Six Reasons for a Backyard-Vegetable-Garden

Working in your backyard-vegetable-garden is great exercise and provides an opportunity to enjoy nature. It provides a great diversion from the day to day pressure and stress of your real job or the financial pressure of retirement in this troubling economy. So why would we want to have a backyard vegetable garden as a retirement hobby? The following are my reasons and motivation.

Six reasons to make a backyard-vegetable-garden your hobby:

  1. Planting and tending a garden is a spiritual and peaceful experience. It enhances your connection to God. We have a large decorative stone in our flower garden that is inscribed with “To cultivate a garden is to walk with God.”
  2. Planting and tending a garden is a great hobby that can help you manage the stress in your life. It can provide a sense of purpose and help take the attention off yourself and your problems.
  3. Tending to a backyard garden is a great way to get some healthy physical exercise. Planting and keeping your garden free of weeds can burn a lot of calories and importantly keep you off the couch. If you haven’t been physically active start off slowly.
  4. Managing your backyard garden also provides some needed mental stimulation and exercise to keep your brain young. You will need to decide what to plant, how to stagger your crops, how to control vegetable eating critters without using chemicals, and so forth.
  5. Your garden can be a source of fresh healthy, organic and nutritious vegetables.
  6. Tending your garden can be a meaningful social experience by including members of your family in the process and by joining with your friends and neighbors in working both your garden and theirs.

My first experience with container gardening was in South Bend, Indiana. In 1987 I accepted a new job in South Bend and purchased a suburban home from an architect. This home had a backyard garden that consisted of eight containers in two rows of four each with poured concrete walkways between each container. Each container was 2 feet wide by 3 feet long. It was quite an elaborate set-up that provided us with a lot of satisfaction as well as fresh vegetables each summer that we were there.

Our garden was located in a part of the yard that got plenty of sunshine. The best location should provide good drainage and six to eight hours of sunshine per day. A trellis was located on one end for our pole beans. That garden provided us with tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, green bell peppers, hot peppers, and sweet potatoes.

My wife canned green beans and tomatoes. We had a lot of green beans including both blue lake bush beans and Kentucky wonder pole beans. We were able to trade some of our beans for fresh corn from our neighbor's garden. That trading evolved into an annual neighborhood chicken cook-out garnished with vegetables from our back yard gardens.

Based on our experience at our former home in South Bend and everything that I have read recently, container gardening is the way to go for a backyard-vegetable-garden. This can be as little as one or two patio flower pots for tomato plants up to one or more raised 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 12 inch deep or larger containers in your back yard. At this point, I would like to recommend a great how to book for you to start with. It is “The Vegetable Gardener’s BIBLE” by Edward C Smith.

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In the end it's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Abraham  Lincoln

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