The Surprising Benefits of Starting a Produce Garden

Most people choose to start a produce garden for the simple fact that it allows them to grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs. Rather than making a special trip to the grocery store each time you need a piece of produce, you can walk out to your garden and pick it fresh. However, there are other benefits of gardening as well, some of which may surprise you.

It’s Organic

Starting your own produce garden allows you to grow plants without the use of harsh pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Even if you can’t see it, most produce sold in grocery stores and supermarkets is covered in pesticide. A 1996 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found pesticide on 70% of store-bought produce, and that was after the produce was washed.

Opting to grow your own produce means you have full control over what pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals are used. Instead of using chemical fertilizer, perhaps you could use organic compost. And there are dozens of organic pest control solutions that don’t involve harsh chemical-based pesticides.

Saves You Money

Fresh produce isn’t cheap, and with gas prices on the rise, it will likely become more expensive in the months to come. You can free yourself from the clutches of your local supermarket, however, by opting to grow your own produce. Doing so can put hundreds of dollars back into your pocket each year.

Regulates Weight

Obesity remains a serious problem in the U.S., with some estimates suggesting that as many as 1 in 3 adults are obese. Gardening helps individuals regulate their weight in a couple different ways. For starters, eating fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs is a healthier alternative to processed food.

Gardening also gets you up on your feet, moving around and burning calories. Just a short 20-minute session in the garden can burn calories and build muscle.

It’s Calming

Another surprising benefit of starting a produce garden is the calming, stress-reducing effect it has on the mind. When you’re pruning leaves and/or picking vegetables, your stresses will naturally float away.

“When you sit at a desk all day, there’s something about literally putting your hands in the dirt, digging and actually creating something that’s really beautiful,” says Aldrich, 42, a magazine editor in Maplewood, New Jersey. “There’s something about just being out there that feels kind of elemental,” she added

These are just a few of the many benefits associated with starting a produce garden.