Health concerns over chemicals and climate change have caused several people, especially millennials, to change their lifestyles drastically. If you are a fellow millennial who is here because they want to limit their carbon footprint and consume fewer chemicals, you’re in the right place.
Growing your food is one of the initial few steps you can take to make your lifestyle sustainable. However, the concept is new to our generation, and there is nothing wrong with seeking guidance. I have prepared a short beginner’s guide for those of you shifting to homegrown food to help make your first harvest a raging success!
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Benefits of Growing Your Food
Growing your food takes effort, but it has extensive benefits. Before we get to the tips, I want to briefly discuss the benefits of homegrown food to keep your resolve from swaying.
1. Keeps You Active
Growing your food will indirectly help you adopt an active lifestyle and keep you in shape. The process is physically demanding. You will need to train to be strong enough to carry heavy compost bags, spend a few hours at least sowing seeds, caring for plants, harvesting, etc.
Everything will be all the more taxing during summers when you have to endure heat and humidity to ensure your plants remain healthy.
Setting everything up will be a little expensive initially, but growing your food is affordable in the long run. You will avoid medical costs due to indirect pesticide consumption, eat more nutritionally packed and fresh fruits and vegetables, and save the cost of buying everything you are growing at home.
While you will incur expenses for the growing process, they will be a fraction of the amount you have to spend annually.
3. Environmentally Friendly
Transportation is a significant part of the logistics for mass-produced agricultural products, and it poses a threat to the environment due to the heavy usage of fossil fuels. Your decision to eat homegrown vegetables helps you reduce your contribution to this unsustainable practice.
Commercial farming pesticides also disrupt the natural soil composition and nutritional content, which makes it environmentally unfriendly. This practice is another reason why your choice is easier on the soil.
4. Great Source of Vitamin D
Laboring in the sun for several hours a day is taxing; however, you will be absorbing copious amounts of Vitamin D, which is a vitamin several of us are deficient in due to our lifestyles. So, you will have strong bones since all the calcium you consume will ultimately be absorbed.
Tips for Growing Your Food
I am confident that I have made a strong case for growing your food, and you are already looking forward to the critical part. Without further ado, let’s look at some of the tips for growing your food to keep you in the best shape.
1. Begin with Simple Fruits or Vegetables
Instead of opting for something complicated, start your garden with vegetables that are the easiest to grow. Some amazing easy-to-grow options are:
- Green Beans
There are others, but these eight variants should suffice for the time being. They are also great to work with because growing them will help you become accustomed to things before shifting to more complex vegetables.
2. Choose a Sunny Spot for Planting
Plants need tons of sunlight to grow, so choose the sunniest part of your home to start your garden of homegrown fruits and vegetables. If you live in an apartment, check out the sun situation on your balcony and make sure you have enough space for growing a few options.
If not, choose food products that you can grow in pots, like mandarins, pomegranates, tomatoes, chilies, etc. Just make sure your little garden has enough sun to keep it growing at a healthy rate.
3. Watch out for Water Saturation
While plants need to be hydrated, there is such a thing as too much water. Different plants require different levels of water to grow properly. Ensure you have researched how much water your chosen plants need and take care to provide regulated amounts.
Watering plants excessively will make the soil reach a saturation point, and they will start dying because of excess water levels. You can also check out this article for more comprehensive details on watering requirements.
4. Use Food Waste as Natural Fertilizer for Soil
The best part about growing your food is that you can also use certain types of food waste as fertilizer. Those banana and mandarin peels, apple and zucchini skins, etc., are a rich source of nutrition when they decompose within the soil.
Read up on what elements your food waste contains and put the peels in the relevant soil instead of throwing them in the bin.
5. Mind the Seasons
Since you are likely keeping things organic, remember that some fruits and vegetables are seasonal. For example, you should plant oranges in early spring, after the frost has melted away. They will be ready for picking by December (or later, depending on the type of orange).
Similarly, strawberries are a summer fruit. They are planted in winters and are ready for harvesting in the summers. Since you will be operating with seasonal planting cycles, you will also need to schedule your vacations accordingly.
6. Use High-Quality Seeds
Always use the best quality seeds you can find for your home garden. They are the best raw material to ensure your plants start strong, bear better fruit, and grow into sturdy plants. You can later use the seeds you collect from the harvested fruits and vegetables, but your initial seeds should be of premium quality. I personally love the Heirloom range available on Amazon, but you can look up your preferred options when purchasing.
7. Watch Out for Pests
Lastly, you will need to find alternative remedies to keep pests from eating up your hard work. Neem Oil spray is effective against several insects, but you will need more advanced mechanics if you want to keep rabbits away from your carrots.
In a Nutshell
Growing your food to shift to a more sustainable lifestyle is one of the best decisions you can make. You will be able to grow your food supply to some extent and enjoy more nutritionally balanced and fresh raw materials for all the meals you cook.