Have you wondered if you have a green thumb? According to the Axiom 2021 national survey results, there were 18.3 million new gardeners documented during the pandemic. Growing fruits and vegetables was one of the top three choices when deciding what to plant. Cultivating your harvest is a great break from screen-time, and it offers learning opportunities and bonding time to participating kiddos.
Gardening isn’t just a fun way to get outside and touch the earth; it also has some incredible health benefits.
- Vitamin D is a vitamin that is mostly obtained from being outside in the sunshine. A healthy dose of vitamin D increases our calcium levels, which benefits our bones and immune system.
- Gardening keeps us physically active. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, all the planting, digging, and weeding can burn more than 300 calories per hour. It might help with weight control while it strengthens our heart.
- Building hand strength is also a benefit of gardening to keep our hands and fingers working well in the future.
- Enjoying your edible harvest of fruits, vegetables, and herbs is a great way to boost nutrition from the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they provide.
In addition to physical health benefits, there are several mental health benefits for gardeners.
- A sense of accomplishment and self-esteem boost can be gained when we grow edible items and watch them thrive in the earth.
- Reduction in stress can be felt by being outdoors and working in the soil. Having a task to focus on can boost a feeling of calmness, concentration, and provide positive serenity.
- People feel happier when they are connected to nature.
Often, a garden may produce an abundance of one vegetable or herb. To avoid waste, share with loved ones or find recipes that utilize what you have grown. Here is a great recipe for cucumber salad with horseradish dressing that I enjoyed during a summer with a thriving cucumber plant. https://www.savoryonline.com/recipes/124633/cucumber-salad-with-horseradish-dressing. Gardening doesn’t have to be intimidating since there are so many varieties and options to fit your lifestyle. Creating a small indoor garden might be a good place to begin.
There are different types of gardens, from a thriving full backyard vegetable garden to a small indoor windowsill herb garden depending on individual needs, space, and abilities. Identify which space can be dedicated to gardening and plant what is familiar and will be enjoyed. Be aware what grows in your area.
- Try a recipe garden such as a pizza garden with tomatoes, bell pepper, oregano, and basil.
- Community gardens provide a shared space and socialization with other gardeners which can combat loneliness, fear of sole ownership or lack of space.
- Container gardens can be a simple, convenient way to have edible crops in almost any situation. Plant herbs, lettuce, or other vegetables in small containers near the kitchen so they can be easily accessible while preparing meals. Container gardens can be moved indoors to keep them thriving all year long.
Gardening can provide us with an abundance of nutrient-rich food, boost our physical health and feed our soul by supporting our mental health. As the warmer weather approaches, let’s get a little dirt under our nails, test our green thumb, and reap all the goodness of gardening.