Why You Should Grow Your Own Food and How to Get Started

Reader Contribution by Candi Johns


I swear, I spend half my life fighting bugs and diseases in my garden and the other half being mad about it.

Why oh why do I torture myself so?

Why don’t I just go to Kroger?

They don’t have bugs or diseases, and the food is already picked and washed.

What is wrong with me?

I want clean food. That’s why.

Even if the label says “organic” it can still be a little daunting and confusing. Really. There are dilutions and even some formulas that have been “approved” for use on organic crops. So, how can I know if my food is really chemical-free? How can I know that it doesn’t contain things I don’t want to be eating?

I can grow it myself!  

And, trust me on this one,  if I can do it — you can too!

Whether you put in a small kitchen garden, grow a tomato plant in a pot on your porch, or till up a half an acre — you will be enjoying a more sustainable, clean lifestyle.

Some benefits from growing your own food: 

1. It’s fun! I like my garden, I like watching food grow. I enjoy harvesting the fruits of my labor, and better still, feeding them to my family. I also like the new challenges that present themselves daily & trying to find solutions.  

2. Fresh air. During Spring and Summer I’m outside all the time. Having a garden or a few plants to tend to will encourage you to stroll outside and check on it regularly. it will keep you moving.  

3. Growing your own food will provide many teaching opportunities for children or grandchildren. They will love to help “play” in the dirt. They will learn how food grows. Additionally to the real-life, science lessons, children can also learn responsibility by helping in a garden.  

4. I don’t want to diet. This is perhaps the biggest factor to why I grow a garden every year. I don’t want to die at age 55 and I don’t want to be panicking about everything I eat. If I grew it, I know it is good for me to eat.  

How to get started with a simple garden

Pick out the Right Spot

All you need is dirt and sun. If the ground is clay or rocks — it probably won’t grow food. If the spot is in the shade most of the day — it’s going to be tough. Be sure use use some good soil and pick a sunny spot.  

If your dirt is questionable, simply add some eggshells, coffee grinds and compost into the hole with your baby plants.  

To Raise or Not to Raise

No, you don’t have to spend a weekend building raised beds and filling them with dirt. You can simply till up a patch of earth and plant it. Yay! Simplicity! I prefer turning the ground with a shovel instead of a tiller. A small plot can be turned by hand in a couple of ours and you can plant it immediately.

Don’t Walk on The Plants

Be sure to make your little garden area small enough that you can reach to all your plants without stomping on all those precious roots. Tomatoes don’t like compacted soil (neither do squash, peppers or onions). 

Start Small

It is always best to start with a manageable-sized garden and grow from there. A small garden that you can keep weed-free and harvested is a blessing. A half-acre of weeds and Johnson grass is a nightmare. If you decided to expand your garden it will be easy. Starting small will prevent your garden from being a burden.  

Believe it or not, growing the food we eat is not much work at all. Perhaps the reason for this is because I find working in the garden to be more “fun” than “work”. 

I know it would be much easier to just go to the grocery, but I’m still going to grow my food. The grocery may be simpler, but I think growing it myself is worth the sacrifice. The garden provides us with exercise, healthy food and joy!



  • Published on Apr 13, 2016
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