February 2, 2023

The benefits of starting your own vegetable and herb garden

I think that we all know by now that supermarket prices are out of control and providing a nutritious diet for ourselves and our family is getting harder.  More people are thinking of giving up corners of their gardens to grow to some vegetables to supplement the supermarket shop.  I have people ask me if it is worth the effort, time and money. It definitely is as growing herbs and vegetables benefits us in so many ways and not just financially. Here are some of them.


The food that I grow is fresher than any I can buy. Lettuce leaves can be on my table in minutes, or a fresh pea popped from a pod in my mouth in seconds.   The herbs and vegetables that I buy in the supermarket are often weeks, or even months old, but are kept fresh with chemicals and packaging. The fact that I can harvest my own produce when I need it, or preserve it straight away, means that if I grow it myself it is more nutrient dense, and so it is easier to get the nutrition that my body needs.


People ask me what the point is of growing things like carrots if they can buy a bag of them cheaply at the supermarket. My  answer to this would be that in a packet of seeds I can grow organic carrots for under £2 for a whole season (I often plant 2 seasons in spring and in autumn) that are fresher than the ones you can buy at the shops.  I can also pick them on the day that I want them and they are not going mouldy and soggy at the bottom of the fridge, as happens in most homes, and so there is less waste.  I am therefore saving money by growing my own.  The price of organic fruit and vegetables in the supermarket or at your local farmer’s market is beyond most people’s budget, but if you grow them, you can enjoy them daily. Growing things that are expensive and preserving them, like drying herbs, freezing raspberries, bottling pears will save even more money and your store cupboard will have a greater selection.


My cupboards are never empty.  There is always something that I have preserved or some thing that I am growing in the garden and so I can always throw together a delicious salad or stir fry or open a bottle of pasta sauce made from my own tomatoes all year.  In the summer, especially, I rarely visit the supermarket as I can make meals from what I am growing.  We all know how tempting supermarkets are and we go in for one thing and come out with ten and so the less I visit the supermarket the more I save.


There is no comparison between supermarket fruit and vegetables to those you have grown yourself, especially things like tomatoes and cucumbers.  You will find supermarket ones tasteless after you have plucked some from your own garden or allotment.  You will also find that you don’t have to use as much salt or other condiments to make your meal tasty.


All sorts of sprays and pesticides are used on the vegetables that we buy from the shops.  Most of us are unaware of them.  When you grow your own vegetables and herbs you are in control and you know exactly what you have used on your plants.  They can be as organic as you want.  There are many ways that you can fertilise your crops organically for free.  You can even pick the produce when it is the size you want, or as ripe as you like.


If you grow it, you can have the convenience of a fresh stock of ingredients at home.  You can snip some Basil to garnish your pasta or pizza, pick some parsley for a sauce for fish, or pull a mixture of vegetables for a vegetarian chilli without having to nip out to the supermarket.


Gardening can be quite a work out and burn lots of calories if you want it to be, but it can also be done from a wheel chair or a stool if you have raised beds or containers. The physical aspect of stretching improves a person’s flexibility as they weed and plant the crops.  Being outside in the fresh air, and getting lots of vitamin D from the sunshine also helps with the immune system and general health.


It is well documented that growing your own vegetable and herbs relieves stress, and reduces depression and anxiety.  It is even said that it reduces the symptoms of Dementia as it improves concentration when undertaking tasks like taking the side shoots out of tomato plants. Listening to the birds whilst planting your crops can be so calming and fill you with hope, and the sense of accomplishment when you harvest or eat your own crop is amazing, even if you have been gardening for years.


When you grow your own vegetables and herbs you get used to looking at the weather forecast to know when to plant, when to protect young crops, or when to water.  You therefore become more aware of the seasons and the changing weather patterns.  You also have a deeper connection with the earth that you are growing your plants in, and the bugs and insects that are flying and crawling around.  You start to gain a greater understanding and connection to nature.


By buying less food and vegetables, because you grow them, you are reducing the need for packaging, the use of chemicals and the carbon emissions caused by reduced food miles.  If you make your own compost from things like cardboard and vegetable peelings, you are also giving back to the soil and reducing land fill.  Even growing certain crops can add nitrogen to the soil and increase oxygen and so you are giving back to nature rather than adding to climate change.


This is a pass time that the whole family can join in with. Involving children in growing is not only a learning activity for them, but will improve their health as well.  They are much more likely to eat something green if they have grown it themselves.  It will also raise self-esteem.  As a family you are also much more likely to incorporate more vegetables into your diet as you won’t want to waste any with all the effort you have put into growing them as a family.  I can’t wait until my grandson is old enough to garden with me.

The thought of starting your own vegetable and herb garden can feel overwhelming but it is much easier than you think.  You can even buy multipack of small amounts of different seeds for the first time that you want to grow.  It doesn’t matter whether you have an allotment, a raised bed in your garden, a large pot or even a window sill, you can still enjoy eating your own grown vegetables. They will taste so much better, and a quick garnish from your herb container will bring the presentation of your food up to the next level.  I know that the seasoned gardeners will be nodding their head. If you have not grown anything before then why not give it a try?




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  1. Lesley Hanson March 21, 2023 at 9:57 am - Reply

    I’m looking forward to growing more this year. It’s so rewarding.

    • ToniG March 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      It is and I think that there might be some shortages of fresh food this year or they will be expensive as farmers are growing less due to the costs. I am going to try dehydrating a few things this year for storage as my two freezers are always full.

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