Most of us get the bulk of our veggies and fruits from the local supermarket. For those of us with a little more spare change, there are farmers’ markets or organic food delivery companies like Abel and Cole (they’re just super expensive).
But, 2020 has been a big year for perhaps the best alternative to gross and overpriced supermarket produce: growing your own food. You don’t have to be a hipster who’s bought an organic farm to make this happen. And you don’t need a lot of money or expertise, either.
Joining the burgeoning food growing movement is easy. It’s also an important part of doing the right thing. Here’s how (and why).
The ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ Method
Yes, it’s a horrible pun. But also: the point stands. The best way to grow your own food is to pick some of the easiest growers. There are plenty of fruits and veggies that won’t take much in terms of maintenance or investment.
Planting and cultivating strawberries, for example, is one of the easiest options out there. There’s no excuse for not starting, either: all that’s required is a pot and some seedling to get up and running. Blueberries and tomatoes are also on the fool-proof list.
Hands-Free, No-Dig Gardening
No-dig gardening isn’t new, but it’s only just starting to undergo widespread adoption. You don’t need to use a fork or spade ever. The idea is that the soil is never disturbed or loosened.
There are several advantages to doing it this way. First, it makes things easier and inexpensive. But perhaps most importantly, it ensures soil retains nutrients and plants grow better. The soil is also kept moist and healthy, which further reduces the need for fertilizers.
Answer to “Small Apartment” Problem: Vertical Gardens
Apartment dwellers dotted around big cities are often jealous of those who own big gardens in the suburbs. And while we can’t fix your lack of space, there’s an answer to not being able to grow food in the ‘traditional’ way: vertical gardens.
They’re basically what it says on the box. These types of gardens allow you to use the available space you have to grow fruits and veggies vertically. It’s an entire movement that shows you how you can grow produce like beans, garlic, onions, and tomatoes without needing much horizontal space.
Plan the Process
Whatever option you decide to go for, plan the process. Gardening without planning will lead to disaster. You need to understand your space, the goals you have in mind, and choose your seeds ahead of time.
Making a map of your garden is highly recommended, as it will give you a proper grip on what your options are. You’ll then be able to maximize both your indoor and outdoor space, and it’ll be far less stressful!
Why It’s Important You Join!
There are plenty of reasons why growing your own food is important.
Here’s our top 3.
Lower Your Carbon Footprint
Climate change is real, there’s absolutely no scientific basis for claiming otherwise. And food accounts for anywhere between 10-30% of an average household’s carbon footprint. We, therefore, have a personal responsibility to at least try to reduce our negative effects on the environment.
Growing your own food will achieve exactly that. You will reduce the environmental impact of importing from commercial farmers, whilst also reducing the amount of waste generated by packaging materials. The amount of plastic and cardboard used by most supermarkets is excessive, and there’s no reason why we can’t avoid it.
Boo to Chemicals!
The chemicals and pesticides added to the average commercial farm product are enough to kill a small animal (this is a figurative statement, please do not sue!). They’re terrible for the environment, and they can’t exactly be the healthiest option for human consumption.
Most people think that it’s part of the process; who wants weeds and nasty insects ruining our produce? Answer to this problem: organic alternatives. Choose companion plants!
Good for Your Mental Health
2020 has taught us that self-care is incredibly important. Modern life has a tendency to suck us into staring into screens all day, ignoring our relationships with others and the environment around us.
Gardening is a great antidote to the hustle and bustle of the rat race (and Zoom meetings!). Studies have shown that it can dampen symptoms of depression and anxiety, and it leaves us feeling happier and more relaxed.
Start Small (It Gets Easier)
Most people will read this guide and agree it’s a nice idea, and that the reasons behind doing it are solid. But most will never take action. The thought of having a fully functioning food-producing garden is daunting.
Fight that feeling of overwhelm! Sure, at first it’s a little confusing. And you may stumble along the way. But getting started is far easier than you think. Start small, and don’t beat yourself up about any mistakes you make. It’s a learning process.