Gardening isn’t just a hobby for old people and eccentrics: it’s a skill we should all practice, no matter what our time constraints, land availability, income, age or physical strength. Simply put: everyone needs a garden. Why? Here are ten reasons.
1. Avoiding GMOs
Genetically modified corn and soybeans are in almost everything we eat. From vegetable oil, to mayonnaise, to frozen burritos, to tofu, to soft drinks, we’re drowning in Frankenfoods. When you garden, you are fighting back. If you don’t want to be part of a giant science experiment that’s leaving us ill, obese, and perhaps even cancerous… grow your own food. My family no longer eats anything containing corn or soybeans. Since I love tortilla chips and grits, we grow grain corn. And since we all love mayonnaise, my wife makes it from scratch. This is a pain… but hey, it keeps us from looking like this.
2. Better Nutrition
Modern farming has overtaxed the soil, leading to nutritionally poor veggies. If a plant is normally a good source of manganese or selenium, it WON’T contain those elements if they’re not in the soil. When you garden at home and return compost to the earth, you have the ability to grow nutrient-dense foods.
3. Non-toxic food
I don’t want to eat anything marked with a skull and crossbones – yet most of us do every day. Pesticides and herbicides are being used in massive amounts to grow what we eat, and they remain in our food. Gardening means you can grow stuff without worrying if your next child is going to be born with three eyes.
4. Food Security
Just like you should keep a couple grand in cash available for emergencies, your garden is a safety net in case of unforeseen disruptions. If you know how to garden and have seeds on hand, what happens when oil prices skyrocket? You plant more food, and keep eating what you already have. That beats waiting in a bread line any day.
Folks have this crazy idea that gardening is a money-losing proposition. Maybe it is, IF YOU’RE A MORON! Seriously – gardening saves us a few hundred bucks a month. Seeds are cheap and dirt is plentiful. One fruit tree may cost you $25.00 to buy – and a few years later, you’re harvesting $250.00 of organic fruit from it every year. Think of the cost of strawberries. Or blueberries. Or tomatoes. Learn to grow things that have high value and you’ll be saving plenty. If you have excess, you make even make a few bucks.
6. More Sunshine
This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of gardening, even though it’s simple. Time you spend in the garden is time you spend in the outdoors. With vitamin D deficiencies running rampant, it’s good to stroll the rows and soak up a few rays.
7. Preserving Genetic Diversity
A lot of people are ignorant of how gigantic corporations in bed with government are destroying genetic diversity. They’re literally killing our future by patenting genes, corrupting the genetic code and splicing in stuff that can spread from field to field with unknown consequences. For thousands of years, people have passed on seeds from generation to generation. By planting and saving heirloom varieties, you keep history alive. Put in a row of “Jacob’s Cattle” beans, plant a fistful of Hickory King dent corn, or Red Wine Velvet sweet potato slips… and, as Janisse Ray proclaims, you’re a revolutionary!
Gardeners are a special breed. They know how to coax life from the soil, and they rejoice in meeting other gardeners. We’re growing in numbers every year, and newbies are always welcome. If you visit someone’s garden, you’re likely to get loaded down with advice, cuttings, seeds and maybe a glass of lemonade. That’s a burden easy to handle! Hoeing, weeding, planting and harvesting together with a fellow gardener is fun. No matter how bad things get, it’s easy to forget when you’re in the presence of friends.
Most of us don’t get enough exercise – and modern “living” doesn’t help. If you need an excuse to get away from a screen, plant a garden. Gardening is great for you physically. Digging, broadforking, weeding, hoeing, and chasing your wife through the paths because she looks so danged sexy in that sundress = exercise! Don’t bother with a gym membership: stay in good shape by doing real work, not by isolation exercises on a bank of expensive machines.
10. It’s what we were made to do
People refer to glorious gardens as being “like Eden.” We rejoice in fresh fruits, butterflies, trees, berries, vines and green mountains of foliage and brilliant flowers. It makes sense that the biblical account of creation first sets man in a place of nourishment, abundance and love. That’s what a garden is. Eden wasn’t a monoculture field of chemicals and dust. If you want a taste of paradise, plant a garden… that should be reason enough!