Top 10 Reasons for Growing Vegetables

June 12, 2007

I received an e-mail from a fellow gardening blogger who expressed a little frustration that the majority of gardening sites on the Internet are geared towards ornamental plants as opposed to providing tips and information on growing organic vegetables and fruits.

Okra Blossom.thumbnail Top 10 Reasons for Growing VegetablesThe same applies to local garden centers where the focus is also slanted towards landscape plants and flowers rather than vegetables and fruits. Fortunately there’s no rule that says a backyard veggie garden can’t be both ornamental and edible.

My passion has always been for growing vegetables and creating attractive gardens that also yielded delicious produce. In that light here’s my Top Ten List of Reasons for Growing Vegetables rather than purely ornamentals in the backyard garden and landscape:

1.Vegetables Have Flowers Too – Some striking and beautiful flowers can be found blooming in the midst of the vegetable patch. Ever see an exotic looking okra flower? How about a gigantic globe artichoke left to form a flower head? Even hummingbirds can’t resist the bright blossoms of climbing runner beans. And guess where those hybridized sunflowers got their start… in a vegetable garden!

2.Vegetable Gardening is Healthier – Sure planting any type of garden will provide you with the benefits of exercise and fresh air, but growing your own fresh organic vegetables will also supply you with nutritious produce that is loaded with vitamins and nutrients that you just won’t get from looking at even the most attractive landscape.

3.Edible Gardens are Picture Perfect – If you believe that a vegetable garden has to be an eyesore think again. Blueberry Bushes, Rainbow Chards, Palm Kales, and Nasturtiums are just a sample of the many edible plants that love posing for the cameras. A veggie garden can be designed to offer just as much beauty, color, variety, and interest to your landscape as any ornamental-only garden.

4.Vegetables are HistoricalHeirloom vegetables have been treasured and passed down for centuries, and come to us with fascinating histories. Fruit trees grown by presidents, seeds so precious that they were smuggled, a tomato plant famous for paying off a mortgage. There are good reasons heirlooms were so cherished, and there are many interesting stories to be gleaned from the heirloom vegetable garden.

5.Growing Veggies Will Make You Wealthy – Okay, I’ll admit this one’s a stretch, but a vegetable garden will definitely help to slash those costly grocery bills. Besides, if the prices of organic produce continue to rise and food safety issues persist, maybe one day you will be able to turn that backyard vegetable factory into a real money maker.

6.Vegetable Gardens are Versatile – Whether you call it a Kitchen Garden, an Ornamental Edible Garden, French Intensive Garden, or whatever name you use to describe it, a simple vegetable patch can incorporate all manner of vegetation from fruits and vegetables, to herbs, flowers, and even a few edible weeds all growing together on common ground.

7.Vegetable Gardeners Have More Friends – Don’t believe it, just let word slip out that you have an abundance of vine-ripened gourmet tomatoes, juicy homegrown melons, fresh ears of sweet corn, or other delicious gourmet treats growing right in your backyard and your popularity is guaranteed to rise.

8.Growing Vegetables Fosters Creativity – Plant a vegetable garden and you’ll be amazed at your ability to come up with new ideas for preparing loads of fresh produce. After all, how do you think that inventions such as zucchini bread were created, or that rhubarb and strawberries happened to find their way together into a wide assortment of desserts?

9.Cultivating Independence – Your vegetable garden won’t necessarily make you self-sufficient, but it’s nice to know that your own two hands can put food on the table, reduce your dependency on produce from that mega-supermarket, and provide gourmet quality fruits and vegetables for your family’s enjoyment.

10.Ornamental Veggie Gardeners are Smarter – If you buy into what you’ve read so far, then you won’t dispute the fact that its a pretty clever gardener who cultivates a garden that is both brilliantly ornamental and provides delicious and nutritious produce for admirers to savor in the garden as well as the kitchen!

Ornamental Vegetable Garden.thumbnail Top 10 Reasons for Growing VegetablesThat’s my Top 10 list to promote the inclusion of vegetables and edible plants in every garden, feel free to add your own reasons for cultivating vegetables in the garden. Thanks to Marc over at VeggieGardenInfo.com for providing the inspiration for this post.





Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Genie June 13, 2007 at 10:57 pm

Kenny, I love the list! It’s really thoughtful and well put-together. Great stuff. I’ll keep it in mind when people ask me why I pretty much only grow veggies…

Divaqs June 14, 2007 at 12:50 pm

This is a topic I am passionate about. Thank you for the reminder on the reasons I do edible landscaping.

Christa June 15, 2007 at 9:56 am

Great list! It’s been such a joy for me to discover #1 in particular – “Vegetables Have Flowers Too.” This spring I discovered what arugula flowers look like. They are stunning in their simplicity. I love red cabbage and onion flowers, too.

Michelle June 15, 2007 at 10:59 am

This is a great list and is only reinforcing my reasons for being out there! You could also add that veggie gardening also qualifies you as an amateur entemologist!

ziggywigs June 17, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Great post… really thought provoking. I grow vegs on their own and mixed in my ornamental beds. Really enjoyed your blog.

Kenny Point June 18, 2007 at 9:46 pm

Genie, just tell them that you’re a genius :)! Christa, there are some great photos of a few vegetable flowers posted over at Calendula and Concrete that you may find interesting. Hey Michelle, that word isn’t even in the dictionary, I think your spelling is a little buggy :)!

Robinson June 21, 2007 at 2:07 pm

The okra picture is beautiful. I am growing it this year and haven’t had a bud yet, so now I have even more to look forward to. Like Christa, I too discovered what arugula flowers look like after discovering that my family doesn’t really like arugula!

Emma June 27, 2007 at 3:04 pm

I really enjoyed your list! I’m not so good at the trackback method, but I did mention your article here.

You’re an inspriation to the home gardener! I hope my garden can be as fruitful as yours!

green organic food December 8, 2008 at 1:46 pm

To be honest not everyone can grow own organic food, but if you can and do that then it is more then helpful for them.
You gave great info for those who want to grow own vegetables, i myself have blog around organic food and how to grow own food, you can visit it green organic food

peio revuelta February 19, 2010 at 7:36 pm

I live in a village and work in agriculturing. We produce vegetables in our farms and i try to read everything
about them. This information is very useful for me and i also found another useful guide about vegetables;

http://agricultureguide.org

Albert April 1, 2010 at 4:06 am

Kenneth I am impressed with your blog. Recently I started growing my own tomatoes, and I am sure that I have still a long way to go.
Greatings from the Netherlands

plant vegetables April 12, 2011 at 12:28 am

Planting vegetables is my passion. Thanks for a very interesting article. I hope other people out there will also be motivated to plant veggies.

Christine V April 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm

My husband and I are gardeners for a long time. We have tried a variety of vegetables and still have a problem with beets. They are typically very small and somewhat tough despite miracle grow and decent plant spacing. Any tips?

Kenny Point April 15, 2011 at 10:14 am

Hi Christine, what variety of beets are you growing and when do you sow your seed? I would try some different varieties and maybe adjust the timing of when the seed is planted. My favorite beet is called “Lutz Green Leaf” or “Long Seasons.” This heirloom variety can grow over a long season and does not get tough even when it grows to enormous sizes… try it!

Dean Moen September 20, 2011 at 8:34 am

Great article, I have been slowly replacing much of our flowering garden areas with vegetables. Even our pots in are front yard are now filled with tomato and pepper plants. A wide variety of peppers are quite nice to look at and are great to eat. I love to travel around the yard and nibble on my tasting vegetables.

Sarah October 10, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Whoa, I don’t think I’d have ever thought of a few of these tips on my own. Especially that third one, that’s really ingenious! . I’m going to have to start doing some of these!

Cheers!

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