Eight Reasons to Grow Your Own Organic Food
Making the decision to switch to a predominantly organic diet is noble indeed. Along with doing your health a world of favours, organic living also holds the key to bringing a long list of threats to the environment under control.
All well and good, but there’s always the slight issue of increased costs to take into account.
Whichever way you look at it, switching to an organic lifestyle is going to cost you more than sticking with ‘conventionally’ grown fruits and vegetables. It’s a fact that simply isn’t open to debate - organic fruits and vegetables cost more.
True, it’s a small price to pay when you consider what you are getting out of it in return. Nevertheless, the fact that buying organic means a higher overall grocery bill can be the single most off-putting factor for most.
The Best of All Worlds
Having a plot of land large enough to grow a stockpile of fruits and vegetables is an absolute privilege. One that a lot of people simply do not have, therefore should be appreciated and embraced by those who do.
Growing your own organic food provides the opportunity to capitalise on the best of both worlds. Not only do you save money, but you also gain access to the finest produce on the face of the earth.
It really is a no-brainer - why pay for something you can produce practically for free?
Truth is, getting into organic gardening almost always turns out to be a one-way street. Once you start, stopping is out of the question - it’s addictive on a level that’s impossible to put into words.
All in a good way, of course.
As with most things, it’s simply a case of taking those first big steps and letting the rest take care of itself. For those in need of a little motivation to take the plunge, here’s a brief overview of 8 reasons why growing your own organic food is the ultimate no-brainer:
1. Homegrown Veg Taste Much Better
First up, claims of homegrown fruit and vegetables tasting nothing like those you buy in stores are easy to write off as cliché. Nevertheless, taste your own harvest for the first time and you genuinely will not believe the difference.
One of the reasons for this vastly superior flavour is the freshness of the fruits and vegetables you’ll be enjoying. When you need a tomato for a sandwich or salad, you pick it, slice it and eat it straight away. Fresh from the warm and sunny weather outdoors, the flavour really is something else.
Organic always tastes better anyway, but fruits and veggies enjoyed immediately after picking are as good as it gets.
2. You Can Grow Anything You Like
Another advantage of organic growing is the opportunity to grow a diverse range of fruits and vegetables, in order to get creative in the kitchen. Contrary to popular belief, the weather in the UK is perfectly suitable for hundreds of different types of weird and wonderful fruits and veggies from around the world.
It’s not as if we’re the only country in the world with weather like ours, so there’s no shortage of options to explore. This can be great for getting those creative juices flowing, setting your sights on organic produce you don’t normally see in the supermarket. Or perhaps, produce that is available in some stores, but is horrendously overpriced.
Don’t limit yourself to the usual everyday staples - branch out into the kinds of fruits and veggies that call for compulsory creativity in the kitchen.
3. You Can Completely Eliminate the Use of Pesticides
One of the main reasons of buying organic is to ensure you aren’t putting any toxic chemicals in your body. Nevertheless, you can’t always rely on the organic fruits and veggies you buy to be 100% free of every trace of chemicals. Even if the produce is fairly legit, there are still no concrete guarantees.
In fact, the only way of ensuring there isn’t a single trace of pesticides or chemicals in your fruits and veggies is to grow them yourself. Growing at home means having the freedom to experiment with all different types of organic solutions to everyday problems.
Beneficial insects, organic pesticides, companion planting and so on - just a few ways of protecting your plants without poisoning yourself in the process!
4. Less Risk of Cross-Contamination
Likewise, you can never be fully sure what the products you buy in supermarkets have been exposed to while making their journey to the shelves. Cross-contamination occurs when something that has been contaminated with something unpleasant comes into contact with something else. E coli being a prime example, which has a habit of spreading between a variety of products like wildfire.
Admittedly, the risk is relatively low - best practice food handling regulations have brought the whole thing under control. Nevertheless, the best way of eliminating the risk of cross-contamination entirely is to grow your own.
You grow, you pick and you prep - zero chance of anything untoward happening to your produce along the way.
5. Maximum Nutritional Value
Something else to bear in mind is the way in which most fruits and vegetables begin losing their nutritional value the moment they are harvested. Just as soon as something is picked, its micronutrient and phytonutrient content could begin a slow but steady process of deterioration.
Consequently, this means that the best time to enjoy fruits and vegetables from a health perspective is immediately after being picked. Or at least, as close to the harvest as possible.
Research has shown on countless occasions that organic fruits and vegetables grown with real TLC almost always have a higher content of nutrients than their conventionally grown counterparts. So even if you don’t enjoy what you’ve grown straight after picking, it could still be doing your health and wellbeing a world of good.
6. Gardening is Extremely Good for You
The health benefits of gardening go far beyond the obvious. Research suggests that gardening vigorously for 5 minutes can be just as beneficial (in terms of calories burned) as jogging for 15 minutes. It’s a low-impact form of exercise that utilises almost all muscles from head to toe, while at the same time getting you out in the fresh air.
In addition, gardening is renowned for its therapeutic benefits. All types of physical exercise are good for mental wellbeing, but anything that gets you up close and personal with nature is even better.
Gardening has the potential to reduce stress levels, relieve tension and fire you up with energy. It can also put you in a fantastic mood - particularly when you begin seeing the fruits of your labour.
7. You Stand to Save a Small Fortune
As mentioned back at the beginning, one huge benefit of growing your own is the potential to save a lot of money. The basic bits and pieces needed to set up an organic vegetable garden cost next to nothing. A pack of seeds and some organic soil are really all you need to get started, if the weather conditions are on your side.
For the price of a couple of bags of mixed organic salad leaves in the supermarket, you could set yourself up with enough seeds to feed you and your entire family for the entire season.
Once your vegetable garden is in full swing, you’ll be surprised just how much you’re saving on each trip to the supermarket.
8. It’s Surprisingly Straightforward
Last but not least, many of those who lack the motivation to grow their own vegetables are put off by the work involved. True, you need to get your hands dirty, and it takes a fair amount of elbow grease to set things up in the first place. But once you have covered the basics, there’s really very little to do, other than watch the magic happen before your eyes.
It’s worth remembering that organic gardening is the oldest and simplest form of gardening there is. There are no complexities whatsoever, as everything is excluded other than the absolute basics. Just as long as the weather conditions are on your side, there’s really nothing that needs to be done other than feeding and watering your plants.
The smaller the plot, the easier it is to keep on top of things. Window boxes, pots and planters in particular and perfect for setting up a micro-garden in even the smallest corner. Give it a try for yourself and you’ll soon see it’s not nearly as backbreaking or laborious as you may have thought!