Why grow your own?
Gardening is considered a hobby but I tend to think it's much more than that. A "hobby" is defined as an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure. Vegetable gardening certainly provides more than just pleasure for participants (and their friends and family!). Here are four reasons gardening can be the best activity on which you choose to spend your valuable, limited time and resources:
It's healthy! Gardening burns up to 300 calories in an hour. Think about it — it involves moving your body, digging in the dirt, soaking up the sun, carrying bags, bending over 6,000 times (or more) and plenty more activities. With all of the talk these days about exercise reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and other maladies — why not incorporate vegetable gardening into your daily routine and watch your fitness tracker fly.
Tasty food! When you grow your own veggies and herbs, there's a better chance you'll eat them and eat a lot of them. Homegrown produce really does taste better — because you let it ripen on the vine versus ripening on a truck or in a store. You'll also have the opportunity to select your own mix of varieties and having a cool assortment of vegetables and herbs with various flavors adds excitement to every meal.
Rainbow of colors! When you grow your own vegetables, you have the opportunity to choose fun, interesting varieties. Most local garden centers offer a wide range of veggies and herbs in a rainbow of colors — from hybrids to heirlooms. Look for fun tomatoes like Big Rainbow, Black Krim, Shimmer and any of the Indigo small-fruited varieties. When it comes to fun peppers, try Habanero Orange, Pinot Noir, Lemon Dream or Tangerine Dream.
Bragging rights! Who doesn't want to be the coolest kid on the block with the most massive, super-sized vegetables? Even if you're not entering your biggest and best in the county fair (although that's certainly an option) you might just earn the neighborhood blue ribbon with Burpee's Amazing vegetable collection that includes Jalapeno Gigante, Thunderbolt Sweet Pepper, Gold Standard Bell Pepper, SteakHouse Beefsteak Tomato, Pesto Party Basil and more.
As far as activities go, starting a garden is relatively easy compared to many other pursuits. Here are a few tips for getting into the gardening game:
- Start with a small space and choose veggies and herbs you like to eat.
- Position your new garden in a spot with at least six hours of daylight - close to a hose spigot or rain barrel.
- Start with Burpee plants versus seeds to speed up the process and ensure viable plants.
- Plant in the ground and in large containers depending on the varieties you choose.
- Build a raised bed and fill it with good soil so you have better control of your garden environment.