I grow my own vegetables. I live 5 minutes away from the nearest supermarket.
Two sentences that really don’t belong together if you are a typical consumer in the big city. For many people the very idea of planting a seed in some soil and waiting for your dinner to grow seems ridiculous, especially when it is so much easier to just take it out of the freezer and pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Why waste so much time, space and even money to grow a vegetable that you can buy quicker and cheaper in your local supermarket? Does it even make a difference if that carrot came from your garden or the fifth aisle on your right, next to the potatoes, opposite the cabbage?
To me it does make a difference and I find that growing your own fruits and vegetables is a great thing to do regardless of the fact that it may not be the most convenient. According to various professionals, surveys and studies it is definitely the healthiest, most eco-friendly thing to do. But, I’m not going to bore my readers with facts and statistics. Instead here are my non-scientific, not necessarily correct but none the less important reasons for growing your own fruits and vegetables:
1) It’s cool/wicked/sick…(whatever the kids are calling it these days)
I’m not an expert on the latest trends as they move too fast for me to follow but I’m sure that if I were to chase them they would lead me all the way to the vegetable plot in my garden. Growing your own food is cool. It’s not just something that loopy tree-hugging hippies do as a pastime. According to who? Well, that’s not important. According to me, our polluted planet and maybe even God, it’s cool. And if that’s not enough then I certainly wouldn’t mind being a tree-hugging hippie anyway.
2) Your celery stick doesn’t need a VISA
Our fridges are full of immigrants. The tomatoes are Spaniards, the green beans come from Egypt and the cucumber has lost its passport. It may sound like a kid’s nursery rhyme but it’s true. When we go shopping, my sister and I like to play this game called “guess the origin” and it’s really interesting to see just how few products were actually grown locally. Most of the fruits and vegetables that we put in our trolley have travelled hundreds of miles, using up lots of the Earth’s resources and emitting plenty of Carbon Dioxide.
3) They taste better (to you)
All men were created equal. All tomatoes on the other hand, weren’t. Freshly picked tomatoes, straight off the plant, taste a million times better than anything you can get off the shelves. They may not look as perfect or be all the same size but when it comes to taste, they win hands down. Some people may argue that it is not true; that there is no difference in taste but they are wrong. The difference between the shop tomatoes and your tomatoes is that you grew them yourself. It is the taste of satisfaction and pride that makes your tomatoes juicier and sweeter than anyone elses.
4) Something you can boast about
Yes, that’s one thing we all love to do; show off. When guests come over for dinner you can tell them of all the lovely fresh ingredients that are in their delicious soup before asking them smugly “do you grow your own?” . When their reply is negative you can then go on and on about the benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables, annoying them with your holier-than-thou attitude. However, if they answer affirmative then “GAME ON!”. There’s nothing like a healthy bit of competition to bring people together. Who’s got the biggest turnips? Who’s got the tallest sweet corn? Have your strawberries ripened yet?
Of course I can appreciate that not everybody may be able to grow their own fruits and vegetables but if you can why not give it a go? It’s easy and requires very little skill. My mum started my family off last year with absolutely no clue of what she was doing and apart from maybe one or two mutant carrots it proved to be a success. Here are a few pictures of this year’s home-made vegetable garden if anyone needs a little inspiration.
My Personal Favourite- Sweetcorn!
Strawberries in a hanging basket
peppers and sweetcorn in bright and cheerful home-made pots
At the moment they are all looking a little green, with not much variation but I can not wait until the coming Summer months when they will all be bright with colour and fresh with taste. Just the feeling of joy when you see the very first tomato gleaming in the sunlight or the very first strawberry peeking out from under the soil is enough reason to grow your own fruits and vegetables.