Temperatures are rising and spring is right around the corner. It is the perfect time to get outside and get your hands dirty by starting your own garden. Not only is gardening a great way to enjoy nature, it also offers many other benefits.
The healthiest and tastiest foods you can eat are homegrown organic fruits and vegetables. These foods contain more nutrients than crops harvested for commercial consumption because they aren’t exposed to pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, which deplete the soil of nutrients needed to yield nutritious produce. Fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious when ripe, but produce at the grocery store is often left nutritionally deficient when commercial farms harvest prematurely in order to ship them great distances. Starting your own garden can also promote healthier eating habits. Studies even show that people who grow their own food are likely to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Gardening also offers many mental and physical health benefits. Studies have shown that gardening boosts your mood and lowers stress hormones. Through gardening and nurturing a plant from seed to fruit bearing, the evidence of your positive impact on the world is tangible and measurable, increasing self-esteem. This may also be the reason working in a garden helps those with depression or other mental disorders. The physical activity and fulfilling work of caring for plants are therapeutic!
An unexpected health benefit of gardening is its role in reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. A study found daily gardening to be the single biggest risk reduction for dementia, reducing incidence by 36%. Although Alzheimer’s is a mysterious disease, a variety of cognitive functions used in gardening—such as endurance, problem solving and sensory awareness—may provide benefit.
Physically, gardening is a great form of low-impact exercise that increases strength and dexterity by working different muscle groups. Gardening has been found to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by 30% for those over 60. It’s an exercise people are more likely to stick with and stay motivated for because of the tangible results of their hard work. As an added bonus, being outside gives you Vitamin D, which fights heart disease and osteoporosis.
Bounty from a garden requires less energy to produce, package and transport. Growing your own produce or supporting those who do can also help reduce the environmental impact of larger-scale production, which can lead to soil erosion, wasteful water consumption and pollution.
This is a great article!
I started my own little raised bed “lasagna” garden a number of years ago, My husband was impressed that I could do it “all by myself” but then he took over and we now have 4 raised bed (created and maintained lasagna style) for vegetables and also several fruit beds. We also use heritage seeds so we do our own seed harvest and bank them for the next year.
Wow, Amy, that is impressive! And thanks for the mention of lasagna gardening. That was a new one for most of us!
There are several books on the subject, but I have this one “Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!” and I love it!! Although I got the book after I made my first bed. We use compost in it as well as composted dirt and in fall we fill the beds with leaves and cover them with black plastic so it can “cook” all winter.
I enjoy gardening and need to prioritise some more time to it.
very useful information. I can’t wait to learn more about gardening this spring to start my own garden.
Gardening also offers a lovely time to pray, meditate, and reflect on life…especially when weeding!
I did my first garden this year. It was a great learning curve. Looking forward to perfecting it.
Already planning my Spring garden! hehe!
Enjoy my garden immensely as used to not have one. Waiting for the spring rain to settle just now. At least everything getting a good water 🙂
I try to garden, but the deer eat the plants as they emerge from the soil or are planted.
Once I’m out of my apartment I’m all over this!