It’s not a new concept to grow your own food. Ancient people relied on it to get reliable and nutritious food.
Vegetable gardens have become more and more necessary over time. Recent years have seen a rise in gardening, despite the availability of food at supermarkets.
An increase in interest in gardening was found by a study during the COVID-19 epidemic. The COVID-19 pandemic caused people to spend more time at home, and they turned to their gardens to connect with nature, relieve stress and provide food.
Since 2010, I have been tending large flower and vegetable gardens at home. It is both challenging and rewarding to see the gardens develop.
Here are some of the benefits I have found by digging in dirt:
Exercise can be achieved by spending a busy day in the yard. You can mimic whole-body exercise by performing functional movements while tending to a garden. While weeding, you perform squats or lunges. The large muscles are used when carrying bags of mulch or other supplies. Digging, raking, and using a mower are all physically demanding activities.
You can burn the same amount of calories as you would in a gym workout. You may feel sore after gardening if you’re not used to this type of activity. You can also improve your strength, flexibility and balance by gardening.
If you have difficulty moving, gardening activities can be adapted. If you are creative, there are many ways to get involved. If you have back pain, use a small stool. You can use a shovel or rake to support your legs when you squat. The smaller pots will be lighter and easier to handle than the larger ones. Purchase smaller bags of soil or mulch to make them easier to handle.
You can improve your diet by growing and eating your fruits and vegetables. Gardeners tend to eat more vegetables in a healthy and balanced diet. Our family enjoys salsa, corn and potatoes from our garden all year round.
Vegetables have unique health benefits. Peppers contain capsaicin which is anti-inflammatory and reduces heart disease. Tomatoes contain a lot of potassium and vitamin C. Lycopene is also present, which may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene. This antioxidant may slow down the aging process, and lower the risk of certain cancers. Spinach can boost your immunity, while broccoli helps protect your cells.
It is beneficial to your mental and physical health to spend time outdoors. When outside, people tend to breathe more deeply. It helps clear the lungs and improves digestion. It also improves the immune system.
It has been proven that spending time outside reduces heart rate and muscle tension. The sun’s rays lower blood pressure levels and increase vitamin D.
Stress levels reduced
Gardening is one of the many forms of exercise that can help reduce stress. There’s evidence that gardening can improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety. Plant, grow, harvest, and share your food is a very rewarding experience.
Routines give us structure and improve our mental health. Watering and weeding can help create a rhythm that reduces stress.
My routine after a long day at the clinic is to spend an hour in my garden. After a busy day, I find pulling weeds to be therapeutic. It allows you to mentally solve a problem, slow down or plan.
Gardening is a great way to bring people together and create social bonds. There are many people in the gardening community who are willing to share their knowledge, time and sometimes plants with new gardeners. Local master gardeners educate and empower fellow gardeners. Community gardens bring people from different backgrounds together to achieve a common goal. Many gardening friendships are formed over a shared love of gardening.
Social connections are essential because they reduce stress, increase resilience, and offer support in difficult times. A strong sense that you belong lowers your chances of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Gardening has brought me the most joy. My friends and I plan our vegetable gardens in the spring together. We talk about what went well and what needs to be changed from the previous season. We share excess produce in the summer. We host a large salsa-making party in the fall to celebrate the harvest. These activities increase the enjoyment we get from the garden, and strengthen our relationships.
Start a garden
If you’re thinking about starting a home garden, here are three tips to help.
- Start small.
- It’s very easy to become excited and want an enormous plot of land with lots of plants. Do not take on more work than you are capable of, as this could lead to more stress. The bigger the garden is, the more it will take. You can easily become overwhelmed if you do not have the time or resources to maintain it. In the future, you can increase the size.
- Create a network.
- Find people who share your interest in gardening. You can learn from each other.
- Find out what plants are suitable for your area.
- Find out what plants grow best in your area. Ask local master gardeners and county agricultural resource offices for tips on which plants grow well in your area. It will increase your chances of being successful and reduce the potential for disappointment.