6 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Own Food Indoors

Have you ever been on Youtube or Instagram and see people growing entire supermarkets in their massive backyards?

And they always seem to live in California or another nontemperate area? And it would be nice to grow your own food, but all you have is an apartment (with a patio if you’re lucky), and you don’t have space or the climate?

Don’t worry, I’ve been there.

77% of American households partake in some form of gardening. And more and more people are turning to indoor gardens and growing their own food for sustaining themselves.

And thanks to covid, even more people are adding botanical additions to their living space. I mean, if you can’t interact with your friends face to face, at least you’ll still have your plants!

So why should you grow your own food indoors then? Well, besides the obvious of fresh food being only steps away and having content to post on Instagram, there are multiple world-impacting reasons to grow food.

1. You’ll Know It’s Fresh

There’s a lot of push for organic foods in supermarkets from clean, ethical places. Everyone wants to have fresh food on their plate and know it’s clean and of the highest quality. But, what happens when some things accidentally get contaminated?

Produce and Contamination

Remember when lettuce was recalled for the past three years because of E. coli contamination? The lettuce was recalled for two reasons. The lettuce wasn’t being cleaned properly and still had poop on them, and the lettuce was washed with water that wasn’t clean.

Gross.

People eating contaminated vegetables is the cause of 20 to 30 percent of outbreaks of E. coli poisoning.

What’s also unnerving is the number of pesticides that are on some of these fruits and vegetables. For example:

  • Strawberries may contain as many as 40 different pesticides.
  • Celery may hold more than 60 different pesticides.
  • Cucumber skin may include more than 86 different pesticides.

Another thing to take into account is how pesticides might lead to cancer and other diseases.

The EPA now considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30% of insecticides to be carcinogenic

Now, no need to freak out. Not all produce is rampant with pesticides. EWG has a helpful breakdown of the “Dirty Dozen” (i.e., the plants you might want to consider growing” and the “Clean 15” (plants less likely to have pesticides). These are the crops you will want to grow to avoid contamination:

  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, and other greens
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Summer squash and zucchini
  • Tomatoes

By growing your produce at home, you control whats goes in and on your food. And you don’t have to worry about contaminated food or carcinogenic foods.

Honey bee collecting pollen from pink flowers.

2. The Enviornment Will Thank You

On average, food travels more than 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate.

It is estimated that currently, for almost every 10 kilocalories of fossil fuel energy put into our food system, we get only 1 kilocalorie of that energy as food. Importing and transporting food over large distances emits greenhouse gases that are harmful to our environment and accelerate climate change.

So by growing food indoors, you can help reduce the high amounts of burning fossil fuels. You also help reduce waste piling up in landfills from food packaging material such as plastic bags.

Red lettuce with a knife, napkin on the background of wooden boards
That’s quite a lot of lettuce!

3. Grow the Food You Want, When You Want

Chances are, you live in a temperate climate, and you can’t grow outside all year long. As a New Yorker, where winters can quickly drop to the single digits, I have more than enough experience with this.

But thanks to air conditioning, and container gardening, you can grow your favorite fruits and vegetables all year! You don’t even need to depend on the sun if you don’t have a sunny window. Grow lights are a great way to combat fluctuating sun durations.

And you don’t need to be limited to the few varieties found at the supermarket. Are you bored of seeing only romaine lettuce? How about some flashy trout lettuce, or the ‘Ruby Gem’? The possibilities are endless!

Closeup of woman hands watering young seedlings in a urban garden inside of home terrace

4. Take Care of Your Mental Health by Taking Care of Plants

Stress sucks.

In this busy world, it is so easy to get lost in the swirl of things to worry about that we can spiral down a rabbit hole of anxiety and stress. And sometimes, it feels like it’s never-ending.

If you ever wanted to find a way to nurture yourself and your mental health, you should give growing indoor crops or houseplants ago! Gardening teaches a person to learn from mistakes and to be creative, consistent and focused.

Positive Effects of Gardening Indoors

There’s a reason why #plantmom, #plantparent, and #plantdad are trending on Instagram. Indoor gardening also helps people feel connected and like they’re taking care of a pet.

Gardening indoors has many positive effects. Research shows that being surrounded by plants can improve mood and taking care of them can help lessen feelings of depression and anxiety.

Indoor gardening can also put you in an entirely new headspace. It pulls you out of whatever situation you’re in and forces you to focus on something different. Gardening occupies your full attention and allows you to let loose and forget your responsibilities, expectations, and worries for a bit. It provides an amazing break from stress and helps you enrich your life a bit.

And from personal experience, taking care of plants can help boost self-esteem as well! Over time while taking care of my Aloes (including my new addition, Peanut), it made me think:

“If these plants deserve to be loved and taken care of, perhaps I can love and take care of myself too.”

When done for some time, gardening can be a life-changer.

5. The Taste of Hard Work (and more nutrients) is Better

All rewards seem all that much better when you know you worked for it! I guess that’s why with homecooked meals, you can taste the passion and the love in it!

And it’s the same with the food you grow! I eat a lot of Italian food, and whenever I use herbs like rosemary, thyme, and basil straight from the plant, I can taste the freshness!

Did you know that since around 1940, there has been a 40% decline in nutritional value in produce? This is because of two things, the environmental dilution effect and the genetic dilution effect.

Food producers use methods in industrialized farming to increase yield and lower prices. Most of the produce grown commercially now comes from hybrid plants developed to provide big harvests. But these methods have shown to decrease the quality and nutritional value of produce.

So if you want to taste the sweetness of 40% more nutrients and hard work, give indoor gardening a try.

Macro photography of kitchen herbs like sage, rosemary, parsley, dill and basil.

6. Growing Your Own Food Can Save You Money

Imagine that you get twice the food for a fraction of the price. Because come on, 5 dollars for a few sprigs of thyme? Three dollars for three heads of lettuce? It sounds reasonable, but a few seeds can lead to lots of crops for a fraction of the price of the stuff you can find at the store.

A packet of lettuce seeds (which matures in 6 weeks) easily contains at least 100 seeds that can last you a long time. Simply stager your planting time to every two weeks, and you can get abundant harvests for the entire season.

Now let me clarify, not all crops are priced the same. Prices will fluctuate based on season, location, and environmental factors like drought. These crops are usually cheaper to grow than to buy:

  • Bell peppers
  • Herbs (Basil, thyme, rosemary, etc.)
  • Lettuce (and most other greens)
  • Squash (including zucchini)
  • Tomatoes

The reason why some crops like onions, turnips, and carrots on the list are because they’re “plant one, harvest one” plants. It’s exactly what it sounds like, plant a seed, get one crop.

That’s it.

But many crops, like the one on the list, can have multiple harvests. Take tomatoes as an example. One plant can produce many pounds of tomatoes. Sounds like a much better investment than 5 dollars for tomatoes on the vine from the store or one seed for a single carrot.

Okay Sarika, So What Now?

Oh, I didn’t introduce myself yet! My name is Sarika, and I’ve been gardening for the majority of my life. I founded The Blossoming Gardener to help people like you enrich their lives with container gardening in a fun, informative way.

You can meet my plants, look at healthy foods I cook, learn more about me by following me on Instagram! You can also sign up for my email newsletter to get new articles and updates straight to your inbox.

Indoor gardening is an easy hobby that enriches your life. By indoor gardening, you’re taking control of your health, positively impact the world, and improving your quality of life.

As a start, I am giving you a challenge! Write down a list of some plants you would want to grow, and share it in the comments. And if you liked this post, share it with a friend! You can see more below.

Alright! Happy Gardening! Till we meet again.

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My name is Sarika, and I am the founder of “The Blossoming Gardener”! Let me tell you a little bit about myself…Read more

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