TEND TO A GARDEN AND REAP THE BENEFITS

Whether you’re excited to try out your green thumb, or worried about killing every plant you touch, with a little preparation, practice, and patience, you can be a successful gardener. From vegetable gardens to flower gardens to herb gardens, you’re sure to find a type that fits your needs and abilities. No matter what you choose to plant, you can profit from the many benefits gardening has to offer.

Tend to a Garden, Reap the Benefits

Photo Credit: Hoerwin56, Pixabay

Getting Started
Look outside. You’ll see trees, bushes, and flowers that are growing on their own, without the help of a gardener. Of course, helping your home garden along can result in healthier plants that produce more blooms or crops. But don’t fret if it’s your first time. Even if you make mistakes, you should still see some results from your garden!

Don’t be overly ambitious when you start. Choose a smaller size garden and opt for plants that are hardy, such as coneflowers, daylilies, hens and chicks, yarrows, zinnias, and yucca. Vegetables that are easy to grow include lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, squash, peas, and tomatoes.

Put Good In
Your health and the environment benefit from gardening in a variety of ways. When you grow your own garden, you control what chemicals are (and aren’t) added to your plants. You can easily create an organic garden in your backyard. Chemicals used to keep pests at bay and enhance growth of flowers, bushes, and food can also harm the environment and perhaps even your health. An organic garden removes this risk.

Gardening could lead you to try new vegetables, or at least eat your daily-recommended serving. If you decide to grow vegetables, fruit, or herbs, you’ll benefit from tasty food and more nutrients. Fresh-from-the garden foods are up to 50 percent higher in nutrients than those that have travelled far. Less travel also means a smaller carbon footprint. Additionally, growing your own garden improves your soil by adding nitrogen.

Get Good Out
As a form of cardio and aerobic exercise, you can burn up to 300-400 calories an hour with moderate gardening. Through activities like weeding, pruning, digging, shoveling, and tilling, gardening can give your whole body a workout.

Your brain also benefits. Gardening may lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Taking part in a hobby like gardening gives you a chance to unwind and let your mind wander, which reduces stress, eases depression and pain levels, and increases productivity. Just enjoying the beauty of nature can boost your mood and release stress, too.

Children’s brains reap benefit as well. Garden-based education improves overall academic performance and may lead to higher test scores, especially in math and science. Children who garden also have an improved attitude toward learning. Gardening teaches children independence and sustainability and encourages them to eat healthier. Time in the garden can also be wonderful family time together.

Other Benefits
Trying to eat healthy, especially organic, sometimes comes with a higher price tag. Typically, growing your own food is less expensive than buying organic produce from the grocery store. Through good planning, you can reap the benefits of your food garden in all seasons. Pick fresh food when in warm seasons, and begin canning and jarring to enjoy through the winter.

After you put in the effort of creating your garden, you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction looking at your completed project. Once you see flowers bloom and vegetables grow, you feel an even bigger sense of accomplishment. According to One Green Planet, seeing the fruits of your labor produces tangible evidence of your investment in time and energy.

Setting up a plan and doing your research beforehand can improve the chances of a successful garden. You want to make sure you properly prepare your yard, choose the right plants, and know how to care for them. After that, you can patiently wait and tend to your garden. In the end, you’ll help the environment, save money, learn a new hobby, and improve your health.

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Written by Maria Cannon who suffers from fibromyalgia and finds gardening to be a lifesaver. “Gardening benefits the mind, body, and soul,” said Maria. “It provides stress relief, physical activity, and stimulation for the brain. It helps me work through the depression and anxiety associated with my chronic illness, and provides me with a type of physical activity that has proven to be highly therapeutic.”

An avid quilter, Maria believes having a cherished hobby is an important part of achieving happiness. She created Hobby Jr to encourage young people to find a hobby they love. You can email her at maria@hobbyjr.org.