Growing your own food is not just a hobby, it’s an investment. You are investing in future food supplies, in nature, in sustainability, your health, and in your soil. You can save yourself a lot of money by growing a tropical edible garden, and you’ll be helping the planet at the same time. Lets look at some of the great benefits of growing your own food in the tropics, or anywhere!
So Many Advantages of Growing Your Own Food!
When you buy vegetables from the store they are often shipped thousands of miles which means huge fuel consumption. Those vegetables have to be stored in coolers and are treated with pesticides and preservatives. They can never be as fresh as home-grown.
It takes so much water to grow these crops in industrial monocultures too. In our gardens, we can do as much as we can to trap rainwater and lock it in to the soil. We can even use some of our domestic greywater to irrigate, so long as we use the right products for washing.
When you plant them yourself, your veggies will taste better because there’s no need for all those chemicals. If your soil is good your homegrown food will also be more nutrient-dense. This boosts flavour too, as does freshness.
Plus, who doesn’t love getting their hands dirty? It keeps you fit and agile and gets you out in nature.
Growing your own food is a great way to save money, help the environment, reduce waste, and boost the mind and body through connecting with seasons and cycles. A bit of sunshine is good for our Vitamin D levels and mental health.
With the rising cost of fresh produce and lack of availability, growing edible tropical plants has become more important than ever before. I’m going to share with you some reasons to grow your own tropical fruits and vegetables at home!
Advantages of Growing Fruits and Vegetables at Home
A list of benefits of growing your own food and edible gardening.
- Gardening is an easy, active, creative, beneficial pastime.
- Regenerative gardening helps restore wildlife, nature and soil.
- Planting food trees in your garden can help create a natural barrier from the sun, shade reduces water evaporation and keeps your environment cooler.
- Growing your own food can be made cheaper than buying it at the grocery store.
- Keeping a grass lawn neat and green can be just as much work as growing fruit and veg. It uses more water and negatively affects local ecology too.
- If you have 5 minutes every day, this should be plenty of time to start gardening. Gardening does not have to take up much time.
- Gardening can save you a lot of money with little initial cost. If you have soil, you could plant a seed from food you bought from the store, right now, it would be free!
- There is no need to buy expensive raised beds if you don’t want to. You can start gardening using materials you can get for free. You could create beds edged with branches, rocks, or a simple shallow trench.
- Garnening can be a very inexpensive hobby, or you can spend a fortune on all the latest gadgets, which can be fun!
- Gardening is a great way to spend time with friends and family, especially for kids who love getting their hands dirty.
- You are likely to find an enthusiastic and friendly gardening group or club nearby. You’ll make new friends of all ages.
- Gardening can be a gentle, or active, workout.
- You can save on money by growing the fruits and vegetables that you typically buy at the store.
- In the tropics, many plants produce year-round. Your garden becomes your pantry and no more gas-burning trips to the supermarket for a missing ingredient.
- Fewer shopping trips reduces your carbon footprint and need for a car. It also saves you time.
- Your food doesn’t come wrapped in plastic. We all know plastic is bad, right?
- Your food will be super fresh, thus containing more nutrients.
- It’s easy to grow healthy produce if you know what plants are best suited for different climates, soils, aspects, and time of year. But certain plants, for instance pumpkins, are super easy. Plant a seed now!
- The benefits of eating organic fruits and vegetables outweigh most negative aspects of gardening or home ownership. Be aware that soils can be contaminated with lead, arsenic and other toxins because of previous misuse. The good news is, you can get a free soil test to check for this if you are worried. Or you can grow in containers!
- As you garden, year after year, your soil should improve and your edible garden will become more and more productive.
- If you’re growing in pots you’ll need to ammend container soil, this can be done with home-made fertilisers and compost, created out of waste, costing you nothing.
- You can grow many fruits and vegetables year-round in the tropics.
- The climate of the tropics means that you don’t need to worry about frost or extreme weather conditions
- Tropical plants are more resistant to pests, diseases, and drought if they are healthy and your soil is good.
- Further hinder pests by growing a variety of different plants in a crazy jumble of variety. Plants like being around other plants.
- You can grow a very significant amount of food in a suburban back yard or even on a balcony or terrace.
- If you’re short of space, increase growing space through vertical gardening containers, there are plenty of options available.
- There’s no need for pesticides or weed killers in your home food garden, your food from the store will have been treated. We know what’s on home-grown plants!
- If you’re not sure what to plant where, there are plenty of tropical planting charts, tips, and advice available online from gardening experts who have grown food in these climates before.
- If the gardening know-how somehow skipped your generation, get it back. Be the one to pass gardening skills on to the next generation of kids.
- Even a single pot on a balcony can yield a year-round supply of small fruits or vegetables. Chillies or herbs are a good place to start.
- If your soil is bad, start building it now with mulch and organic matter.
- Most of your kitchen waste can become compost or food for worms. Buy a counter-top compost bin and save everything compostable. Less waste will go to landfill.
- As well as simple fruits, fresh herbs, and vegetables, you can grow protein and carbohydrate rich produce like lentils, beans, and nuts. You could even make your own flour.
- If there was any kind of crisis, you will have a supply of food and vitamins.
- Add chickens or other egg-laying birds to your garden to help with composting, pest elimination, and a healthy supply of nutrient-dense eggs. Garden free -range organic eggs will likely be higher in Vitamin D and Omega 3 (good) fats than store-bought. Plus you’ll know your hens were kept with love, not cruelty.
- An abundant harvest can fill your pantry shelves and freezer. You can dry produce, ferment, pickle, and make jams and chutneys. Home made tastes way better than store-bought and you know what’s in it!
- If you love pretty things, your tropical food garden can be made even more beautiful by interspersing flowers. Some flowers, for instance marigolds, are said to be great companion plants, protecting tomatoes from nematodes. Flowers also attract pollinators.
- Worried about declining bee numbers? Plant flowers bees love. Thai basil is an excellent permaculture plant for bees, that’s delicious too! If you have no bees, maybe because of spraying nearby, some plants, like tomatoes, don’t need them for pollination. You could even keep your own bees for honey.
- You will fully engage your brain in learning to be a gardener. It’ll help keep you sharp and your mind busy.
Are There Any Negatives To Growing Your Own Food?
Yes, there are a few drawbacks to growing your own food. There is a possibility of soil contamination, but you can get this checked. There is also a slight risk of encountering pathogens in soil, animal droppings, or on home-grown produce.
You could possibly injure yourself gardening or meet venomous wildlife or toxic plants. You could also be struck by lightning! There is a chance you’ll lose some of your harvest to birds, bats, or pests. You could even have your produce stolen. But really, these negatives are small compared to the advantages growing food and gardening for pleasure bring.
The benefits of growing your own food are immense. It’s a gift to the world to plant trees and nurture soil, it will benefit you, your neighbourhood, your children, and extended family. Just start. You’ll get better year by year and what better place than the tropics?