Tending a garden is about more than just growing tasty food and beautiful flowers, although those are certainly two good reasons to start working on developing a green thumb. It’s a deeply satisfying activity that confers benefits not just on gardeners, but also their communities and the natural world. Read on to find out about 10 of the things avid gardeners appreciate the most about their rewarding hobby.
1. Create a Personalized, Private Outdoor Oasis
Well-tended gardens are a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the natural world. They’re also highly personal environments that can be easily customized to complement gardeners’ unique personalities and preferences.
It takes a while to get the hang of choosing seeds or starts and developing an ideal schedule, but nurturing healthy plant communities is easier than the average gardening-initiate thinks. Weed and feed and other specialized products make keeping invasive plants at bay and maintaining optimal health in beneficial species simple, even for those without any background in gardening.
2. Connect With Nature
Gardeners experience an intimate connection with the natural world. Those who choose to focus on native plants can even get a helping hand from Mother Nature when it comes to nurturing flowers, vegetables, and other goodies. Even starting a simple vegetable or herb garden is a great excuse to get outside, get those fingers in the dirt, and start paying attention to what’s going on in the natural world.
3. Elevate Mental Wellbeing
The modern world can be confusing, overwhelming, and even downright scary at times, so it should come as no surprise that many people struggle with mental health. According to scientists, gardening may be just what overworked and overstressed populations need to get their mental wellbeing back on track. It can help people relax, increase confidence, and manage stress.
4. There’s Always Something to Learn
Plants make fantastic teachers, and gardeners know how to listen to them. They develop and hone key life skills like patience, hard work, and determination. Caring for plants can also help to nurture empathy and make gardeners of all ages feel more empowered. More metaphysical lessons aside, there’s always something new to learn from plants. Gardeners who have already learned the basics can try new propagation techniques, plant unusual species, or try their hand at advanced cultivation methods.
5. Gardening Supports Physical Health
Planting and tending a garden takes some work, and that’s a good thing. It gets gardeners out of their houses and into their yards to take on activities like digging, weeding, and harvesting. All that work pays off in the form of improved physical health. Gardeners won’t just be burning calories, either. It can also help to keep high blood pressure under control and act as a complementary therapy to many conventional and alternative medical treatments.
6. Help the Environment
So far, this article has focused on how gardening benefits the people growing plants. Gardeners aren’t the only ones who benefit from making extra space from nature, though. A well-designed garden can also help the local ecosystem by attracting beneficial insects, providing food for birds in the form of sacrificial crops, and creating shade for all kinds of creatures. Gardeners who want to do everything they can to help the environment and give back to nature may want to look into organic gardening practices to avoid negative ecosystem disruptions.
7. Get Fresh, Healthy Food
Most people get the bulk of their food, including produce, from local grocery stores, and few realize exactly how long it takes for those fruits and veggies to get from the farm to their refrigerators or pantries. The difference in taste and nutrient levels between store-bought veggies and home-grown varieties is huge. All it will take is one taste of freshly picked lettuce, strawberries, or tomatoes to convert even hesitant gardeners into avid enthusiasts. In many cases, perfectly ripe, garden-fresh food isn’t just tastier, either. It’s also more nutrient-dense.
8. A Chance to Share the Wealth
Once gardeners get their feet on the ground and their hands in the dirt, they’ll start producing more food and flowers than they really need in no time. The excess plants and garden products make great gifts. Recipients will be grateful for a chance to share the wealth, and gift-givers will love having a good source of tasty, thoughtful, and nearly free gifts for friends and family members. Some gardeners even save seeds or take cuttings from their best-performing crops and give them to other plant enthusiasts in their neighborhoods.
9. Build Relationships Through Shared Activity
Gardening is a great hobby for building relationships with partners, family members, and friends. It’s also a perfect intergenerational activity. While most of today’s children know little about how to grow and harvest food, grandparents across the world have a wealth of knowledge regarding traditional cultivation techniques. Heading out into the garden with little ones gives people of all ages the chance to share their knowledge and experience while they bond with those they love.
10. Get Some Sun
Getting out into the sunlight and the fresh air supports both physical and mental wellbeing. The sun is a great source of natural Vitamin D, an essential nutrient for maintaining a healthy immune system. Just keep in mind that most experts recommend that gardeners wear sunscreen or a broad-brimmed hat if they plan to spend all day outside tending their plants. Alternatively, leave the sunscreen behind and try to divide time between outdoor tasks and those that can be performed in the shade of a garden shed.
It’s Almost Time to Get Planting
Those who are new to the wonderful world of gardening may not realize this, but it’s best to start planning for the upcoming year in the winter. Get started choosing plants, sourcing seeds, and coming up with a garden design now and try to find a greenhouse or a sunny window for seed germination sometime in February to extend the growing season. Plenty of advanced planning will help to ensure that the plants get a good start in life and give gardeners something to look forward to during the coldest days of winter.