Have you considered starting a garden? What if you created a garden full of fresh herbs or vegetables? You will get the health benefits from gardening, and an assortment of delicious fresh produce. If digging up your backyard sounds intimidating, or maybe you just don’t have the space for that dream garden, start small. Even potted gardening has health benefits. Below are some benefits to gardening as well as some tips to get started.
How does gardening benefit your health?
Increases your exposure to Vitamin D: Spending sometime outside allows your body to absorb vitamin D which can increase your calcium levels promotes healthy bones and immune system. It can also increase serotonin levels in your brain (a feel-good hormone). Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen and sunglasses!
Mood Boosting: Some studies have indicated that gardening can combat stress better than some other hobbies.
Stress Reduction Through Mental Focus: Gardening is deliberate mental focus in which you can set aside your daily problems and relax. It is so important to be able to “turn off” the stressors at work and your personal life to have the energy to tackle them head on. Reducing stress improves not only your mental health, but physical health as well. By limiting stress, you also decrease your risk of chronic diseases such has cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Improve your nutrition: Growing your own vegetables and herbs will allow you to add variety to your plate and even provide a boost of confidence knowing you grew them yourself. Produce picked fresh from the garden will taste amazing and provide more nutrients than many of the vegetables you would purchase at the grocery store. This will also save you money since you can now check the vegetables and herbs that you are growing off of your grocery list! You may even be more likely to get your family to consume vegetables more if you let them play an active role in the gardening with you.
How do I get started?
Where do you want to grow your garden? The initial step to gardening would be to decide an appropriate place to put it. If you have a huge backyard, consider finding a spot to designate to a garden. Does your front yard need some sprucing up? Plant some flowers along your house or deck. Both of these options may seem difficult if you live in a city. Fear not! There are plenty of ways to incorporate an indoor garden such as on your windowsill, or even finding lower light plants that can be placed throughout the house. Many cities have shared planting spaces; you will rent your box/plot/area and be able to plant your vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and pay a nominal fee. Find a garden near you here.
What do you want to plant? Do you want to surround yourself in beautiful flowers and scents? Look up flowers that will thrive in your chosen area. Maybe you want to start cultivating your own vegetables. Investigate the vegetables that are in season in your location. Learn more about what is in season here.
What soil should you use? This is very important to successfully grow your plants. There are a variety of soils out there and they are all comprised of different nutrients. When you have decided on the plants you want to grow, research the types of soil they do well in. The soil is their home, and provides food for them. Learn more about how to pick the right soil here.
What tools do you need? When starting your first garden, you should begin small. That way you do not get overwhelmed or too out of your budget. Pick up your basic tools such as gardening gloves, a trowel, and a rake. For community container gardening, check out this list and for larger gardens, larger equipment may be needed.
How to maintain your garden: Make sure you know how often you have to water your plants. Some can be very temperamental. Spend some of your free time weeding so that your plants do not suffocate from outside intruders. If the weeds are overwhelming, there are fertilizers you can use. The best part is that you get to choose the fertilizers and you know exactly what you are putting on your plants.
As long as you start slow, gardening can be fun, relaxing, and budget friendly!