The reasons to start growing gardens at home are many. They, of course, provide locally produced food, which cuts down on our global food miles and does good things for the planet. They convert our lawns into productive, money-saving entities, as opposed to weekend worksites that yield nothing more than grass clippings. And, it’s worth stating that gardens are beautiful, with a bevy of colorful flowers and fruits and veggies to enjoy.
In many ways, gardens are what seem to be missing from many of our lives, an absent link in our relationship with our food, with our planet, and even with the cosmos (planting by the moon and all that). Gardening also makes a lot of sense for those of us trying to lead healthy lives. In addition to being good for the planet, gardens are good for our bodies, and they are good for our minds.
1. Clean Food
Obviously, the food that our home-grown gardens produce is going to come with nutritional advantages. For one, we (and our children) are likely to eat more vegetables if we grow them, and we are also likely to have more of them when we aren’t paying premium prices. We can grow local, organic vegetables right in the yard for the price of some seeds. That’s a great deal that results in good health.
2. Physical Exercise
Gardening offers up some low-impact exercise that’s suitable for all ages. Kids can help. Grandparents can be capable. Gardening uses the whole body — bending, squatting, pulling, raking, picking, pruning, walking, and so on. For many, exercise doesn’t come easy because, other than the health benefits, running on a treadmill seems to lack purpose. Well, gardening has plenty of purpose, and getting some exercise is but one.
3. Mood Elevation
Gardening is great for improving our overall outlook on things. It’s nice to have an activity which can offer enjoyment, get us outside, and provide something relevant to do. Many suggest that the modern lifestyle has taken purpose away from the tasks we perform (There is no result other than income for much of our work.) With gardens, we have a renewed sense of purpose because the seeds we sow will provide the food for tomorrow. That makes us feel good.
4. Vitamin D
Another thing that makes us feel good is the sunshine we soak up from being in the garden. Sunshine, of course, feels nice because its warm and radiant, but it also makes us feel better because it’s our main, natural source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D keeps our bones strong and keeps our guts — our immune system — running smoothly. Heading out to check the garden, pull some weeds, and pick some lettuce is a great way to get those 15 daily minutes of sunshine.
5. Fresh Air
In addition to sunshine, gardens are also great for getting a bit of fresh air, often scented with the lovely aromas of flowers in bloom. One of the problems with our lifestyles is that many of us find ourselves inside, office-bound, for much of the day. Children tend to elect to play video games rather than play outside. Grandparents sit and watch TV instead of enjoying the patio on a pretty day. Gardens get us out for fresh air, and fresh air goes a long way in helping us both mentally and physically.
An elevated mood, some sunshine, a bit of fresh air — it seems safe to say that the garden can be a great place to relax. Beyond those things, gardening is an easy-going task that can take our minds off of stresses at work or school. It’s something we can do that isn’t tied up with bosses or the expectations of others. We can choose what to grow, and we can choose how to tend to it. For those who do garden regularly, there seems to be a real pull out to the flowers and veggies. Plus, gardens invite a picnic.
7. Mental Stimulation
For retirees or young adults on school breaks, gardening can also provide some stimulation for the brain. There is a reasonable amount of keeping up with seedlings, scheduling out crop sequences, and paying attention to the seasons. A garden also perks up the senses — tasting a sun-heated tomato, smelling flowers in bloom, seeing the flash of butterflies flittering, feeling the cool of earth beneath mulch, and hearing the buzz of bees and the hum of the breeze.
Gardens feel right. They just do. They encourage us to be active at home and engage with the planet at large. They connect us and ground us. They feed us. They soothe us. They keep us healthy. Those are all great reasons to grow one.
Lead Image Source: Pixabay