Reap the rewards of growing your own produce

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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It’s easy to spend ten minutes picking out a few fresh-looking carrots and a head of cabbage from your local supermarket. Growing your own takes a bit more effort and planning, but the rewards are a better health and far greater sense of satisfaction.

Organic v Non-organic

It’s common knowledge that we should each consume five portions of fruit and veg in our daily diets. Unfortunately, however, not all fruit and veg is made equally, and the largest discrepancy is between the health benefits to be gained from organic versus non-organic produce.

Recent research from the University of Newcastle clearly reveals as much. For one thing, organic food has more of the antioxidant compounds that are linked to better health and lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides. Indeed, the level of highly beneficial antioxidants in organically grown fruit and veg is between 19 and 69 per cent greater than those found in non-organic varieties.

The researchers suggest that organically grown plants produce many of their antioxidant compounds to fight back against pest attacks, so the higher levels in organic crops may result from their lack of protection by chemical sprays.

Personal Growth

But the benefits of developing your own garden and growing your own food are by no means restricted to physical health. The feel-good factor of digging your plots, rows and drills and watching as your own crops flourish under your care is a massive part of why so many love gardening as a past time.

As the great author John McGahern wrote when describing an aging farmer looking out at the life’s work of his land:

‘It was no longer empty but filling with a fresh growth, a faint blue tinge in the rich green of the young grass. To die was never to look on all this again. It would live on in other s eyes but not his. He had never realised when he was in the midst of confident life what an amazing glory he was part of.’ (from Amongst Women)

Frank Bolger

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