Like most people who start growing their own vegetables I had a few reasons for having a vegetable garden. I wanted fresh, organic, healthy produce and I wanted to save money. When my husband got cancer it became even more important to grow my own vegetables. Due to all the GMO stuff out there I wanted to know what he was eating!
But there are deeper reasons for growing vegetables and fruits than just the produce. Talking with other folks who have the own vegetable gardens has taught me that we all seem to have mostly the same feelings about our gardens and what they give us.
Here are our reasons for having a vegetable garden:
- Spending time in the sunshine. For me, it’s both enjoyable and necessary to get enough sunshine. Because I’m chronically vitamin D deficient getting lots of sunshine is very important. Even for the friends I talked with who don’t have this deficiency spending time in the sun just does something for them. It feels good.
- Relieving depression. More than a few of the people who garden talked about how they have dealt with depression in their lives. A few have seasonal affective disorder and the time outside in the nice weather and sun has really boosted their feeling of happiness. Others, with year-round depression say they miss gardening in the winter yet it gives them something to look forward to and to focus on.
- Time away from electronics. Some of the gardeners I talked with said that gardening helps them have time away from computers, smart phones, and television. I know I don’t bother with my phone when I’m working in my garden!
Kids love it and it’s a great experience for them!
- Gardening is a good experience for kids. A lot of the gardeners said they enjoy teaching their kids or grand kids about growing vegetables. Teaching kids how to grow food is rewarding for both the adults and the children.
It’s good for mental health!
- A sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. While buying vegetables at the store or even farmers markets is faster, planting a seed and seeing it grow and become a mature, edible vegetable definitely makes you feel you’ve accomplished something. What is more satisfying than being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor?
- It instills a sense of pride. I love being able to say that a vegetable or fruit is from my own garden and the other gardeners I spoke with felt the same way.
- Working in the garden is calming. People who work outside the home or have stressful home lives report that gardening helps them feel calm. When I’m feeling pressure from one source or another spending time in the garden helps me to become calm again.
- An escape from home and work routines. Although most people routinely spend time gardening they all say that gardening feels like an escape from the everyday routines. I feel I’m getting away from my routine when I’m in the garden even though gardening is part of my routine. Go figure.
- Mental and physical restoration. Even those of us who have difficulty with the physical aspect of gardening find that we are restored both physically and mentally by gardening. Because working stiff joints and stretching tight muscles makes us feel better and the calm of gardening restores us mentally.
Reasons for having a vegetable garden parents will love? Peace & quiet!
- Time alone. Since most of us spend a lot of time alone in the garden we get that important “alone time.”
- Gardening is peaceful. Folks I talked with said that gardening is one of the most peaceful pastimes they know. And in our fast-paced, nearly frantic world that feeling of peace is worth its weight in gold.
- Relaxation. Although gardening can be physically taxing the feeling of relaxation is strong for the people who garden.
- Pure joy. Everyone I talked with said that gardening gave them a feeling of pure joy. There aren’t many free activities that can offer that. A few folks even said that gardening gives them the same joy that a vacation does!
Self-confidence and self-sufficiency!
- Confidence and security. Many people felt that being able to grow their own produce and even herbal medicines provided security for their families. So they are more self-confident knowing they can feed their families and take care of them.
And what was first on the list of reasons for having a vegetable garden?
- Feeling closer to God. The number one reason that my gardening friends gave, and that I also put at number 1 is feeling closer to God while working in our gardens. Most of all, seeing the beauty of His creations reminds me to be thankful and to spend time talking to Him.
It’s probably no surprise that so many of us gave the same reasons for having a vegetable garden. Yet many people have never tried gardening. Even if you grow herbs or tomatoes in pots you’ll probably discover you come to love it as much as people with extensive gardens. Try it! You may love it!