You can never overestimate the benefit to your physical, mental and emotional health that gardening provides. People come to gardening for many reasons. Until you start to garden, you can’t appreciate how gardening enriches our lives. Here are just a few reasons that this might be the year to start a garden in your yard.
- Increase the property value of your home. Adding some well-chosen shrubs and trees to your yard can significantly add value to your property. The well-known importance of curb appeal is determined by the appearance of your front yard. A pot of flowers by the front door says “Welcome!”
- Improve the environment. Planting your yard will help to combat the greenhouse effect. The more plants grown, the better the balance of our environment. In addition, you will provide an environment that attracts pollinators, as well as provide food and habitat for birds and helpful insects.
- Physical fitness. Gardening is a lifetime activity. Your whole body is used when gardening. You will be walking behind a lawnmower, bending while weeding or planting your organic vegetable seeds and carrying supplies. The calories burned doing light gardening and yard work is greater than the same amount of time walking. Actually, when gardening, the studies have shown that people tend to stay at it longer than they originally planned.
- Improved diets. If you plant a vegetable garden, you will increase the amount of vegetables you eat. Vegetables eaten fresh out of the garden just taste better than anything you can purchase at the grocery store. You are also more likely to try new vegetables when you grow your own. Only about 10 percent of Americans eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables,
- Stress relief. Gardening can reduce stress and boost your mood and your self-esteem. Just the act of working in the soil and being aligned with nature can be a relief from the stress of your life. Gardening implies a belief in the future. It also is the perfect activity that allows a “do-over.” Gardening doesn’t always result in the success you imagined when you plant the seeds. Sometimes, the problem is caused by Mother Nature. Too much rain, not enough rain, an unexpectedly early or late frost or an invasion by hungry rabbits or insects can destroy your vision of the garden overnight. The problem can also be the gardener. Maybe you ignored some of the advice in your vegetable planting guide and overcrowded your tomatoes causing them to compete with each other for soil nutrients. The result was a less than desired number of tomatoes. That is the beauty of gardening. Every year, you start over with a clean slate but with more knowledge than the year before.
- Significantly lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. In a study of nearly 3,000 people over 60, who were followed for 16 years, gardening had the most significant risk reduction. Gardeners had a 36 percent lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners. It is believed that the combination of exercise, continual learning and problem solving and sensory awareness may contribute to this astounding study result.
- Economic food. Being able to plant and grow your own food at a very low cost is definitely going to help your food budget. Seeds are cheap and one packet can provide enough food to feed your family through the growing season. Plant what your family enjoys eating, or if space is an issue, plant the vegetables that are more expensive in the store. As you learn more about gardening, expand the size of your garden in the yard or supplement your garden by growing in a community garden. Learn how to can food or prepare it for the freezer or dry it for storage. Once you know how to preserve the food you grow, you could potentially grow all the vegetables your family eats in the year.
- Community. Gardeners love to share knowledge and experience. If you enjoy meeting people with like interests, join a community garden. It’s a great way to start gardening, and there will always be someone in the garden who can answer questions or give advice when you have a problem. Garden in your front yard and people walking by are likely to stop and talk to you. Gardening can be the doorway to new friends and social opportunities.
Whether you are limited to organic herbs in containers or you have enough land to grow all the food your family consumes in a year, the many benefits of gardening still exist. So get out those garden gloves and your garden supplies and start planting!