Planting and tending a garden is great to improve your home’s aesthetic, but in addition to being good for property value, planting a garden is also good for you as a person. Finding a single activity that involves exercise, mindfulness, delicious food, and fun, and that also happens right in your own backyard, is hard to find.
Gardening is a great practice for the mind, body, and spirit. Whether you have a green thumb or are new to the game, you can find multiple benefits in gardening this spring and summer.
Your Reap What You Sow
By bringing intention and reflection to the process, gardening can provide a window into your own life. When you garden, it’s easy to see The Law of Giving and Receiving at work and in such a timely way. Gardening takes as much as it gives. You have to:
- Map out your garden
- Prepare the soil
- Sow the seeds
- Prune and fertilize
In return, you get:
- Time in nature
- Flowers and vegetables
The nice thing is, the average length of gardening from beginning to end is just a few months. While there are multiple factors that can go into gardening where you live, generally the best time to garden is in late Spring, after the last frost, but before it gets too hot.
All of the time, resources, and energy you put into your garden are well worth it because you’ll be able to reap the reward. As you plan, plant, nurture, and harvest your garden, take advantage of these four benefits:
Exercise: Dig the Workout
Gardening is considered a moderate- to high-intensity workout, and can burn up to 330 calories during one hour. This includes both gardening and yard work, so if you don’t like lifting weights in a gym, you can use daily gardening as part of your healthy lifestyle strategy. It’s recommended that lifting—which is often involved with gardening—be a part of physical activity as you age to keep optimal bone health.
Clean Eating: Farm to Table Made Simple
Eating local, organic produce can be good for your health, and there’s nothing more local than your own backyard. Not only do you get the benefits of the process of gardening, there is the added bonus of knowing where your food came from and what you used to help it grow. Your water, your fertilizer, and your plant food are all your choice. And if you have kids, you may find that when they participate in growing vegetables, they are more likely to try new ones. Have fun with it and choose the most unique varieties possible, like blue potatoes and watermelon radishes.
Reduced Stress: Let Nature Take It Away
According to a research study conducted by Rutgers University, flowers are a natural mood moderator and have an almost immediate positive impact on happiness as well as a long-term effect on your overall mood. Spending time among the blossoms also allows you to feel a connection to the land and better relate to the earth. Gardening has also been proven to promote relief from acute stress. This, in turn, can inspire you to experience feelings of gratitude, awe, and abundance.
Relationship-Building: Take Lessons from Your Garden
Gardens can also help you practice relationship skills. According to research from the Medical University of Vienna, a garden provides a unique opportunity to meet the gardeners’ needs and vice versa. The garden and gardener evolve together, which is great practice for any relationship—understanding and respecting that both parties need one another to grow and flourish.
Not everyone has their own yard, but the great news is gardens can happen on your balcony, on your roof, or in a shared gardening space in your community. In the words of poet May Sarton, “Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”