If ever there were a time for urban gardeners to plant a big vegetable garden, it’s this year—especially with produce prices forecast to rise dramatically and recent concerns about how climate change will be affecting agricultural supply systems.
Wherever you live, there is always a way to accommodate grow spaces where you can plant vegetables, like the front yard, back yard, laneways, pots on balconies, in nearby unused areas or allotment spaces. Concentrate on high-value crops that are pricey to buy, but easy to grow. These include tomatoes, salad greens, herbs, raspberries and runner beans. Swiss chard with coloured stalks, parsley, peppers, frilly kale are also good choices.
“Gardening connects us to the deepest mysteries of the universe.”
– Thomas Berry, Cultural Historian
Consider some benefits of starting your own garden patch:
1. Yummier and More Nutritious Food
Home grown food just tastes better and is more nutritious than storebought foods! Period. (Did you know that the nutritional content of fruits and vegetables you bought at the supermarket started to decline the moment they were harvested?)
2. Save Money
Not only are you able to save substantial money every year by growing some of your own food, but you also reduce many of the hidden environmental costs connected to the food you are eating now (i.e., grower’s use of fossil fuels, water, pesticides and soil erosion).
3. Enjoyable Exercise
Gardening gets you outdoors for some purposeful, yet pleasurable physical activity. Over the long term, this can contribute to your general health and well-being.
4. Builds a Beautiful Landscape
Growing a food landscape surrounds you with tremendous colour, texture, smells and tastes. It also attracts many insects, birds, butterflies and other creatures. Natural beauty nourishes one’s quality of life.
5. Supports Biodiversity
The agricultural land on this planet is finite. It’s also degrading at a very alarming rate. By growing some of your own food, you decrease the pressure on wilderness areas and provide a vital habitat for local flora and fauna.
6. Critical Survival Skill
Close to half of the world’s population is now living in cities, a habitat that, in many ways, alienates us from nature and the need to grow food to keep ourselves fed. Gardening is one of those essential skills urbanites need to relearn and pass on to future generations.
7. Contributes to Local Food Security
Living in cities means we have become dependent on others as a food source. That leaves us wide open and vulnerable if unexpected events or circumstances seriously interrupt the flow of food. It is in our own best interests to participate with some form of local food production – whether that be from our own yards, to our communities or to the farms that surround our cities.
Want some intensive gardening techniques that can boost your garden’s production by 50%? Check out this Super Productive Vegetable Garden article