We get frequent visitors to our organic terrace garden. Most of them get inspired to start their own kitchen gardens. But as it turns out a very few actually start and even a fewer continue it. Generally the reason for not continuing is because of failures in the garden. And that could be because all things to be considered before starting an organic terrace garden has not been thought out or because they are not doing the basics of container gardening right. But the reason of not starting at all is because most people do not understand the Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening well enough. Only when people are able to appreciate the advantages and usefulness of a kitchen garden for individual, family, society and the environment, they consider starting their own terrace garden very seriously. It’s the WHY behind organic terrace gardening and not HOW that becomes the real motivating factor. In this post I’ll talk about why you should start your kitchen garden by giving the Top 10 Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening.
Gives you and your family true nutrition
Vegetables and Fruits continue to ‘breathe’ even after harvesting. This process is called respiration and a significant part of the vegetable’s nutrients get lost in this process because carbohydrates, proteins etc continue to be broken down. While a few vegetables take a little longer to lose their nutrients, some spinach varieties can lose about 90% of their nutrient value within a day. Yes within a day; Less than the minimum time it takes for vegetables to reach you from the farms after harvest. Moreover vegetables will have nutrients in them only if the soil on which they were grown had those essential nutrients. Most often than not the store bought vegetables are grown on a sub standard soil using inorganic fertilizers. Hence such produce lack in essential nutrients.
You get true nutrition from vegetables only when they are grown on healthy and wholesome soil and when you consume them as soon as they are picked. And this is possible if you are growing you vegetable as close to your kitchen using a rich potting mix; That is in your own organic terrace garden using organic soil enhancers like compost and oil cakes.
Ensures your food is free of poison
You can not just escape from pesticide drenched vegetables in urban life. As fertility of soil is on a land slide due to use of chemical fertilizers, plants are getting weaker every day. Hence pests and insects are able to easily attack such plants. To save the crop the farmer uses pesticides, which further deteriorates the soil, weakens the plant. And thus a vicious circle is created.
Traces of poisonous pesticides are found on almost all vegetables available in market today. Even when you buy organic vegetables they still could have traces of pesticides as they are not immune to the pesticides carried by air and water from neighbouring fields. State of Punjab in India has been at the forefront of wheat production. But they have been using chemical fertilizers and pesticides for a long time now, which has caused a increase in cancer rates in this state.
One of the top ten Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening is that you’ll be able to avoid such poison laden vegetables and fruits for your daily consumption to a great extent.
You enjoy better tasting vegetables
It’s a very well known fact that vegetables grown organically taste much better. Because they are grown in a natural way they are bound to taste better. Not only they taste better, their texture and structure is also superior. They are fleshier, sweeter, more flavorful and take much less time to cook. Most of the vegetables can also be eaten raw to get maximum nutritional benefit.
Brings Family Together
One of the intangible yet important Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening is family bonding. Gardening is a great way to spend quality time with your family. It’s a fun and healthy activity for children. Working with nature and family together is very rewarding and makes the family bonding stronger. Just make sure that children are given tasks in the garden that suits their age and physical capabilities. Block some time everyday or 3-4 times a week to spend with your family doing gardening activities. Clearly divide the tasks so that children don’t end up hurting themselves by accident.
Provides important education in subtle manner
There is no better way to learn than from nature. Not only you yourself learn a lot about nature when growing food, your kids also learn a lot from the garden. They learn about nature and science. They also learn about virtues like patience, responsibility and conservation of resources. They get to understand where their food comes from. They learn about life and how to nurture it. They also learn about death and the cyclic nature of things. They develop respect for nature and become better at planning and organizing. They also learn about the value of food and waste less of it. By eating their hand grown food, they develop healthy habits of eating nutritional food and home cooked food. And the best part is that it takes them away from TV and phones and closer to nature. And that according to me is one of the important Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening.
Organic container gardening is based on the philosophy of conservation. A composting unit is an integral part of a sizable organic terrace garden. All waste generated from your kitchen goes to this composting unit, which in turn goes back to your plants. This completes the cycle. This process of conserving food waste also put less pressure on the municipality waste disposal system. Most time waste from cities is just dumped in the outskirts of the city, which pollutes the soil, air and water. When you recycle your waste back into your garden not only you have made waste useful, you have also done your bit towards the environment.
Moreover when we buy from the store we are sometimes forced to buy more than what we need. For example you may have to buy a whole bunch of cilantro, though your requirement may be just a few leaves and stalks. The other part goes waste. When you have your own kitchen garden you take only how much you need. Conservation of food is one of the hidden Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening.
To start with growing your own food may seem a costly affair. Yes, there will be costs incurred to get the containers, soil, compost, seeds etc. But most of these expenditures are done only once in the life cycle of your garden. The only real expenditure you’ll be incurring on a regular basis in your garden is for seeds and watering. If you grow only open pollinated varieties then you can do seed saving and will not have to spend any money on seeds too. Nature does not charge any money to do its job and when you show respect to nature it rewards you with its bounty. So in effect you actually get your food for free from nature. And when you don’t have to go to the store to buy vegetables, you automatically save on travel costs. Eating healthy will result in much less visit to the doctor. Isn’t that a huge saving that you’ll be making?
Improves mental health
Nature plays a very big role in our mental well being. People who are closer to nature tend to have a much more resistance towards different mental disorders. Watching your vegetables germinate, grow and produce fruits is a healing experience and it calms the mind. In fact horticulture therapy is quite extensively used for healing dementia patients. In modern life, which is full of stress, organic terrace gardening is one of the ways to de-stress and center yourself.
Benefits of organic terrace garden extend beyond you and your family.
Plants cut down the carbon dioxide levels in air. Your vegetable garden may be cutting down a very small amount of CO2, but the ocean is nothing but droplets of water put together. Hence your terrace garden also counts in improving the air quality. Chemical based farming, not only deteriorates the soil quality, it also pollutes the air and water. Water pollution thus caused harms marine life and marine ecosystem. Imagine when everyone grows their own food in a natural manner, the demand for these chemical based produce will go down and that again will stop the destruction of our environment.
Keep your home cool
If you are living in a tropical climate then having plants on your roof is a natural way to cool your home. All the plants in your terrace garden will create a micro climate and help to lower the temperature of your home. So while you enjoy the nutrition of fresh home grown food, you also save on you air conditioning bills.
We have imagined a world where everyone grows some amount of food at their homes. I am sure many of the above Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening will inspire you to take it up and thus contributing to your quality of life, the well being of your family, community and mother earth.