Home Gardening Is the Answer to Many of Our Food Problems
There is no doubt that home gardening is an important step toward building a more sustainable food system.
I have been encouraging readers for years to plant gardens as a means of making high-quality, nutrient-dense foods more readily available to their tables.
Food grown in your own garden is fresher, more nutritious and tastes better than store-bought food, and you cannot beat the convenience and price.
They are but a few of the benefits of putting a garden in your backyard.
According to a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine, 80% of gardeners reported being “happy” and satisfied with their lives, compared to 67% of non-gardeners.
Many of the happy feelings come from putting your hands in the soil and spending time in nature, which includes vital Sun exposure that helps promote your body’s synthesis of vitamin D.
Add to that, walking barefoot outdoors and making contact with the soil provides us with the many health benefits associated with grounding.
Walking barefoot on grass or bare ground transfers free electrons from the Earth’s surface into the body that spread throughout your tissues, providing beneficial effects.
Grounding has been shown to enhance well-being, improve sleep, reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
Now, if you are a gardener, you can attest to the uptick of energy and positive feelings that accompany the work in nature. An additional pleasure comes from cultivating and eating your own homegrown food.
Quality Soil is Key
The 5 Principles of Regenerative Agriculture
Without access to homegrown food, you become dependent on the global industrial agriculture system, which does not have our health in mind. Far from being life-sustaining, the world’s large-scale, chemical-dependent farming methods pose vast nutritional risk to our population.
There are better solutions than industrial agriculture.
Regenerative agriculture, which makes use of cover crops, focuses on no-till and supports herbivore grazing, can help solve many of our most pressing problems, including reducing atmospheric CO2 levels and normalizing weather patterns.
And growing nutrient-dense food is only possible with healthy soil.
The 5 basic principles to growing topsoil and building a healthy soil ecosystem on farms, is the same guidance that applies to home gardens.
So, you should do the following:
- Avoid disturbing the soil microbiome.The less mechanical disturbance the better, which means no tillage, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides.
- Protect the soil’s surface. Use cover crops, untreated lawn clippings, mulch and wood chips to maintain soil biology, prevent water evaporation and lower soil temperature, which is particularly important on hot days.
- Diversify your crops. Having a diverse array of plant life is essential to healthy soil, and cover crops help fulfill this requirement.
- Maintain living roots in the ground as long as possible. Growing something at all times is key to soil vitality, so be sure to plant a cover crop after you harvest your vegetables.
- Integrate livestock and other animals, including insects. To mimic the large herds of wild animals, such as bison and elk, that previously roamed the lands pasture chickens, cows, lambs and pigs to benefit the soil and ensure a highly nutrient-dense finished product. Flowering plants that attract pollinators and predator insects will naturally help ward off garden pests.
Try these gardening tricks that involve another beneficial practice, recycling:
- Make green tea fertilizer: By steeping a green tea bag in 1 qt of water, you can create a simple fertilizer, when cooled, that can be applied once every 4 weeks.
- Reuse glass bottles for self-watering: Fill empty glass beverage and food bottles with water, then place them upside down into terra cotta irrigation spikes positioned inside your containers. This provides your plants with a self-watering system that will last for days.
- Transform old milk jugs for garden uses: You can create a do-it-yourself watering can by poking holes in the cap of a gallon jug and filling it with water. If you are short on pots for growing herbs, simply cut the tops off gallon jugs and fill them with potting soil to make your own portable herb garden.
- Use coffee filters for transplanting: If you know you’ll be transplanting your plant at a later date, place a coffee filter into the bottom of the first pot prior to planting. The filter will help keep the soil together when it’s time for transplanting.
Yes, growing our own food is a convenient and cost-effective means of boosting nutrition and health. Garden-grown Organic vegetables and fruits are nutrient-rich and represent the freshest produce available.
Growing our own crops not only improves our diet, but it also:
- Enhances and protects precious topsoil
- Encourages composting, which can be used to feed and nourish your plants
- Minimizes your exposure to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other toxins
- Promotes biodiversity by creating a natural habitat for animals, birds, insects and other living organisms
- Improves your fitness level, mood and sense of well-being, making gardening a form of exercise
Gardens have many benefits.
But, the most important reason to plant a garden is because gardening helps create a more sustainable global food system, giving us access to fresh, healthy, nutrient-dense food.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively