Spring offers the perfect time to get into gardening. As the ground warms and the days grow longer, it’s time to get your garden going and experience the joy of feeling your hands in soil.
According to Permaculture News: Studies show that gardening promotes physical health, mental health through relaxation and satisfaction, and better nutrition.
Gardening For Your Good Health
Many people report aches and pains and even arthritis in their hands as they age. Gardening provides a low-impact way for keeping hand muscles agile. The repetitive movements of snipping, grabbing and pulling weeds in a garden can improve dexterity and fitness.
Oddly enough, researchers have found that a bacteria usually found in soil and dirt — mycobacterium vaccae — can prove beneficial to your immune systems.
Creating something beautiful with your own hands, combined with the meditative movements, make gardening a valuable tool against lowering the stress hormone Cortisol.
Because it’s also considered a low-impact activity, it counts toward your daily exercise as well, and exercise is the number one way to keep stress in check.
The Mind Body Benefits of Gardening
- It’s easy. Maybe you have a green thumb and maybe you don’t. Green thumbs aren’t required for all plants. Herbs, for example, are easy to grow and you can plant them indoors or outdoors. Most just need sun, water, good soil, drainage and a regular trimming when you harvest them. The latter keeps them full and prevents them from going to seed so you can enjoy fresh herbs all season.
- It’s rewarding. The process of planning your garden, planting your seeds or plants, caring for them and watching them grow brings a sense of joy and accomplishment. Plus when you harvest them, you reap the rewards of fresh veggies and herbs that make just about any meal taste better.
- It’s relaxing. When you tend to your garden you take the time to focus on caring for your plants. This makes you pause from your daily routine and can help you de-stress. Couple that with the scents of herbs — like mint, lavender, sage and rosemary — which treat your olfactory senses and help you gain a new perspective.
- It’s economical. Growing your own produce can save you money. When you buy fresh veggies and herbs at the grocery store (and who knows how fresh they are), you often have to pay top dollar. Herbs, especially can be costly. If you like to cook with them, this can add up quickly and get quite expensive.
- It’s healthy. Fresh produce has lots of nutritional value and offers health benefits. They contain vitamins, dietary fiber, and other nutrients that help your body fight disease and stay healthy. Low in calories and fat, fresh veggies help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
- It’s fun. What can be better than watching your plants grow and tasting your success? And you have the added benefit of growing your own food and knowing exactly where it came from. That’s something to smile about.
With Spring here, it’s time to grow something green! No matter how old you are or if you live in the country or city, if you have a lot of time or a little, you can create a slice of nature at home in a garden.
Blog cover photo by gardener extraordinaire, Alan Chadwick