The benefits of vegetable gardening may outweigh the convenience of produce shopping, because it is often healthier and more cost-efficient to grow your own vegetables. Your own methods of gardening may increase or decrease the level of various benefits, but the ability to choose your own approach is yet another advantage of vegetable gardening.
The University of Missouri Extension notes that a $50 investment in gardening supplies, such as seeds and tools, can produce up to $1,200 worth of vegetables. Reduce the cost in subsequent years by harvesting and storing seeds from heirloom plants rather than purchasing new seeds and starter plants. Compost and recycled yard waste provide mulch and nutrients to plants, too, so it's not always necessary to purchase additional gardening materials.
A home vegetable garden can reduce concerns over pesticides and food-borne illnesses, because the gardener directly controls production and chemical use. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that pesticides may pose additional risks to children, so an organic vegetable garden may be of additional interest to parents. This further reduces household food costs if you typically purchase organic produce.
Freshly picked vegetables typically contain higher nutrient levels than those on the shelves because, according to food and nutrition specialist Sandra Bastin, Ph.D., vegetables undergo nutrient loss from the moment they leave the plant until the time you consume them. Exercise is an additional health benefit of gardening, as CBS reported that some gardening activities could help you burn up to 350 calories per 30 minutes.
SustainableTable.org notes that whole food consumption generally decreases fossil fuel use from transport, storage and processing. By growing your own vegetables, you reduce your use of packaging materials, such as plastics, and can reuse storage materials, such as canning jars. Add plant waste and garden weeds to your compost pile for yard and household waste reduction.
Profit and Community Involvement
A community vegetable garden may benefit those who do not have the time or resources to maintain a home vegetable garden. The University of Missouri Extension notes that members share the costs and workload so that everyone benefits from locally grown vegetables. Gardeners with a knack for vegetable gardening may consider joining a community farmer's market to profit from their yield, as well.