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Monday, March 18, 2013

A Hobby That Can Save Your Life

Image from Flickr, by Southern Foodways Alliance
People love hobbies.  In our modern society, we now have something our ancient ancestors didn't have, and that's free time.  Rather than spend our time and energy just putting together the necessities for survival, we have leisure time that we can devote to a variety of interests.

We have turned this into such things as collecting various things, reading, or various arts and crafts.  However, what would you do if I told you that there was a hobby that could save your life?

Having a vegetable garden actually can.

People need to eat.  Part of any healthy diet will include lots of vegetables.  Even the paleo/primal diet and it's inclusion of various kinds of meat that are normally shunned by other diets calls for piles of vegetables.  You need them, and that's just how it is.

By growing them yourself, you know what's going into the process of growing them.  You have the opportunity to grow them organically at a fraction of the cost of buying them.  However, there are a lot of other advantages to growing your own as well.

First, you have an opportunity to eat food so fresh that it was literally in the ground an hour or so earlier.  You can not get that anywhere else.  Even buying from farmer's markets detaches you more from that aspect.  While the health benefits of doing so is debatable, the reality is that the psychological aspects are a whole different matter.  There is a palpable sense of accomplishment when you eat food that you grew yourself until a short time earlier.

Also, you know for a fact that there are no chemicals or other junk.  While certified organic foods aren't supposed to be sprayed with toxic chemicals, things happen.  Accidents, malicious acts, or outright fraud can all render your hard work in eating organic foods null and void.  If you grow it, the odds of something like that happening reduce significantly.  Not only that, but then you know if something happens and can adjust accordingly.

It's also a great opportunity to grow harder to find vegetables yourself.  For example, maybe you can't find organic asparagus.  I honestly don't recall seeing that myself.  So, grow it yourself.  A 4x8 bed of asparagus can feed your family quite a bit of food.  Also, asparagus is one of those plants that comes back year after year for quite some time.

Another advantage is that you can plant heirloom varieties.  By doing so, you can actually harvest seeds and replant those vegetables year after year without increasing your expenditures.  Not only that, but heirloom varieties tend to have a richer flavor than the genetically modified hybrids you typically find in the grocery store.

Most importantly, maintaining a garden is an enjoyable and therapeutic practice that can involve the whole family.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get to digging, and eat some homegrown veggies this summer!

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