. Become Healthier
Another benefit of having your own food garden is that it will help you and your family to get healthier than ever before. Not only will you be consuming more fresh produce; you will also be spending more time outdoors while working in your garden as well. Digging, planting and nurturing your garden for a few hours a week will help burn calories and build muscle as well.
4. Your Meals will be Tastier
When growing your own produce, it will not only be easier for you to access; you will literally be eating it fresh off the plant or from the ground. This means that you will be getting the freshest vegetables and herbs possible – in many cases, produce that is on grocery store shelves could have been picked anywhere from one week to three weeks before you purchase it. By this time, there is not much taste or flavor left in it. After a few days, the overall nutritional value is usually severely depleted as well.
5. Your Kids will be More Eager to Eat Healthy Foods
Research has shown many times over that kids who have had a hand in helping to grow and/or prepare the food that is placed on the dinner table will be more eager to eat – or at least sample – it. Having a vegetable garden in your back yard and allowing your kids to help with planting, cultivating and preparing your fresh produce will allow them to see where food comes from and how it is grown. You could find that once your kids start helping you in the vegetable patch, they will be more eager to eat what they have helped to grow.
6. Getting Started
Once you’ve decided to start growing some of your own food, it’s important to remember that it will take time to learn how to produce the freshest foods possible. Many people make the mistake of trying to grow too many different things in the beginning and becoming despondent when they aren’t able to harvest everything. Instead, start off with a few items such as tomatoes, a few herbs or carrots – these are usually among the easiest items to grow. If you are unsure about growing items from seed, you can consider purchasing small starter plants from your local garden center.
Once you’ve managed to grow a few items successfully, you can add a few different varieties each year – until you have a wide range of fresh vegetables on hand. If you find that you have far too much produce for you and your family to eat, you can do a little research about canning or bottling some of the surplus – or even sharing some of it with friends, family or neighbors.
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