Spring Greening

The many benefits of gardening.

While temperatures slowly begin to rise and the snow has melted away, for many people, it’s time to start planning this year’s garden. And really, is it ever too early to begin planning for an abundant harvest? Whether you view gardening as a necessity for healthy, sustainable food, or as a pleasant past-time activity, gardening truly is for anyone and everyone!

Most people may not consider gardening a form of exercise, but getting outside and moving around is all it takes to improve your physical health. On average, a 155-pound person tending to a garden for half an hour burns 167 calories. And think about it: a gardener must be able to bend, dig, twist, reach, rake, and pull—all tasks that add up to strength, endurance, and flexibility. Gardening can be a simple task that helps keep you in shape!

Gardening tends to be considered a leisurely past-time activity for those who enjoy it. Being able to get outside, smell fresh air, dig around in the dirt, and admire the beauty of growing vegetables and flowers are only some of the reasons gardening is popular among so many people. Some people who keep a garden explain that the presence of the garden keeps them motivated to get outside, slow down their hectic schedule, and relax. Gardening means something special to each person; it can be a place of quiet reflection or simply a way to enjoy being outdoors.

In addition to personal enjoyment, planting a garden is a great way to save money. According to the National Gardening Association, gardeners who spend about $70 on planting costs end up with approximately $530 worth of produce each year. That’s no small chunk of change! While any type of gardening allows you to harvest savings (even a small patio garden or a window-box of herbs knocks off dollars at the grocery store), the effort you put into tending your garden will show in the fall.

There are also other health benefits to gardening aside from physical activity and mental clarity. For instance, gardening places you directly in control of what goes into the produce you eat. If organic food is important to you, it’s possible to purchase organic seeds. Gardening also allows you to plant special heirloom variety vegetables not found in most grocery stores. You can avoid the insecticides, rodenticides, and other chemicals commonly sprayed on conventional produce by fertilizing with food-scrap compost. (This also cuts down on landfill waste!) If you’re concerned about the quality of soil in your neighborhood, you can easily create a raised garden bed for shallow-rooted vegetables.

Relaxation, health, mental wellbeing, or saving money—whatever your reason may be for gardening, get out and take pleasure in it! The warm summer months pass too quickly if we don’t stop to enjoy them—and gardening is just one way to relish summer.