Can you believe it’s the middle of autumn? Looking outside at my brown garden I can! Perhaps you, like me, welcome the change of all the seasons, and you are ready to relax in front of a fire and not worry about weeding. Maybe you have never considered having a garden to begin with and you have no idea what you’re missing. Possibly gardening is your favorite activity and/or you are already missing homegrown vegetables (I am!) Or, perhaps, you’ve tried to grow a garden and feel like you’ve failed miserably. Whatever situation you are in, you should start thinking about having a garden as soon as Mother Nature will allow it. My husband is a lifelong gardener, but I was just a dabbler with a brown thumb until about 10 years ago. Now I am obsessed. When you read about all the benefits of gardening, you will want to be obsessed as well!
We are here to help you get growing! Read these amazing benefits that apply whether you’re tending to a one-acre garden or a couple of pots on your porch.
Inspires Creative Expression
• Planning, planting, watching your garden grow, and possibly harvesting (in the form of vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, etc.) is a very satisfying creative outlet. You’ve seen gardens or planted containers that are just masterpieces, right? That is someone’s artistry, and the amazing thing is that it is alive and changing. It is a great way to express yourself.
Brings People Together
• Gardening can be a life-long hobby. It is great activity to do with children. Gardening gets families outdoors and off computers, televisions, and other screens. It also brings people of all ages together and is a highly recommended activity for older people. As an owner of a small garden center, I love when people come in and want to talk for hours about their gardens. They love when they can compare notes with us and other customers. Nature is a great teacher. Whatever your age, you’re always learning something. That’s why we say you can’t grow wrong!
Has Physical Benefits
• There are numerous physical benefits of gardening. The obvious benefits include the exercise you get from bending, squatting, and stretching while tending to plants and weeding. It’s an enjoyable form of exercise that most people willingly do. Depending on your garden, it can either be aerobic or gentle. If you are gardening outside, even just on your deck, you can get sun exposure to create vitamin D, which doctors are finding to be increasingly important (especially in today’s indoor lifestyle). You can gain additional physical benefits by getting your hands dirty. Soil contains beneficial organisms that enhance immune systems and have been shown to alleviate symptoms of allergies, psoriasis, asthma, and even depression.
Benefits Your Mind
• Gardening also helps your mind! Countless studies have supported this. As mentioned, the beneficial organisms can alleviate depression, but most gardeners would likely agree there is noticeable boost in mood just by being in a garden or around plants and flowers. There can be relief from stress by digging, trimming, pinching, pulling, smelling, etc. The routine and responsibility in watering and caring for living things is also beneficial to young and old alike. In more than one study, researchers found daily gardening to be the single biggest risk reduction for dementia. I have to tell you, working in the garden center, we almost never see an unhappy gardener walk through the door. Even the ones who talk about their failed past plantings are happy to give it a go again and are optimistically hopeful for a better outcome. Whatever it is, people tend to be extremely pleasant around plants!
Helps The Environment
• There is no better way to “go green” than to plant something. Plants act as highly effective air cleaners, absorbing carbon dioxide plus many air pollutants, while releasing clean oxygen and pleasant scents. As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second best time is right now! That is so true. Gardening is good for the earth. You can plant food for people, animals, and pollinators, plus create oxygen. It’s a win-win situation.
Provides Better Food
• If you’ve ever eaten a fruit or vegetable right out of the garden, you know a benefit of growing your food – taste! I have always said, the worst tomato from your garden is still way better than anything from a grocery store! You know the freshness and quality of what you are eating. With pesticides and fertilizers being overused, consider how nice it is to know exactly what has touched your fruits and veggies! Besides the lack of chemicals, your food is likely more nutritious since it was not picked early to get to the store. Having fruit and vegetable plants around will also encourage you and your family to eat more of them. Our daughter started asking to eat spinach when she was 3 because she grew it herself. All our kids still can’t get enough of the cucumbers we grow every summer.
Saves You Money
• The last benefit may not be your first consideration as a reason to plant a garden (or it may be), but you can save and make money. There’s a popular meme online about 3 months of work growing tomatoes to save $2.17 (ha ha)! But seriously, we eat tomatoes almost every day, and we haven’t bought tomatoes in years. We start the seeds, grow the plants in summer, and eat fresh tomatoes. What we don’t eat, we freeze, which is usually enough to last through the next spring. It’s not a huge amount of work, and it is enjoyable work. With tomatoes around here at least $2 a pound, I would say we’ve saved some money. You can consume or sell herbs, fruits, cut flowers, etc., to save or make money. Additionally, a nice garden or a beautiful landscape can also add considerable value to your property.
When you’re thinking of your resolutions for the new year (it will be here before you know it!), make planting a garden – even if it’s just some containers – a goal. It will go hand in hand with the usual goals of exercising more and eating healthier. You can start planning your garden now so you hit the ground digging in spring! Let us know if we can help you get growing!