Whether you're looking to beat inflation, enhance your resiliency, or simply spend more time with your family, vegetable gardening offers countless benefits in today's world. No matter how you look at it, it's guaranteed to bring countless rewards to you, your family, and your community. Here are 10 reasons to start growing your own food this year!
What Food is Easy to Grow in Pennsylvania?
There is an immense variety of foods that you can grow in your backyard here in Allentown. Pretty well any vegetable you can imagine will thrive in our Pennsylvania climate, including tomatoes, carrots, celery, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, lettuce, and kale. As for fruit, apples, pears, plums, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries will flourish in your backyard garden, along with rarities like persimmons and pawpaws. But why should you grow all of these amazing fruits and veggies yourself?
The Best Reasons for Growing Your Own Food in Pennsylvania
1. Growing Food Saves You Money
There are very few investments that offer as much return as growing your own food. For a few dollars worth of seeds, you will receive an almost endless supply of free produce from your garden from spring all the way through to fall and into the winter. Want apples? Plant one sapling, and for the rest of your life, you'll have more than you'll know what to do with! If you're wondering how to beat inflation, or even if you're just looking to save a few bucks at the grocery store, growing your own food is an easy answer!
2. Growing Food Improves Your Health
No matter how you look at it, there's no better preventative medicine than fresh, organic food harvested from your own backyard. It's fresher, free of harmful chemicals, and has more vitamins and minerals than anything you'll find on the grocery shelf. Plus, unlike food that's been sprayed with nasty pesticides and preservatives, homegrown produce naturally contains all kinds of good bacteria and enzymes that improve the microbiome in your gut, which doctors are now discovering to be a cornerstone of overall health.
3. Garden Vegetables Taste Amazing
Ever tried snap peas fresh from the vine, an apple straight off the tree, or a homegrown heirloom tomato? They explode with flavor on your tongue and make your whole body feel amazing! You hardly need spices when your food is naturally packed with so much savory goodness. If you're not careful, you may even find yourself picking and eating your salads straight from the garden, leaf by leaf. You don't need to be a "foody" to appreciate the difference, either. Anyone who starts eating garden-fresh vegetables will suddenly realize, "Oh yeah, that's what real food's supposed to taste like!"
4. Growing Food Boosts Your Resiliency
Faced with an uncertain climate, economy, and geopolitical landscape, we could all use more resiliency in our lives. In simple terms, resiliency is our ability to respond to any shock, like extreme weather, a surprise pandemic, or inflation. So, how can you make yourself more resilient? Padding your savings account and fostering your community are good places to start, along with growing your own food. When another supply chain rift impacts grocery availability, or if your local area is affected by an unexpected emergency situation, a homegrown garden will provide stability and food security to yourself, your family, and your community!
5. Growing Food Enhances Your Local Community
The bounty of nature almost always gives a surplus; chances are, at some point, you'll have harvested more pears, lettuce, or zucchini than you and your family could possibly eat yourselves. Rather than throw away or compost this excess produce, the natural next step is to boost your local gift economy by giving it to neighbors or asking the local kids to eat your raspberry surplus.
Gardening also creates opportunities to share work, tools, and life with others in your community. Anybody need compost? Does anyone have a rototiller I could borrow? Do you need help harvesting your potatoes? There's no easier way to bond with neighbors than gardening together!
6. Growing Food Brings the Family Together
Growing your own food is an incredibly accessible and meaningful outdoor activity you and your whole family can do together. It offers a season-long way to plan and accomplish something with the whole family while enjoying the fresh bounty at meal times. Plus, nothing sparks a kid's curiosity and passion for the outdoor world more than watching plants grow!
Gardening gives them the chance to get dirty, be outside, admire bugs, exercise their bodies, and learn an essential lifelong skill. Just think back to what you remember most about your childhood: gardening with your grandparents or parents is probably up there with some of your fondest memories. It is for us, at least!
7. Growing Food Brings You In Touch With Nature
The seasons are constantly changing around us, often without us being fully aware. Migratory birds are flying through our backyards. Caterpillars are transforming into butterflies. Trees are releasing their seeds into the wind. Earth's entire life cycle is unfolding every year right in front of our eyes, with many of us being none the wiser. Growing your own food is a beautiful way to participate in this great flourishing of life and become more in tune with the natural world. It brings you in touch with the sprouting of early spring, the abundance of summer, and the harvest of the fall. Every moment you spend outside lets you connect with the wondrous earth surrounding us!
8. Growing Food Reduces Your Ecological Footprint
The food we buy from grocery chains is often shipped thousands of miles and grown using intensive industrial practices. This all comes burdened with a hefty carbon footprint, including releasing a suite of pesticides, plastic packaging, and chemical fertilizers into the environment. While many of us currently depend upon this style of agriculture, we can reduce this dependency and minimize our own ecological footprints by growing food locally. It almost seems too simple, but an abundant backyard garden offers an easy way to live humbly and naturally.
9. Growing Food Exercises Your Body
Who needs a gym membership when you're wheelbarrowing compost around your yard and picking buckets of plums? In truth, gardening is not that physically intense. The most common tasks are weeding, with occasional pruning, raking, and–of course–eating. But even though it's not a total workout, it does offer some all-important "functional training." In other words, you're not just pumping your bicep for 50 reps; you're using your whole body in integrated motions to accomplish functional tasks. That's something you'll rarely find in a weight room. Plus, you're outside, and it's fun!
10. Growing Food Brings You In Touch With the Past
Unless you come from a royal lineage, chances are that your ancestors grew food in some way or another. Tilling, planting, and harvesting have been part of people's daily life for thousands of years, and that memory still lurks in our subconscious. It's often refreshing to touch upon that past and use our bodies to do something our ancestors have been doing for millennia. Growing food makes us feel more like humans, which, in our current society, is always a welcome relief!
If you want to make the most of your garden this year and are wondering how to start growing your own food, stop by Lehigh Valley Home and Garden in Allentown, PA, today! Our friendly experts are full of knowledge and advice, and are more than happy to help you kick-start this year's growing season!