As I was watering my cherry tomato plant the other morning and marvelling at its beautiful little leaves, it struck me just how happy growing this little thing had made me. The windowsill in the kitchen currently has a few little things I’m growing. I quite frequently pop by to see how my little seedlings are getting on, and it just makes me so happy! I’ve also got a beautiful orange Lily plant outside, and I love checking on it to see how it’s getting on.
It got me thinking about the benefits of gardening, so I did a little bit of research and discovered just how vital gardening is for our bodies and mind. It’s excellent timing, too, as did you know that mental health awareness week is 10-16 May 2021? And the theme this year is nature!
So let’s learn about the importance of gardening!
It’s Great For Physical Health
Gardening is exercise. With all the weeding, pulling, pushing, bending, digging and lifting, you’re getting a right old good work out! Because of this, it helps;
- Reduce Stress
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Strengthen your heart
- Burn Calories
- Build endurance
- Strengthen muscles
Having lower blood pressure and a healthy heart reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. Also, being outside exposes you to sunlight and Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to our health as it helps keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Vitamin D can also help maintain your immune system.
Studies have also found that gardening can help people with dementia.
It’s Great For Mental Health
Gardening is great for helping to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. As I mentioned above, gardening is exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy!
Gardening gives you something to focus on. As you’re weeding, mowing the grass or potting plants, you focus on the task at hand. Your mind is less likely to have time to wander, compared to watching TV, for example. It can also help you keep a routine in place, which is brilliant for improving your mental health. If you find that you struggle when you don’t have a lot to do, adding watering, pruning or pulling weeds to your daily routine can really help.
Being out in the sunshine is great for boosting your Serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone that stabilises your mood and gives feelings of well-being, so it’s great for helping to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder. Serotonin also makes you feel calmer, and who doesn’t want that?
If you opt to grow vegetables, you’ll also end up eating better. You’re not going to want all your hard work looking after the vegetable patch to go to waste, will you?
Finally, all that exercise, sunshine and fresh air will do wonders for helping you sleep and night, and we all know how important sleep is for mental health!
It’s Great For Children
Getting kids to play outside can sometimes feel like an impossible task. So try giving them their own little section of the garden to look after. Make them responsible for watering the plants or vegetables, keeping it weed-free and general upkeep of the area.
Not only does it help children learn about food and where it comes from, but it will also give them a sense of pride and responsibility as they nurture the seedlings and watch them spring to life!
I have such happy memories of being at my nan’s house when I was a child and helping her in the greenhouse with her tomatoes. They give off a very distinct smell, so I often find myself giving the leaves of the tomato plants I’m growing a good sniff and being instantly transported back to that time.
It’s Great For Nature
Bugs and bees are essential for our environment. Without bees, the human race would not be able to survive! They hop from plant to flower to collect pollen to feed the hive. Whilst they do this for food, it also cross-pollinates, which is excellent for plants and wildflowers.
Bees are able to pollenate on a vast scale, and many fruits and vegetables actually rely on the bees!
For a few years now, I have seen advice all over social media saying that you should feed tired bees some sugar water. Although this will do in a pinch, it’s not actually too great for the bee. Sugar water is basically junk food for bees! If you see a bee on the floor, the best thing to do is find a daisy or dandelion and place it close to the bee. He will find his way there and get what’s he needs before moving on. For more information, check out this article by The Little Honey Bee Company.
What If I Don’t Have A Garden?
Just because you don’t have a garden, it doesn’t mean that you have to go without! You could invest in a window planter box to hang outside your home. You could also check your local area to see if there any community gardens that you could join or pay for an allotment. The community garden has the bonus of being able to socialise with people (if you want to!)
And there we have the importance of gardening! Whether you are gardening as a hobby or gardening for mental health, I’m sure you will agree, there are many, many health benefits! I am a complete beginner, but I cannot wait to learn more!
The great thing about gardening is that you don’t need a massive space or even a garden to do it! Wikipedia defines gardening as “…the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture.” It doesn’t mention anything about needing an outdoor space (although it does help!)
I haven’t always been obsessed with gardening, it’s only since we started subscribing to Mud and Bloom, and I got those first tomato seeds. Before that, all I had was a rose bush and olive tree that I’ve been growing for around eight years (they’re incredibly easy to look after!) Still, I’m looking forward to expanding on what I’m already growing and having a little vegetable garden. I have all the seeds waiting to go, carrots, beetroot, radish, lettuce and spring onion. I just need my husband to make the raised garden bed now!
If you enjoy gardening, I recommend following Lisa’s Notebook. She has inspired me to start growing lavender so I can make my own lavender tea! Lisa grows the most beautiful plants and flowers. She also shares monthly updates on her garden and gives advice. Plus, she’s really lovely! It must be something about the name *wink wink*.