Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why I grow my own vegies

I've been growing vegetables here for a while now. At the moment, we are re-jigging our vegie growing space, building some raised vegetable beds. Before we went to all that trouble, though, it was a good exercise to remind ourselves of why we grow vegies in the first place.
Here are the reasons I came up with:

1) I like eating good food
The number one reason for me: consider the taste of fresh vegetables straight from the garden v. supermarket vegetables trucked vast distances. No contest. Next...
2) I need the exercise
I don't like gyms, but I'm in my forties and I need the exercise, especially the strengthening stuff. When I garden, I use every muscle in my body, as I dig, hoe, weed and plant. Even better, the effort I make is going toward to achieving something useful, as opposed to the wasted effort in the  mindless tyranny of the Stairmaster.
3) It  saves money
It doesn’t take much money, really, to set up my own vegetable garden. Our first vegie garden was a no-dig garden that cost a few bags of soil and some bales of lucerne mulch. Growing vegetables from seed is super-cheap, but even if I buy seedlings, my vegetables will still be miles cheaper than shopbought vegies. As a bonus, I found  that once the vegetable garden was established, certain vegetables spontaneously grow whether I want them there or not. Think self-sowing potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, rocket and mint. No gardening gardening, I love that.
4) It connects me to nature
Vegie growing attunes me  to nature. I notice things:  changes in temperature, the effects of a change in season . I scan the skies for rain, and monitoring weather reports like a farmer. The presence of bugs and slugs and the insect world in general, takes on great significance. With the  vegetable garden, the nuances of nature are always there, in my face. It’s just that I haven’t noticed them to the same extent before.
5) It reduces my carbon footprint
Growing my own vegetables is a small contribution Ican make toward reducing your own carbon footprint. My food miles will reduce dramatically. By reducing demand for conventionally grown vegetables ( ie. growing methods that rely on pesticides and synthetic fertilisers), I can make a contribution toward reducing the degradation of soils.  I am also reducing my demand for packaging, itself a source of demand for precious resources.
When I started to grow vegetables, I soon saw the need to start our own compost heap, therefore reducing the amount of waste that needs to be transported to and accommodated in landfill sites. The composting process itself stops my food scraps ending up in landfill where they give off methane, one of the more devastating green house gases.
There is no environmental downside with growing my own vegetables.
6) It’s contemplative
I feel myself relax from head to toe when I head out into the garden. The sounds of the wind and the birds calms me down, and puts a smile on my face

And that's why I grow vegies.


Marijke VanderVlist said...

Hi Paola,
Love your blog and your post. I’m very much with you, there is something very grounding about having your hand into the soil.
I love my garden, but it is becoming frustrating, disheartening even because the wildlife does love it too.
Any idea how much damage king parrots do to tomatoes, walibi’s to anything green, possums, bandicoots and even a ibis digging holes to find the root vegetables. And then having one of the chooks escape on just that morning that I’m in town. A tractor would do just as much damage to just planted out seedlings.
I love animals, love having them visit us, but I’m afraid that something will have to change, it’s called a fence, dug in, wired and with nets over it. Not exactly my dream garden... How do you cope with the wildlife, do you get many furry visitors?
Cheers, Marijke

Paola said...

Hi Marijke - you are not wrong, wildlife does love what you grow. Here, possums and rabbits do the most damage, along with the sheep when they escape. It can be very frustrating.
Fences and nets are the only way around it, I'm afraid. We will be putting in flexible agricultural pipe in an arch over the garden, and draping nets over them when things start growing again.
Thanks for visiting

Sonia said...

Great post Paola.
Due to life stuff (read: crap going down) we haven't been able to continue with the vegie garden as much as we'd like. Hence, I go to your blog to check out the wonders of successful (and sometimes not so successful!;) ) gardening.