The importance of gardening in our life goes beyond getting flavorful food and having a ready supply of fresh produce. Did you know that tasks like digging can help you burn up to 200 calories within 30 minutes?
Gardening is also an excellent stress buster, so much so that it’s been found to be more effective at combating stress than other leisure activities. Personally, I have found gardening to be very therapeutic. After spending hours glued to my computer screen, nothing gives me more relief than tending my garden as I enjoy the fragrance of lavender and sage.
It is these advantages of gardening that I wish to share with you on this post. Read on to learn how you can benefit from starting your own garden.
- 1 Eat healthier
- 2 Keep fit
- 3 Help The Environment
- 4 Gardening is good for the soul
- 5 Garden Design 101
- 6 Conclusion
An easy way to boost your health is to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
According to the Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the recommended intake is 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit every day. This way, you are more likely to get the necessary nutrients. But the sad fact is that only 1 out of 10 Americans eat enough fruit or vegetables.
Gardening makes it easy to adopt healthy eating habits because it gives you a constant supply of nutrient-filled fruits and vegetables. Thus, you can meet your nutritional requirements, as well as eliminate the risk of eating vegetables that contain toxic chemicals from pesticides.
It’s easy to belittle gardening as a physical activity – until you spend hours trimming hedges, deadheading, or pruning. The amount of effort it takes to do such gardening tasks is enough to work up a sweat.
In fact, a recent study by the CDC shows that you can burn up to 330 calories with an hour of light gardening. This is a higher calorie count than you’d lose if you were lifting weights for the same duration.
The following chart shows how many calories you’re likely to burn with 30 minutes of different gardening activities. This data is based on a study carried out by Harvard Medical School:
|Gardening task \ Calories burned in 30-minute activity||125-pound person||155-pound person||185-pound person|
|Planting bulbs and small plants||120||149||178|
|Raking a lawn||120||149||178|
|Mowing a lawn||165||205||244|
|Bagging leaves or grass clippings||120||149||178|
Help The Environment
The environment plays an integral part in our everyday life. The state of the environment is very much a hot topic these days and we all need to do our part to try to save it. One way to conserve the environment is through gardening as mentioned here. Here are some of its environmental benefits:
Reduces synthetic fertilizer usage
When you grow your own fruit and vegetables, you have control over the amount and type of fertilizer you use in your garden.
What this means is that you can avoid the risks associated with using excess amounts of synthetic fertilizers. A good example of a potentially harmful fertilizer is the nitrogen-based type. Overusing this fertilizer results in increased emissions of nitrous oxide – a compound that has roughly 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
Uses more eco-friendly yard tools
When examining the environmental effects of commercially produced fruit and vegetables, most people only focus on the food itself. We can easily forget that the equipment used in large-scale farming is just as important.
Gardening gives you the freedom of choosing environmentally-friendly equipment. This way, you can avoid gas-powered machinery that not only contributes to air pollution but also increases the use of a non-renewable energy source – petroleum.
The EPA reports that nearly 54 million Americans mow their lawns every weekend. This results in the use of 800 million gallons of gasoline every year.
An article by People Powered Machines seems to support this information. Based on their research, operating just one gas-powered mower for an hour emits as many pollutants as driving 11 new cars at 55 mph for the same amount of time.
The good news is, you can prevent all of this by investing in battery-powered or electric gardening equipment. A good example of such an equipment is the Sun Joe TJ603E Electric Tiller and Cultivator.
Powered by a 12-amp motor, this machine delivers the same performance as its gas-powered counterparts. The only difference is that this tiller has zero emissions. The fact that it doesn’t use any gas or oil also means it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
Converts your garden into a carbon sink
What is a carbon sink? Well, it simply means using your garden to store carbon while improving soil health in the process. As a result, a smaller portion of carbon is released into the atmosphere as CO2.
So how does this happen? Well, whenever plants decompose, a big fraction of the carbon they contain is transferred to the soil.
During decomposition, organisms in the soil break down organic matter from the dead plants. This process converts part of the carbon in the organic matter to CO2, which is then released into soil pore spaces. Thus, a higher portion of CO2 remains in the soil, compared to the portion being released into the atmosphere.
To make the most of this strategy, experts recommend that you plow, till, and dig less frequently. The reason for this is that these tasks tend to expose soil microorganisms to high amounts of sunlight. This, in turn, speeds up the loss of the stored carbon into the atmosphere.
In cities where this problem is especially acute, rooftop gardens help a lot. Learn how to make one in this post.
Composts food scraps and garden trimmings
Another benefit of gardening is that you’re able to dispose of garden waste more efficiently. For instance, you can turn trimmings, grass clippings, and food scraps into compost.
This means that less waste ends up in the landfill, where it emits powerful greenhouse gases, like methane. Like nitrous oxide, methane is 84 times more toxic than CO2 when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere.
If you’re not sure of how to go about composting, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shared some useful hacks to get you started. You can also invest in a compost machine.
The way the composter from the video below works is that you fill the barrel with organic waste – like grass clippings and food scraps – and then turn it five to six times every two or three days.
The equipment uses a tumbling mechanism to aerate the waste, breaking it down faster so you can use it in your garden.
Gardening is good for the soul
Another reason why gardening is important is that it takes us away from the hustle and bustle of life. It’s a nice way to take a break and engage in creating something new.
Some of the virtues you can learn from gardening are:
A lot of the suffering we experience stems from trying to control things that we simply can’t. If we can instead accept that some things are out of our control, we’ll have more peace of mind. Gardening can help us practice this.
While you can put your best efforts into gardening, you can’t fully control the outcome. The weather can change drastically, causing your crops to wilt or ripen too quickly. Similarly, pests and diseases can wreak havoc on your plants.
While I don’t wish any of these scenarios on you, gardening teaches us a vital lesson through these experiences. That is the fact that we should let go of those things that we cannot control.
Develop a growth mindset
Gardening provides an avenue to learn continuously. If you plant something and it doesn’t pan out, don’t wallow in sadness. Use this as a learning opportunity, so you can avoid similar mistakes in the future.
I have had my fair share of gardening failures. One time I tried a new seeding method and ended up with a crowded garden bed. This caused most of the crops to dry up too quickly and experience nutrient deficiencies.
Initially, I was really stressed about it since I’d spent a lot of resources and time. But, at the end of the day, I learned how to space plants properly.
Beat chronic stress
Have you been looking for the ultimate stress-buster? Gardening is your best bet. A study conducted in the Netherlands suggests that gardening is better at relieving stress than other activities.
In the experiment, two groups were assigned different tasks after completing a tedious activity. The first group was asked to read indoors, while the other group took part in gardening.
The individuals who were asked to garden felt better than those who read. They also exhibited lower levels of cortisol – a stress hormone.
Helps you interact with others
Few activities improve our well-being more than healthy relationships and gardening presents numerous opportunities to connect with others.
Gardening is also a great bonding activity for families. Kids love playing in the dirt and usually enjoy tasks like digging, planting seeds, and pulling out weeds.
And don’t let limited space prevent you from gardening with your kids! You can garden even if you have limited space in your home. Simply plant in containers or pots. You can then place them on your balcony or any other strategic place that has access to direct sunlight.
If you’re still on the fence about starting a kitchen garden, perhaps this point can help: you’ll save a significant amount of money!
On the surface, it might seem like gardening costs more than buying store produce. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. As HowStuffWorks explains, a well-cared-for garden measuring 4 by 8 feet can help you save $600 in food expenses over just one summer season.
For instance, one $1.50 pack of tomato or pepper seeds will yield 6 to 100 times the amount of produce that you’d buy from a grocery store for the same amount of money.
And you can save tons of money by growing your own herbs. It’s easier than you think. You can start with mint; check our tutorial here.
Want more tips on how to save money when gardening? Check out this great video:
Garden Design 101
Adding a garden to your landscape can not only add to your curb appeal but it can also be a fun and relaxing hobby.
If gardening is something you want to do, the first step is deciding the layout of your garden. This decision is based on the landscape of your yard and how you want to use it, and a good start to this is deciding where you want your focal points to be.
Next, you need to think about what types of plants you want to use.
This decision is based on the colors you want to accentuate, your geographical area, whether you have any preferences for the shape of your plants and flowers, and any size requirements you may have. It is also a good idea to plant trees and shrubs that will bring color to your garden at different times of the year.
Before you commit to a garden, it is also important to make sure you are fully aware of the care it will require.
Your garden should be in an area that receives sunlight and it is important to keep your plants watered. So before you begin planting, make sure you do your research so that your garden will give you the look that you want and flourish all year long.
For more information and tips, Garden Goods Direct has created an infographic highlighting garden design.
Check it out below.
For centuries, health experts have urged consumers to grow their own garden and for good reasons.
Gardening gives you an infinite supply of nutrient-rich food. More importantly, it helps you conserve the environment by choosing eco-friendly raw materials and equipment.
This activity also helps you get much-needed exercise. Activities like removing weeds and planting can burn between 200 and 400 calories per half-hour.
Lastly, gardening is good for your soul. It reduces stress, teaches you to be accepting, and trains you to learn from your mistakes.
You even don’t need a big garden – you can have a small one on your patio or balcony.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that you better understand the importance of gardening in our life. How has gardening enriched your life? I’d love to hear your comments below. And don’t forget to share this article if you think it might be of benefit to anyone you know!