Gardening is a wonderful activity that truly embodies all of the good of Earth Day. Of course, it’s good for the planet, but it’s also therapeutic, economical and educational. There are many reasons that having a garden this year just makes sense; here are a few reasons we think you should give it a try!
Gardening is good for the planet
Planting your own garden is the ultimate Earth Day activity, because it has so many positive effects on the planet. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
- Decreased greenhouse gas emissions – Yes, when you plant your own fruits and vegetables, you are relying less on produce being shipped to your local stores. This means less trucks on the road and less greenhouse gas emissions.
- Less pesticides and herbicides – When you control the growing process, you can ensure that your food is grown organically. This is better for the earth and for you!
- Wildlife preservation – Growing your own garden has a great impact on local wildlife. By growing a garden, you are creating a habitat for insects and birds – smaller life forms that can have a positive impact on the ecosystem!
- Cleaner air – Photosynthesis. Remember that word from science class? In short, it means more oxygen given off and more carbon dioxide taken in. Who knew that planting a garden would mean cleaner air?
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Audrey Hepburn
Gardening is good for the soul
Research shows that gardening has a positive effect on one’s mental health. British researchers have discovered that a “friendly” bacteria commonly found in soil activates brain cells to produce serotonin. Serotonin is sometimes referred to as the “happy chemical,” because it gives us feelings of happiness and well-being.
Gardening is also a great way to relax and slow down. When your mind is spinning with things like work deadlines, finances, relationships and other stressors, gardening provides a healthy mental escape.
“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.” Jenny Uglow
Gardening is good for your health
As relaxing as gardening can be for your mental health, it can also provide a decent physical workout. Take a look at how many calories you can burn, according to WebMD, by getting down and dirty:
- Heavy yard work (landscaping, moving rocks, hauling dirt): 400-600 calories per hour
- Raking and bagging leaves: 350-450 calories per hour
- Gardening: pulling weeds, planting flowers, etc.: 200-400 calories per hour
- Mowing the lawn: 250-350 calories per hour
“Gardening is a medicine that does not need a prescription and has no limit on dosage.” Unknown
Gardening is good for your budget
If you garden right, you can have an abundance of fresh produce to last throughout the summer (or the year, depending on where you live). If you need a few ways to get started on a budget, here are some tips:
- Start with seeds – A packet of seeds is much more cost effective than purchasing several plants. Even better, find a neighbor to share seed packets with.
- Second hand garden tools – If you are just starting out, purchasing all new garden tools can be expensive. Ask friends or family members if they have any that they are no longer using, or purchase them second hand through your local online buy, sell or trade group.
- Start small – It’s easy to get carried away, but if you are a first time gardener, you might want to start by planting just a few things. One way to decide is to get the whole family involved and choose one of everyone’s favorites.
“Never underestimate the healing power of a quiet moment in the garden.” Unknown
Gardening is good for the family
Cultivating a garden provides many educational opportunities for the whole family. Children will sow an abundance of life lessons from a wide range of topics, including science, math and organization skills, just to name a few. According to one study, children who are involved in hands-on gardening demonstrate higher assessment scores in science. Of course one of the best benefits is time spent together and eating all of the results of your collaborative hard work!
“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden? Robert Brault
As you can see, there are many benefits to starting a garden. If you are a first-time gardener and would like to start small with a windowsill garden, check out our friend over at Going Zero Waste for some great ideas!