We all know gardening can be good for us when it comes to the beautiful flowers or delicious vegetables that are produced. But gardening is also good for the mind, body, and soul. It’s a great form of exercise and has mental health benefits galore. In fact, many addiction rehabilitation centers feature gardens, since having a hobby, exercising, and spending time outdoors are all beneficial to recovery, and gardening naturally blends all three.
Maybe you think gardening would be a great source of physical and mental exercise for you, but you've never been sure how to get started. Or maybe you’re not in a position to have your own garden yet. Chances are that there are local resources that would be more than happy to help.
Volunteering at a local botanical garden is one way to get your hands dirty and become familiar with gardening in general. For anyone who lacks experience, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about gardening and help your community, both of which equate to a boost in your mental well-being.
Of course, having a garden of your own is another way to boost your health. Getting outside and working in your own backyard is a great way to get a workout, improve your mental health, and make sure you and your family have delicious, healthy food to consume for most of the year (or the whole year if you brush up on preservation techniques!). While any efforts you make in the garden are worthwhile, there are some ways to maximize your gardening strategies for better overall health and wellness.
Make your vegetable garden healthier and more beautiful
Growing your own vegetables at home is a great way to set you and your family on a healthy path, as you can control exactly what goes into your plants, when you harvest, and what specific veggies you choose to grow. On the whole, families that have a home garden eat more vegetables.
Be wary of using any sort of non-organic plant food, fertilizers, and pesticides, however. If you must buy fertilizer and plant food, make sure you’re buying certified organic, water-soluble varieties. Making your own fertilizers from common household items is one way to maximize the health benefits of your veggies. Banana peels, egg shells, cooking water, powdered milk, and even hair (yes, hair) are all things that can compost and help give nutrients to your vegetable plants.
One of the benefits of a flower garden is the tranquility you get from its beauty, and many people don’t think of a vegetable garden as sporting that same sort of beauty. But that’s nonsense. Veggie gardens can be just as beautiful as long as you plant smartly. Here are some great tips on making your vegetable garden beautiful.
Maximize the stress-busting quality of your garden
Gardening is a known stress-reliever. Getting outside and focusing on the care of living things is a proven way to boost your mental health. But there are ways to make your garden even more relaxing and maximize its stress-busting qualities. Populate your garden with cool colors like blues, purples, and greens, and use harsher colors like reds and oranges as accents only. Curved lines are more soothing that straight edges, so keep that in mind when designing your beds. Make sure your garden taps all of your senses - not just sight. Make sure you plant flowers that are fragrant and even some that are fun to touch (like lamb’s ear!). Check out these ways to relieve even more stress while gardening.
Maximize your workout while gardening
Despite what you may think, gardening can provide an excellent physical workout. Some activities in the garden like digging, raking, and moving large objects around can burn almost as many calories as a light jog. When you’re out in the garden getting a good workout, think about ways to make it really count. Don’t use stools or chairs, and don’t sit down when working in the dirt. Squat instead. Don’t pay someone to haul away large amounts of debris - get your wheelbarrow and do it yourself. Alternate your movements - do 15 minutes of raking, then 15 minutes of tilling, then 15 minutes of digging. This will act as a better all-around workout.
You don’t have to be a gardening expert with years of greenthumb experience to get the most out of your backyard garden. Design your garden in a way that is calming, tranquil, and mind-improving, tailor your veggie garden to produce healthy food, and add calorie-burning methods into maintaining it, and you’ll be on your way to maximizing your outdoor space for ultimate health and overall wellness.
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