Kitchen gardening, or home gardening, is the practice of growing edibles such as fruits, vegetables or herbs at home. Humans have been practicing agriculture since thousands of years, so we definitely have a history of growing food. Having a kitchen garden is like having your personal mini-mart full of edibles that you can choose, grow and eat all by yourself. Besides this, there are many other reasons why kitchen gardening is a worthwhile activity.
1. A Sure-Fire Way To A Healthy Diet
“Humaare zamane mein toh khaalis khauraak milti thi” (We used to get pure food in our time)
Raise your hands if you have heard these, or similar words from your parents or grandparents. Almost all of us have heard the fairy tales of unadulterated food and production that comes straight from the fields. Our elders used to practice what is now called the concept of ‘farm-to-kitchen’ or ‘farm-to-table’. They used to eat simple, fresh food and used to get plenty of exercise doing daily chores in a world without modern luxuries. Growing your own kitchen garden gives you an opportunity to eat food, free from pesticides and other chemicals. Such food is usually called ‘organic’. Since the food is grown by you,it assures that nothing harmful has been used while growing it. Thus it is much healthier than the artificial, genetically modified (GMO) stuff we get from the market.
2. Kitchen Gardening Is Cost-Effective
If you have spent time in foreign countries, you will have an idea of the price difference between conventional and organic food. Organic produce is sold at much higher prices, because it is grown in a much more natural environment. The growth takes time as no catalysts are involved in the making process. However, having your own kitchen garden will give you free access to low-cost organic food. So in a way, you are getting all the health benefits in lower cost than that of the market priced edibles.
3. You can save up on the gym costs
All that digging, pruning, heavy lifting and other tasks associated with maintaining a kitchen garden demands more than a decent physical workout. If done correctly, you can get a proper workout while taking care of your garden. You also get the benefits of increased blood circulation and strength, while soaking up loads of bone-friendly Vitamin D and sunshine.
Just be aware of the weather which can cause you a heatstroke these days.
4. Nature Eliminating Stress
Most people nowadays rarely get a chance to go outdoors. We mostly spend our time with modern appliances, either working or getting entertained. Having a kitchen garden, and having a specific schedule of when to plant seeds, when to water them and how to take care of them will compel you to step outdoors. You can breath fresh air and direct exposure to dirt and plants can help boost your immunity system. Also, working with soil has been found to have stress-reducing qualities. So, your kitchen garden can become a place for rehab where you can always refresh your mind relaxing in your backyard.
5. Sharing Is Caring
Don’t you just love the neighbors or relatives who send you fresh lemons, tomatoes or even chilies from their home-grown plants and trees? Why fresh food tastes a hundred time better than a frozen product in a store?
When you have your own kitchen garden, you can send surplus produce to your loved ones as a way of showing your love. If you’re really successful, you can event set up a stall at some farmer’s market and sell the veggies and fruits you’ve grown.
6. Environmental Advantage
The way things are worsening on the climate end, Mother Nature can use any bit of help she can get. When you plant a kitchen garden, you will not only help yourself but also the environment. Every plant you grow contributes oxygen to your surroundings. You can also use any waste from your kitchen to make a compost bin, thus reducing the waste generated from your home.
7. Farming Is Essentially A Survival Skill
A long time ago, much before industrialization took over the world, most humans grew food for a living. Even today, knowing how to grow your own food counts as a survival skill. If you have knowledge of which foods to plant, how, and in which season, you are less likely to die of hunger. (OK ! that’s a worst- case scenario, but I’m sure you get what I mean)
8. Test Your Creativity
The best thing about planning a kitchen garden is that you don’t even need a garden to grow things in. Most herbs, like coriander, dill, mint, rosemary can grow in pots or even trays. Similarly, many vegetables like chilies, okras/ladyfingers and tomatoes can also be grown in big pots. So you can have your own kitchen garden whether you live in a house, a flat or a bungalow. You just require a space with ample sunlight, water and let your imagination run wild!
Now that we’ve whetted your interest in kitchen gardening, be sure to try your hand at it! There are plenty of informative resources available on the internet, but we recommend checking out Tofiq Pasha and Zahrah Nasir’s writings and programs. Both are horticultural and agricultural experts, environmentalists and great advocates of kitchen gardening.
Hope you have fun planting!