With the overwhelming resistance to labeling GMO foods, and shady trade agreements between the US, Europe, and Asia, producing your own vegetables is becoming more than just a passing trend. Growing your own vegetables can improve the overall health of your body and wallet, alike.
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When you buy vegetables from the store, you risk eating pesticides that have been sprayed onto them during growth. In fact, even “USDA Organic” labeled fruits and vegetables alike, are both still sprayed with pesticides. The USDA Organic label simply means that there were no “Synthetic Pesticides” used while growing said fruits or veggies. There are often local farmers that grow legitimately organic foods without any pesticides at all making them much healthier. Though farmers markets can often save you money on veggies, it’s still much cheaper to grow your own. And when you grow your own vegetables you know exactly where they came from and can be assured they are pesticide and chemical free. According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are on average 29 pesticides commonly found in the human body. And Consumer Reports claims “Studies have linked long-term pesticide exposure in this group to increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; prostate, ovarian, and other cancers; depression; and respiratory problems”.
One of the most important benefits of growing your own veggies at home is that when the zombie apocalypse finally happens, you can PRODUCE (see what I did there?) your own food. Though this is actually very unlikely to occur, it’s nice to know you aren’t totally screwed in an emergency situation if you have access to seeds and water anyway. Zombie apocalypse aside, growing your own food can feel very rewarding.
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So just how cost effective is growing your own veggies? Investopedia reports “While the risk involved with the pursuit of gardening can sometimes lead to a total or significant loss to your initial investment, the National Gardening Association still concludes that the average gardening household in 2009 experienced a $530 return on their average $70 investment to garden”. That’s a pretty sweet return, considering here in Texas $70 will only get me about 4 weeks worth of vegetables.
Don’t know where to start? Go to your local Home Depot or Lowes and go to the gardening section. They’ll likely have seeds you can purchase or plants already started, and sometimes a knowledgeable employee that can answer your questions. The internet is your best bet as far as instructional information on planting, and maintaining your personal vegetable garden. Some good beginner plants to consider growing are lettuce, bell peppers, tomatoes, squash, broccoli, and cucumbers. These are all semi-low maintenance plants that can be grown year round, and continually harvested. Aside from veggies, most common kitchen herbs are fairly easy to grow as well. There are many types of plants that grow better in specific climates, so do a bit of digging on the web and find out what grows best where you live for better results. If you decide you really enjoy growing your own veggies, you should consider crossbreeding. Crossbreeding vegetables can yield some pretty trippy, yet interesting, results. Can’t decide if you want brussel sprouts or kale? Grow some Kalettes, a cross of the two. There are plenty of trippy vegetables to grow in your garden like broccoflower (the name speaks for itself), and my personal favorite, the tomato plant, that grows tomatoes on the vine and potatoes in the roots.
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Next time you go shopping at your local supermarket consider how much money you’d save after just a year of growing your own veggies. Consider the potential health risks involved with public produce. Save your body from all the chemicals and pesticides and start your own garden today!