The Benefits of a Bountiful Backyard Garden

April 2022

By David Druze, Owner and Operator of Oasis Backyard Farms, Monmouth County, NJ


Vegetable gardens used to be a thing of the past, something someone’s parents or grandparents did while they were still a child, in a time long ago. In more recent years, people of all ages are starting to find a passion for growing their own food. More and more people are interested in where their food comes from. Whether you are a new family just starting out, or just feel the need to make some changes in your diet, sourcing local, sustainable and healthy food plays an extremely integral part in improving your eating. The best way to guarantee you are providing yourself and your family with healthy delicious fruits and vegetables is to grow them in your own garden.

Growing your own food only steps from your home can provide your family and friends with many benefits. Regardless of the materials you choose, variety of crops you grow, or where you choose to grow them, your garden and the food it provides will soon become your most prized summer hobby. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits!


Nutritional Benefits

When you shop in the grocery store you are sure to find a large selection of many different fruits and vegetables. Some are available all year round and others only during certain seasons. That’s because most of the produce we consume from grocery stores is grown hundreds or even thousands of miles away. By the time this food makes it onto our shelves, into our refrigerators and onto our plates, it’s not so fresh anymore. Although most people don’t have enough time or space to grow everything they eat all year, it is possible to supplement some or most of your diet with what you grow, even if it’s done on a small scale.

Nutrient content begins to diminish from the moment store-bought fruits and vegetables are harvested. To keep up with demand, some fruits and vegetables are often harvested early and ripened before or during shipping when they are refrigerated and lose nutritional value. Not only do these fruits and vegetables lack the number of nutrients compared to your homegrown food, but they are also often sprayed or treated with pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides during their growing period.

When maintaining your own garden, you are able to control how it is grown by selecting your own fertilizers, compost, and deciding whether or not pesticides, fungicides, or insecticides will be used, and how often. Gardening can and should be done organically which does not utilize any chemical or synthetic products that could potentially cause long-term issues from their consumption. Healthy plants are grown in healthy soil, which means if you take care of your garden soil by using proper practices and non-toxic products, your crops will grow themselves and provide you with many bountiful harvests.


Mental health

Along with providing you and your family with healthy food to promote physical well-being, gardening also has a positive impact on your mental health. As society continues to become encapsulated with technology and virtual interaction, your garden will help pull you outdoors for some fresh air. As most of us in New Jersey live a fast-paced, hectic day-to-day lifestyle, getting outside can help slow the mind and disconnect you from all of life’s distractions, providing a much-needed mental break. In my experience, even just a few hours per week spent in the garden really helps improve my mood and overall mental health.

For some, the simple act of just being present in nature will be enough to get them into the right mindset. Incorporating sitting areas, pleasant smelling herbs and flowers, along with different textures and colors can also boost your mood, energy and help you to connect with others. Sensory gardens have even been used in therapeutic practices to help those experiencing trauma. If you want to create a sensory garden you can incorporate flowers and herb plantings into your vegetable garden, further diversifying your garden’s ecosystem and its ability to create a better lifestyle for yourself, family, and friends.



Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of a backyard garden is the impact on the environment. Growing your own food can help reduce fossil fuel emissions, packaging waste, food waste and the amount of harmful chemicals that runoff into local waterways and groundwater. Your garden can also act as a carbon sink, which absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere where it is stored in plants and soil as a result of a process called carbon sequestration. The healthier the soil, the more carbon it can absorb, further reducing the effects of climate change from greenhouse gasses. Here are some tips for keeping your soil healthy to help sequester carbon:

  • Avoid using synthetic fertilizers – these products require a lot of fossil fuels to be manufactured, increasing the amount of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere.
  • Add organic matter – organic matter not only adds nutrients to your soil but it provides food for microbes that help keep the soil alive!
  • Keep your garden planted – don’t leave bare spots in your garden during the growing season, keeping plants in the ground prevents carbon loss and soil erosion. This also means adding some kind of mulch to your garden to protect the soil over the winter months.

As we continue to face economic challenges from events over the past few years, we have seen supply chain issues as well as production shortages. Growing your own food will not only ensure you have fresh harvests of the food you love for some or even all of the year. You will also notice some savings in your grocery bill, with the added convenience of walking into your yard or pantry for fruits and vegetables, especially in the warmer months. Savings at the pump will also add up by reducing the number of trips to the store, further reducing your carbon footprint. Finally, once your garden is established it will cost you less money to grow your food than to buy it. A seed packet can range from a few cents to a few dollars but they contain many seeds which will produce many pounds of produce.

There are many more benefits to having a garden you call your own. The outcome and success of the garden aligns with the hard work of those who tend it. Whether you are just starting your garden or you have been doing it for years, there is nothing better than that first harvest of the season. The crisp, clean flavors and aromas of your homegrown food become addicting and always leave you wanting more. Whether you choose to grow only one kind of crop or many different varieties, your garden will provide you with many nutritional, mental, environmental, and financial benefits. If you have been interested in starting a garden but have not yet begun, now is a perfect time. The best way to start is to jump right in. Go out to your yard, patio, porch, or anywhere sunny, find a spot that isn’t being used, and start your own garden! 



David Druze is the Owner and Operator of Oasis Backyard Farms and a Stockton University alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a concentration in environmental quality. David helps families of Monmouth county grow food organically right in their own backyards. His focus is to provide the help and knowledge they need to produce nutrient-dense homegrown produce for themselves and their families.

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