These past few years have shown us that global supply chains can easily be disrupted and the price of food is always going to increase. As a result, more and more people are wanting to grow their own vegetables. Here are the pros and cons of having a backyard vegetable garden.
Why grow vegetables: Growing vegetables allows you to have fresh, organic, and better-tasting produce in your backyard. You can cut down on your ecological footprint and while there are some initial costs, you will be able to save money in the long run.
Pros of Growing Your Own Vegetables
By the time you bring home vegetables from the supermarket, do you have any idea what it took to grow them? Even produce labeled ‘organic’ can have different methods to measure this, depending on the location.
When you grow your own vegetables, you are completely in charge of them. From the type of seeds to the soil and fertilizer, you get to decide how they grow. This way, you can know for certain that your vegetables are indeed completely organic.
Circle of life
Once you get into vegetable gardening, it’s fascinating to see how the life cycle is continuous. If you have the space, set up a container for compost.
Then, you can add in your vegetable scraps and other garden matter, wait for it to break down, and then add your compost to your garden to grow next year’s vegetables. There’s less waste so everyone benefits.
Involve the whole family
One of the best ways to ensure your children grow up loving vegetables is to get them involved in the process. When they get to grow and care for the vegetables, not to mention taste them, they are more likely to choose vegetables to eat.
Snap peas pulled off the vine, cherry tomatoes popped into a mouth, and baby carrots plucked from the ground are instant treats for children. Let them explore the garden and be a part of all the components.
The next time you are in the produce section of a grocery store, take a look at the country of origin of certain vegetables. Most come from California and if you live far away, that produce has to travel thousands of miles to get to you.
When you go into your backyard to harvest vegetables, you are greatly cutting down on your ecological footprint. It’s a small step but if more people were to grow their own vegetables, carbon emissions would decrease.
For most people, a giant chunk of the day is spent staring at screens and moving from one task to the next. Sitting still or remaining focused on a task you actually like is not always a priority.
While gardening can seem like a chore at first, if you look at it from a different angle, you will see that it is a very mindful activity.
It’s nice to be out in the garden at night watering once the sun is starting to set and the air is cooling after a hot day. It’s wonderful to feel that ache in your muscles after you have dug up your garden and reflected on all your hard work.
Cons of Growing Your Own Vegetables
Steep learning curve
If you’ve never gardened before, you’re in for a steep learning curve. Unfortunately, you can’t simply throw some seeds in the dirt and expect success.
Important aspects of vegetable growing include knowing what crops will thrive in your climate, what soil to use, and what location to plant them in. While there are many books, websites, and podcasts to direct you, most gardeners gain their expertise through old-fashioned trial and error.
High starting costs
Again, if you have never gardened before, expect to spend more than what your crop of vegetables will cost in the first year. This is because you will need to purchase not only seeds and seedlings but tools and soil.
The more land you have, the bigger the yield of vegetables, which will offset crops. However, not everyone has acres of space in their backyards.
You can definitely grow some vegetables in smaller areas or containers but you shouldn’t expect it to be enough to feed a family. You will also have to choose wisely about what you want.
Gardening is hard work. This is not a hobby that you can walk away from and expect success. Instead, you need to be in your garden multiple times a week to ensure your vegetables grow.
For some, this time is beneficial and looked forward to. For others, it can be hard to get into your vegetable garden after a long day’s work.
During summer, you will need to spend even more time in your garden. Unless you have an automatic sprinkler system or drip system, vegetable gardens need almost daily water on hot summer days.
Is it hard growing your own vegetables?
Growing your own vegetables can be as easy or hard as you want it to be. The general rule is that the more you grow, the harder it will be.
Putting a tomato plant in a container on your patio is very simple. Planning your garden for optimal crop rotation and ensuring all plants have support structures and remain disease-free is quite difficult.
Like most tasks, the more you garden, the easier it becomes. You will learn from your mistakes and get a better feel for what you and your garden are capable of.
To make it easier, be sure to talk to other vegetable gardeners, either in person or online. Then, you can take advantage of their expertise so you aren’t starting from complete scratch.
While there are some cons to growing your own vegetables, such as initial costs and hard work, there are also plenty of benefits. Not only will you have access to fresh, vibrant-tasting vegetables right in your backyard, but you can include your children in the task and foster a love of healthy food.