Urban Gardening: Planting Your Way to Fitness in the City
Do you know where your food comes from? What processes it has endured before you found it at that supermarket? Or what the storage conditions were before you spent your hard earned money on it?
Less than half of the American population can answer yes to any of these questions. It’s no wonder that obesity and its associated issues are on the rise in our nation. This morning alone, over 90% of Americans will have some form of processed food. Less than 35% will eat any fresh vegetables or fruit.
With the increase in GMO, inorganic and modified foods in the food sector, you cannot really tell what you are eating. The pressure on our resources by the over 7 billion people on earth has made industrial farming become the backbone of our agricultural system.
While this is not exactly a bad thing, tons of research has shown us that it is not the best option either.
Urban gardening is the solution to all these problems. You do not only get fresh produce but can go further and sell any excess produce you have.
In addition to knowing where your food comes from, gardening can be an enjoyable hobby and broaden your knowledge base and relationships.
An even better merit is that gardening will encourage you to cook. Eating food you cook is so much healthier than eating fast food and can solve a lot of your health problems in the long term.
What is urban gardening?
When you walk down the streets of your little town and see how picturesque it looks, your mind never goes to urban gardening. If you take apart the bigger picture bit by bit, you begin to realize that the beauty you see is enhanced by the plants around you.
Urban gardening is the cultivation of plants in or around a village, town or city.
While a lot of people view gardening as a huge undertaking, it does not have to be so. Even a few planters and flower pots can make a huge difference to your lifestyle and wellbeing.
You also do not need as much space as you think. Your walkway, porch, veranda, rooftop balcony or fire escape can serve to hold a few pots.
7 Reasons why you should start your own Urban Garden
There are several reasons why you should start your own urban garden including but not limited to those explained below. Feel free to add a few of your own reasons in the comments section.
- Fresh produce:
This is just about the strongest reason why you should garden. The fresh produce you get from your garden will encourage you to cook your meals yourself. Anybody who can read can cook. Investing in a few beginner cookbooks is also not a bad idea.
Cooking for your family improves the quality of food you eat automatically. Home cooked food in 90% of cases will have less unhealthy sodium and sugar than food bought from fast foods and shops.
- Environmental sustainability:
The environment is in trouble and climate change, oil spills, noise pollution; air pollution, eater pollution, destructive farming practices, etc. have all played a part in putting it there.
A roof top garden on an average sized New York apartment building can absorb up to 2000kg of waste every year. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis. They can also absorb noise and even improve water quality.
The more plants we have in the cities, the cleaner the air will be and the safer the environment will be for our families.
- Improvement in quality of life:
Obviously, a reduction in waste gases and pollution and an increase in eating healthy, green, fresh translate to an increased quality of life and wellbeing.
The recommendation of the world health organization is that adults should eat five servings of fruit and vegetables per day
Thankfully, planting vegetables is one of the easiest things you can do in the city.
- Enjoyable hobby:
Planting and maintaining an urban garden is one of the more enjoyable and healthy hobbies that you can engage in without any stress. Once your garden is set up, you are good to go.
A few minutes a day is usually enough to keep your garden in good shape until you need to harvest.
- Improved fitness:
You cannot outrun a bad diet. In the quest for fitness, the most important component of your lifestyle is your diet. Eating healthy fresh food can provide major benefits for you.
Not only do you get the major nutrients in your produce, but you can be assured that all minor and trace elements are still available as well.
Remember, food is fuel. When you eat right, your wellbeing is just about guaranteed.
- Energy efficiency:
In addition to all the other benefits that you can derive from urban gardens is energy efficiency.
As you continue your journey of gardening, you may find that it is more productive to use kitchen perishable waste as manure for your plants instead of just tossing them in the garbage can.
Also, some waste water can be reused to water your plants. Even scraps and bits left behind after food preparation can be used as the seed for a new crop of plants.
A good example is pineapple. The head of the fruit which is not eaten can serve as seed for the next generation of plants.
- Food Security:
Planting your own garden guarantees you some level of food security. It is also more economical than buying from groceries.
Planting your own potatoes in barrels in any space you have can save you up to one month worth of grocery shopping in a year. Though the savings may not look great today, they sure add up in the long term.
If you do a rough estimate of the costs associated with poor eating habits, you will come to realize that urban gardening is not just a fad but a necessity in these uncertain times.
10 Easy to Plant Options that Are Great for Your Body and Wallet
Your goal is to create a functional and edible garden that will provide you with all these benefits at a reasonable cost with minimal effort.
The easy to grow amazing plants include Beans, Onions and Garlic, Potatoes, Peas, Carrots, Turnips, Radishes, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Eggplants, peppers etc. Luckily, all of these are edible and likely already part of the staples you eat.
While some of these plants do very well in hot weather, others will do better in cooler weather. All of these crops can be grown in planters and plant pots.
All of the vegetables on the list provide a number of vitamins, minerals and cofactors that affect your health.
Eating more vegetables will directly increase the amount of antioxidants your body gets. Phytochemicals are a kind of antioxidant present in vegetables that can protect against many elements and stabilize hormones and enzymes.
Vegetables are also a great source of fiber which can serve to bulk up waste products and slow digestion. As a result of this, your appetite will be suppressed because the food spends a longer time on the body. Furthermore, vegetables contribute to promoting satiety as established by the volumetric studies.
In the same vein, vegetables are low calorie sources of numerous essential nutrients. You can eat just about as much of them as you want and not gain weight (except for really starch root vegetables).
A good tip to keep in mind is that asking the people at the gardening shop in your area for advice is usually of great help. They will be more knowledgeable about the weather and soil in your region and what it is ideal for.
As you start your own urban garden feel free to come back and let us know how it is impacting your lifestyle. While change can be difficult, it is necessary a lot of the time.
Don’t forget to start working out as well. Your body is the vessel for achieving your dreams. Keep it healthy.
Toodles and happy gardening!