We know the importance of a balanced diet. The right foods give us energy and help to keep us healthy. Additionally, eating well is good for our mental wellbeing. In the last decade, there have been studies into the link between a healthy diet and our mood.
One such report revealed that a Mediterranean-style way of eating led to a reduction in depression among those who participated in the research. But when even our fruit and vegetables are full of additives and preservatives, how can we be sure we’re getting the nutrients we need? Here’s a look at the benefits of growing your own.
The pros of your own produce
There are several reasons why opting to grow your own fruit and veg can be good for you. These include:
- No pesticides
We don’t know much about the journey our food has been on before we take it to the supermarket checkout. While we wash everything thoroughly before we eat it, it can be difficult to know if we are ingesting pollutants.
By growing your own, you know exactly what you’ve used to feed the plants. You know when you watered them and the journey from soil to plate.
- Save money
There’s no denying that the cost of food has gone up substantially recently. Should you have forgotten to eat those potatoes or the lettuce looked too brown to eat, you suddenly find that you’re throwing money in the bin.
The cost of creating your own produce is cheaper in the long run and can be done inexpensively.
The carbon footprint involved with shipping fruit and veg, plus the footprint you create from going to the shops – or having the shops come to you in the form of a food delivery – can be removed completely when you set up a mini vegetable patch in your own garden.
- Good for your wellbeing
Gardening is good for you; it’s even prescribed on the NHS. Getting outside gives you the opportunity to soak up some vitamin D, while doing a hobby you enjoy triggers dopamine, the hormone that helps you feel motivated.
How to set up your vegetable plot
You’ll need to find the perfect spot for your vegetable garden. Most types of fruit and thrive in the sun, so it’s important that you find a corner that gets a lot of light throughout the day. Also, you might need to invest in protective cages to prevent insects or birds from getting at your plants.
Additionally, make sure your patch is set up on level ground. This allows for even access to nutrients. From there, you can decide how you want to water them. The amount of water they need will depend on what you grow.
Try your hand at some of these to start:
Radishes are a peppery addition to a summer salad. They can be sown directly into the ground throughout the summer and harvested after a month.
Sow your peas into the ground between March and June and they’ll be ready for harvest from June to August.
Onions are one of the least needy crops to maintain. Add the bulbs to well-drained soil in spring and when the foliage turns yellow in late autumn, you’ll know it’s time to lift them out. Once you have your first fruits and vegetables, you can cook up a storm. Make sure you have good quality induction pan sets, cutlery, and utensils at the ready. Cook, serve and enjoy!