Based on the results of a survey by the Garden Writers Association Foundation published in its 2013 Winter Gardening Trends Report, 51.9% of all American households that garden anticipate growing edibles this year– an increase of 11.3% over the previous year. This number includes gardeners who grow traditionally in the ground as well as those who grow in pots or containers.
So, if you are considering growing your own vegetables and fruits this year, you’re in good company.
The reasons for growing your own food are many. Freshness, of course, is number one. You can’t get much fresher than just-picked! I come home from work, pick tender lettuces from my garden, rinse them, put them into my salad spinner and tuck them into the refrigerator to crisp up while I make the rest of the dinner.
And in these days of food recalls, safety is also a big issue. Whether you choose to grow without pesticides or to use relatively safe organic solutions, you know what is on your food because you are the one who chooses what to put on it.
Flavor is a big factor. Large farms produce varieties of vegetables and fruits because they ship well, not because they taste better. The tastiest varieties are often more fragile, and can only be sourced locally from a farm market or your own garden.
If you have children at home, growing food together can make them more willing to try healthy fruits and vegetables they may have refused in the past. And at the very least, they will learn that vegetables don’t just appear, fully formed, on the shelves of the local grocery store!
And the physical act of gardening is healthy. Fresh air, exercise and contact with the soil are known to be good for you. It’s like therapy to me– plus I get tomatoes…