June 26, 2024

Benefits of Gardening

You don’t have to be a plant expert to enjoy the benefits of gardening.

Getting down and dirty planting seeds, weeding and harvesting food and flowers may not seem like everyone’s cup of tea at first. But stop for a moment to consider the benefits of gardening — it can improve physical, mental, financial, and social well-being. So, whether you prefer growing food or flowers, or are curious about gardening as a hobby, we are going to dive into the benefits of gardening.

Money doesn’t grow on trees… or does it?

Turns out, financial impact is a significant benefit of growing your own food. Studies have shown an increase in overall food inflation by an average of almost 5% in the last 5 years in the United States. Growing your own produce at home can help save you some money on your grocery order, but it is also a relatively low-cost hobby to maintain.

Leave that stress in the dirt!

A less obvious perk of gardening is the boost it can provide for your mental wellbeing. Research has shown that gardening activities can increase an individual’s quality of life, psychological wellbeing, and cognitive function. People who participate in gardening activities regularly report a reduction in stress, anger, fatigue, and depression and anxiety symptoms.

Why? Spending time in nature and sunlight can have tremendous impacts on overall health. And you certainly get both of those with gardening! Gardening also provides a sense of pride and accomplishment as you watch your hard work pay off.

Home-grown gains incoming

A third benefit of gardening is the amount of physical activity it provides. When you think about upping your activity level, a gym, workout class or good old-fashioned run may be the first things that pop into your head. However, gardening is an easy, moderate intensity activity that brings the same benefits as other similar exercises.

Hack: improve your nutrition with ease

If you are growing produce, odds are you will increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks. This is an important another benefit of gardening as it increases the intake of beneficial nutrients found in fruits and vegetables.

Sounds good, but how do I start?

If I have convinced you that gardening is the newest hobby you should try out, you may be wondering — how do I start? Here are a couple of avenues you can take:

Dedicated space: a common misconception is that you must have a lot of room to start a garden. But people successfully grow produce and flowers out of pots or grow bags on their porch, deck, or balcony.

Search your community: look for a community garden near you. These are great resources if you cannot grow anything at your home, or if you want the extra benefit of meeting new people and increasing your social interactions among neighbors.

Spruce up that landscape: If growing produce or flowers does not interest you, a lot of these same benefits can come from landscaping around your home as well.

The best way to learn is to start!

Another misconception is that you will not be successful unless you have a green thumb. Trust me when I say, you do not have to be a plant expert to start enjoying the benefits of gardening. I have spent time researching and learning as I go, slowly leveling up my gardening skills. And that learning curve has been an enjoyable process.

Finally, start small. If you are just starting out, it can be easy to fall into the trap of planting all kinds of seeds and letting your imagination run wild. Instead, start with easy plants. Some of my favorites include lettuce, cucumbers, sunflowers, marigolds, spinach or beans. Enjoy your gardening journey!

This Week's Recipe from the American Heart Association

Grilled Fruit Kebabs with Balsamic Drizzle