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Gardening: good for body and soul

Vaseline 3 months ago


April is National Garden Month

April is National Garden Month. One of the many benefits of gardening is spending time strengthening bonds between people and sharing joy, says David Trinklein, a horticulturist with the University of Missouri Extension. (Photo: Filip Urban, Unsplash)

COLUMBIA, Mo. – April is National Garden Month and a great time to start a garden, says horticulturist David Trinklein of the University of Missouri Extension. Whether purely for food production or beautifying the residential landscape, gardening is one of the most popular activities among households in the United States. For those who lack motivation to garden, consider the following benefits this popular pastime offers.

Economic. Vegetable gardening is an excellent way to save on the family’s food bill, Trinklein said. The National Gardening Association estimates that a well-maintained vegetable garden produces an average return of $500 per year. Multiplied by the number of vegetable gardens in the country, the association estimates that American food gardeners produce more than $21.6 billion worth of vegetables annually.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to benefit economically from gardening. Intensive (square meter) gardening is an effective way to get significant economic benefits from small spaces. A recent study by Burpee Seed Co. shows that $50 spent on garden supplies can be turned into $1,250 worth of produce annually. This twentyfold return on investment was also documented by a national survey conducted several years ago.

Health. Digging, hoeing, raking and other gardening tasks are great forms of exercise. The average gardener burns between 300 and 400 calories per hour while gardening. To expend the same number of calories, you would have to walk about 4 miles at a fairly fast pace. “Someone once remarked, ‘gardening is a labor of love; a treadmill is just labor,” Trinklein said. Research has also shown that gardening reduces stress, which can lead to several types of health problems.

Gardening is good for your health because it also provides nutritional benefits. “Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is known to be important for good health,” he said. “The availability of fresh, cheap produce from the family garden is conducive to maintaining good dietary habits and sometimes forces greater vegetable consumption. It has been documented that children are much more likely to consume vegetables that they have grown themselves than vegetables that they have bought in the supermarket.”

Psychic. By connecting people to nature, gardening tends to restore our mood and make us feel good about ourselves, Trinklein said. Simply being surrounded by growing plants and blooming flowers is a way to become immersed in another world and a distraction from the stresses and demands of life. Working with plants tends to distract from other problems in life and gives people the opportunity to achieve a level of peace and enjoyment that often eludes us in our technology-based society, he said.

Creating and caring for a flower or vegetable garden also provides a sense of satisfaction without unreasonable expectations that society often imposes on us. This is one of the reasons why many hospitals and healthcare facilities now offer plant therapy (horticultural therapy), recognizing the healing power of plants.

Environment. Gardens benefit our planet in many ways. They reduce our ‘carbon footprint’ by growing food locally rather than having it delivered from distant locations. “Plants absorb carbon dioxide during food production, helping to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases,” says Trinklein. Gardens help minimize soil erosion by slowing the runoff of rainfall and allowing it to infiltrate into the soil more slowly. Additionally, gardens serve as a food source and gathering place for many species of wildlife, such as butterflies and birds.

Social. Collaboration strengthens the bonds between people. Gardening represents a universal language that can strengthen family relationships and is a wonderful way for generations of family members to interact, Trinklein said. Perhaps the most valuable product of a garden is the pleasure you experience when working with family and friends.

Gardening can also help bring communities closer together, negating any differences between different groups. Trinklein notes that research has shown that community gardens and urban forests lead to less crime and domestic violence in cities. Even corporate America is considering the benefits of surrounding people with plants, as it emphasizes the importance of landscaping business parks.

Educational. Gardening is a learning experience; every year gardens offer different challenges to solve. Gardening can encourage children and adults to become more curious about their surroundings and nature. “It’s a great way to teach young people the joy that can come from work and that positive results don’t always come immediately in life,” said Trinklein. Gardens make us more aware of our senses by stimulating sight, smell and touch. They have the ability to motivate people in many different ways and serve as creative inspiration.

According to Trinklein, gardens and gardening remind us of everything that is good about life: the beauty of nature, the feeling of pride and satisfaction when we have done something productive, and the realization that our efforts help us improve ourselves and our society. and our environment. “For those of you who are gardeners, best wishes for the coming growing season – enjoy it while it lasts,” Trinklein said. “For those who aren’t, there’s no better time than now to start.”

— MU extension