Vegetable gardening is worth it in many ways

Vegetable gardening is worth it in many ways

The Issue: It’s important to know from where one’s food comes.

Our View: Sometimes the key to healthy eating is in one’s own backyard.

CARLINVILLE (Feb. 22, 2018) – Several years ago, a local agriculture teacher expressed the importance of knowing where one’s food comes from. So much of this nation’s economy is based on agriculture. From the food we eat, to the restaurant industry, to by-products, it’s difficult to place limits on all agriculture does at all levels of the economy.

Gardeners are already planning and seeding what they intend to grow this year.  There really isn’t anything quite like eating what one grows, especially if one has made the effort to sprout seedlings into bedding plants. Even more so if the produce from those same plants ends up canned or kept frozen to enjoy during the winter.

It’s just a fact that it is easier to eat healthier when fruits and vegetables are as close as one’s back yard. This is especially true when a variety of herbs is included in the mix. There’s nothing quite like the addition of fresh basil, rosemary, thyme or sage to a recipe. It’s difficult to understand how one can consider homemade salsa without fresh cilantro. Buying fresh herbs from the grocery store is extremely expensive, but it only costs a few cents to sprout your own bedding plants or to sew there directly in the garden.

There’s no doubt gardening takes a lot of work. Those seeds don’t sew themselves and for a garden to produce at or near capacity, the plants have to be kept healthy and the weeds must be kept at bay. That’s one of the health benefits, of course. Not only do you eat healthier foods, but gardening is great exercise.

Another concern among those who buy produce is the amount of chemicals used in their production. Organic produce isn’t always easy to find and when it is, it’s often priced out of reach. Pesticides and herbicides can definitely help ward off insects and weeds, but at what cost? By growing your own produce, you can choose what sort of additives go into your soil and on your plants.

Home grown produce is just fresher. One doesn’t have to wonder how long it has sat under the sprinklers at the grocery store or even in one of those sealed bags.

There’s also science reporting that as commercially grown produce has gotten larger and prettier, it has also become less nutritious.

The ways in which one can grow backyard vegetables is limited only by the gardener. From traditional garden beds to raised beds and pots, there’s a garden to be had for just about anyone. Many people use a mix of methods, growing some things in pots and others straight from the ground.

What’s important, though, and the reason we’re writing about gardening in February, is planning. Even if your plan is the smallest and most basic, it’s important to have one. Plans can be expanded, reduced and edited from year to year, but it’s important to know where you’re going to start.

We encourage those of you who aren’t seasoned gardeners, or at least not seasoned vegetable gardeners, to give it a go. Choose one or two of your favorites. We think it’s a good habit to start.