6 Reasons to Start a Garden This SpringArticle posted in: Lifestyle
If you’re looking for a new hobby or activity to spend your time this spring, consider starting your own personal garden. Of course, there are plenty of reasons why you might say you can’t start a garden. Maybe you live in an apartment without much outdoor space or you don’t have enough time because you’re taking care of the kids. However, when it comes to gardening and growing fresh, healthy and nutritious produce, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
Micro gardens, rooftop gardens, community gardens, indoor gardening kits and even fish-tank gardens; there has never been a better era to grow your own bounty of produce. Plus, spring is here, making it the perfect time to get outside and flex your green thumb. Say goodbye to excuses and hello to a new healthy hobby that provides many benefits.
Here are six ways gardening can make a positive impact on your mind, body and soul:
1. Your Psyche Will Thank You
From improving morale and boosting self-esteem to combating depression and encouraging a mind at peace, gardening can do amazing things for our mental health, says Psychology Today. If we’re being honest, we all need a little mood boost and peacefulness right about now!
In a 2017 research report, published in Preventative Medicine Reports, researchers found that gardeners have less stress, better general health and better overall life satisfaction than non-gardeners. Additionally, there was no significant difference in the characteristics or socio-economic status of gardeners versus non-gardeners. Translation: No matter where you live or how much space you have, as long as you smell the flowers or grow some tomatoes, you’ll be set.
2. You Can Save Money
Save some money by starting a vegetable and herb garden. Depending on what you grow, you can easily cut your produce bill in half with your own homegrown bounty. If you don’t have a backyard, open rooftop or much living space, even creating small pots on your windowsills filled with fresh herbs and lettuce can help you save money on your meal prep.
Partaking in your community garden is another great money-saving solution if you lack space. Some gardens allow you to purchase or rent your own area, while others are entirely shared and you trade time tending the plants for a share in the produce. Other community gardens sell the produce at a local farmers market and you can even earn a few bucks for getting your hands dirty. If you’ve never gardened before, you could learn a thing or two by speaking to the experienced gardeners in your neighborhood. Gardening can help you stay healthy and connected during this time of social distancing.
Want to save even more money? Click here for our Saver’s Guide to Buying Organic! >
3. You’ll Burn Calories
You can get your daily exercise and stay fit with a home garden. You may not think of gardening as a calorie-burning exercise but remember that every little bit of movement counts. Digging, bending, weeding, raking and walking all burn calories and get your blood pumping.
According to Harvard Health, a 155-pound person that digs or spades dirt for just 30 minutes burns about 186 calories. After that, general gardening burns another 167 calories. Don’t forget about the calories burned walking to and from the shed (because you will need way more tools than you thought), which is another 167 calories.
4. You’ll Eat Better
Do you know what happens when you’ve got endless tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, beans and fresh herbs at the ready? You’ll create healthier, more flavorful low-carb meals because fresh produce is high in antioxidants, you’ve got an abundance of it to eat and you’ll get tremendous satisfaction knowing the dinner you’ve created came from your own garden.
Have too much to eat? Freeze or can your bounty for the months ahead. You could also trade or do a barter system with a neighbor throughout the season who also gardens—two zucchinis for four ears of corn. Many local food pantries also accept fresh produce donations to help those in need. You’ll feel great from the mental benefits of gardening combined with giving back to others.
5. Get Your Vitamin D
Every time you spend time outdoors, you’re exposed to ultraviolet-B radiation from the sun that causes the body to produce Vitamin D, says The New York Times. While you can obtain significant amounts of Vitamin D from foods like salmon, eggs and liver, it’s much more enjoyable to spend just 10 to 15 minutes in the sunshine. Medical News Today recommends doing this about two to three times per week to obtain what your body needs to build healthy bones and teeth, support the immune system, promote brain and nervous system health and more.
Unlike other vitamins, Vitamin D may have protective effects against osteoporosis, cancer, depression, heart attack and stroke, says Harvard Health. Spending time outside in the garden can definitely help you get your daily dose. However, if you’re spending prolonged periods of time in the great outdoors, just make sure to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.
A vitamin D definiciecy can reveal itself in numerous ways. Click here for seven signs to look out for. >
6. Kids Need to Know
Trying to instill healthy eating habits in your kiddos? Want your son, daughter, niece or nephew to know where food comes from and how to make plants grow? When kids start a composting pile, play in the dirt and have a hand in the dinner you’re preparing, they’re learning. They’re gaining all psyche-boosting qualities we mentioned earlier combined with physical exercise, a healthy hobby and maybe even beginning a passion they’ll carry on later as adults. Plus, gardening is the perfect way to spend time with the family and bond together over your homegrown bounty.