Spring is in the air and we are all ready to see some lush blooms outside. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing (just so gorgeous), gardens have so many amazing benefits. In this day and age where we have to worry about where and how our food is grown, it’s nice to know that if you put in the effort and work hard, you can learn to be more self-sufficient. You don’t even need a large property, urban gardening is huge-think rooftop gardens and container gardens! Here are some great reasons to start or continue gardening!
Gardening is good for the body and mind. It offers a great form of exercise and stress relief.
Getting out there and gardening really helps to quiet the mind and works on your body. Gardening reduces stress which has been linked to numerous mental and physical disorders, and offers many physical benefits.
According to the CDC:
- Active people are less likely than inactive people to be obese or have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon or breast cancer, and premature death.
- Activities such as gardening allow adults to maintain their weight, reduce arthritis pain and associated disability, and reduce risk of osteoporosis and falls.
- Adults should get at least 2½ hours per week of moderate intensity physical activity.
Light gardening burns an average of 165 calories per 30 minutes – 330 calories per 60 minutes for a person of an average of 154 lbs.
Taking the time to enjoy nature can lift your emotions. Between the beauty, the fresh air and calmness, it is no wonder your garden and all it offers can make you feel so good. So get out there and enjoy your garden with all your senses.
Gardening is good for our earth.
Carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases help to trap the sun’s heat on earth, keeping the planet warm. Unfortunately too much is not a good thing.
According to the EPA, when we burn fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas to drive our cars, use electricity, or make products, we produce carbon dioxide. We are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere faster than natural processes can remove them, which is suspected of causing global climate change.
The good news is that plants help prevent global warming by taking carbon dioxide out of the air to use to make energy for themselves. They also use that carbon dioxide to provide clean oxygen! And so voila! You are minimizing your carbon footprint!
Low maintenance gardens such as rain gardens also help the environment by helping to prevent harmful pollutants from making their way into our streams and lakes.
A rain garden is a planted depression or a hole that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas, like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas, the opportunity to be absorbed. This reduces rain runoff by allowing storm water to soak into the ground (as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater).
Don’t forget that effective, environmental landscaping can help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, thus saving you on energy costs. Who doesn’t like to save $$$?
Gardens provide healthy, organic food.
Want to know what you are putting in your mouth and the mouth of your children? Well you can. Grow your own food and know you are eating chemical free, organic food. You can provide your family with nutrient rich, and amazingly tasty fruits and vegetables that you will be proud to know came from your own garden.
Organic produce has also been shown to have a higher antioxidant content than those grown with the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
“Across the important antioxidant compounds in fruits and vegetables, organic fruits and vegetables deliver between 20 and 40 percent higher antioxidant activity,” says Charles Benbrook, from Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, a co-author of the study.-NPR.org
Chemicals and fertilizers allow fruits and veggies to grow faster and bigger which in turn could dilute their nutrient levels. Your garden will allow you to provide fresh, tasty, healthy food. Your own food might not look as pretty as those you see in the store, but take satisfaction in knowing you can grow your own healthy and antioxidant rich food for you and your family.
Let your children get involved in gardening so they too can partake in the satisfaction and health benefits it avails. Let them come to learn how their carbon footprint can impact the earth and learn that what we do today, impacts tomorrow.
It’s never too late to teach kids about gardening. Let them take up this joyful experience and open up their minds to the creative art and joy of it. Let them enjoy nature and all its bounties. So they too will pass this on to their kids.
The beauty of a garden can be enjoyed by anyone. Spending time to enjoy the work you put into your garden can be a relaxing and rewarding activity for you and your child.
Here are some great sites to get you started!
Sources: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/what_are_the_physical_and_mental_benefits_of_gardening, http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/index.html, http://www.epa.gov/, http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/organic/five-benefits-of-growing-an-organic-garden.htm, http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/07/11/330760923/are-organic-vegetables-more-nutritious-after-all, http://www.schultesgreenhouse.com/Benefits.html