After all that spring snow, are you ready for spring sunshine? I certainly am! It’s also the time of year to start planning your garden. Growing your own fresh fruits and veggies is a great way to eat smart for the whole family. Kids who grow their own food are more likely to eat it. And adults appreciate the fresh taste and low cost of homegrown produce. If you’ve never considered a garden before, here are some reasons why to get started this year.
Healthy Habits for Kids
Want your kids to get interested in nutrition? Then grow a garden! Studies have shown that when kids get their hands dirty growing their own food, they learn good nutrition habits. Plus, they’re more likely to try new vegetables if they’ve helped to grow them. Here are some good tips for gifting your kids a green thumb.
Eat Fresh Produce
Not only will your kids eat more veggies, the whole family benefits from homegrown produce. Garden-fresh veggies taste better because it’s fresh, in-season and fully ripe when picked. The varieties of plants that home gardeners grow are selected for taste, not for looks or transportation like grocery store types.
At the height of growing season, you’ll be overflowing with veggies and can easily hit your recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Just ask anyone who grows zucchini or their neighbors!
A review of different studies found that the average home garden produces $677 worth of produce for a $238 investment in seeds, tools, and equipment. Of course, this is the average and your own experiences will vary, depending on how large/small your garden, how talented you are as a gardener, and how favorable the weather is this summer. But it’s safe to assume that growing a garden is a good investment in healthy eating. Not many people are aware, but you can use SNAP benefits to buy seeds and plant starts for edible plants (but not equipment like soil, pots, or trowels). This article from Michigan Cooperative Extension gives a good overview how to make the best financial choices for growing your own produce.
If all these benefits of gardening weren’t enough, it counts as physical activity, too! If you’re ready to break ground on your family’s garden, check out these posts (and the links in them to additional information):
- Gardening for Health and Wealth (overview of gardening, including container gardening)
- Grow Your Own Food to Eat Smart (good advice for beginners)
Have you grown a garden before? What’s your favorite fruit, veggie or herb to grow?