why everyone should have a veggie patch!
As a Nutritional Therapist and passionate foodie, knowing where my food comes from is really important. I’m not a great gardener but there’s a real rationale for my little nutrition garden outside the back door – it’s important to our health in so many ways.
Here are my top 7 reasons to get gardening this weekend:
- Gardening is great exercise – we weren’t genetically programmed to drive to the gym and run on a treadmill, but we were designed to be active; gardening is hard work – an hour’s moderate gardening burns as many calories as a swim or bike ride.
- As well as being great exercise, gardening ticks the ‘chill out’ box too – it’s a great stress-buster, and can act as a meditative activity, when we’re caught up in the ‘flow’ of what we’re doing. Gardening also boosts Vitamin D levels through exposure to sunlight, and in doing so raises serotonin levels and mood. It’s no coincidence that people feel better when they garden; connecting with the soil is great for the soul.
- I grow my plants organically so I know exactly what’s on them – and there are no pesticides in my garden! Our environment is toxic enough without me adding more into the food I eat from our garden.
- I grow varieties in the garden that you can’t find in the shops, or that are expensive; varieties with a higher phytonutrient content such as black tomatoes, purple carrots and liver-supportive salad leaves – it’s cost effective (unless like me you buy 50 packets of seeds that there’s no way you’ll ever use).
- I’m maxing out on the nutritional value of what I grow by harvesting and eating or freezing straight away; sweetcorn literally loses some of its nutrient content even in the dash from the veg plot to the back door.
- If children are involved in growing their food, they’re more likely to eat it. I want my kids to taste the difference between supermarket veggies and those from the garden. I need them to understand where food comes from and that it doesn’t magically appear in the supermarket.
- Gardening helps me connect with the seasonality of foods. If I didn’t garden, I’d have no idea that there’s no British broccoli in May, that we can’t eat British asparagus in August, and that tomatoes seriously won’t ripen before July. It guides me towards fresher food choices.
So if you’re not already gardening, give it some thought? It’s never been easier to sow seeds – you can buy seed packets, seed ‘tapes’ and ‘failsafe’ seed ‘pots’ ready to go – or just buy some veggie seedlings online, in the garden centre or even supermarket.
You don’t need a big veggie patch and a couple of patio pots or grow bags can easily give you a crop of strawberries, tomatoes, herbs, salad leaves, courgettes and even potatoes this summer! What’s to lose?
We hope you enjoy this blog post, let us your know thoughts in the comments below or on social media – we’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive a monthly update of our recipes, nutrition tips and expert advice.