Now that the days are longer and the weather is brighter here in the UK, I’ve been spending time in the garden beginning to sow my veg for the year. I’ve already written about how to make gardening as pain free and do-able as possible for those of us living with fibromyalgia. So, for those who are able to get out into the fresh air, it’s a great way to enjoy outdoor space. Here are some of the benefits of growing your own produce.
1 – You can save money
Certain vegetables like potatoes or carrots aren’t expensive to buy in the shops so you won’t necessarily save, but in general, if you can grow vegetables from seed, then it can be very economical. Growing salad leaves and herbs, especially, can save a lot of money as they can be quite expensive to buy, don’t have a long shelf life, so can often end up being thrown away. Growing your own means that you can pick just what you need when you need it, and leave the rest to grow for picking at a later date. Another plus point with salad leaves and herbs is that it’s so easy to grow them in a container, on a balcony or even in pots on the windowsill if you don’t have any outdoor space.
2 – They taste better than shop bought
It’s often said that home grown veg tastes so much better and fresher than shop bought especially as you can harvest what you need just prior to cooking and eating, so it will be as fresh as possible. Personally, I’d say that the taste benefits are most noticeable on tomatoes – a home grown tomato is so delicious and full of flavour compared to the often bland offerings on sale in the shops.
3 – You can develop new skills
There is always more to learn about growing veg and new things to try. Developing new skills and learning can help to boost self esteem, something that can nosedive if you are struggling with chronic illness. It feels great when you’re able to harvest what you have grown from scratch and likewise, sharing knowledge with others on their veg growing journey can give a real boost too.
4 – There are loads of mental health benefits
Planting seeds and caring for plants can serve to give a real sense of purpose, a focus outside of ourselves and illness which, in turn, can boost our mental health. Growing veg can also provide feelings of accomplishment when we’re successful and manage to grow something we can eat.
Being outdoors in the fresh air is useful as a fibromyalgia management tool in several ways. Becoming engrossed in gardening of any type can help lessen feelings of anxiety and stress and is great as a form of gentle exercise too.
Now that spring is here, it’s the perfect time to make a start growing your own vegetables. Begin now and in a few weeks, you could be tucking into veg that you have grown, and once you’ve started, you may even find that it becomes slightly addictive. I know I have 🙂