Let’s face it, we all could probably use a little less stress and anxiety in our lives right now. One proven way to lower blood pressure, elevate mood and improve overall health is to garden. Apparently, digging in the dirt out in the sunshine has a lot of health benefits. Here is a paper published on the National Institute of Health’s Website extolling the benefits of gardening.
Beyond all of the clinical health benefits, here are some other reasons to garden:
- Good for you – better for the environment. A delicious tomato picked ripe from your backyard has a much smaller carbon footprint than one grown in a huge field that was tilled by a gas-powered tractor, sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, irrigated, picked (unripe) and then taken by the truckload to a warehouse, packed in boxes and trucked/flown perhaps hundreds of miles to a store near you.
- Economical –A big organic beefsteak tomato can cost you more than $2 in the store. A package of seeds costs about that and produces numerous plants each of which bears lots of tomatoes. And you can save the seeds for next year’s crop.
- Accessible to everyone. Gardening is something that almost anyone can do almost anywhere. It can be as simple as a single plant on a windowsill to a large homestead garden that feeds the whole family for the year. People of every age can benefit from the exercise, the mind/body connection, and the fresh food!
- Endless possibilities! Red carrots, purple celery, beans as long as your forearm, the diversity of edible plants is astounding. Even an old standby, like zucchini, offers up over 82 million results in a quick search for recipes - and not all of them are for bread!
The steps to starting a garden are simple.
The best way to start a garden is to just do it.
For a garden bed: Pick a sunny spot, remove any existing vegetation, and dig it up to loosen the soil. Then rake it out, get some seeds or plants, put them in, water as necessary, and weed regularly. For best results test soil and amend as required for your particular conditions. Ask your neighbors who have gardens what types of vegetables do well in your area.
Containers: Buy or repurpose a vessel for holding dirt. It can be anything from a rusted out rowboat to a store-bought ceramic pot. Ensure drainage, fill with soil, plant seeds/plants, and water. Helpful hint - place container where it will “live” before filling with soil. They get heavy fast!
Indoor garden: All you need to have a garden is some dirt, a container, water, and a plant. Boom - you are gardening! Grow some herbs on a windowsill, plant some peppers. It doesn't have to be edible either. You can get a low-maintenance succulent if you want to just try growing something.
If you love everything about gardening but weeding, then check out Tertill™ the solar-powered weeding robot from Franklin Robotics.