Not all of us can claim a natural affinity with gardening but here are some compelling reasons to develop one.
Gardening doesn’t have to mean tilling acres of land to produce enough food to feed the whole town; you can start with a simple 1 x 1 metre raised garden bed or even a Styrofoam box on your balcony. The important thing is to just start. Here are five reasons why gardening has just become your next top priority.
It is no secret that obesity is on the rise in developed countries including Australia. We suffer because of the very conveniences that make our life so good: TV, wi-fi, cars, mobile phones, the list goes on. Unlike generations before us whose lives were naturally more active, we have to work to fit exercise into our lives. Look no further, gardening is a great source of physical activity: squatting to pick weeds, walking back and forward from your compost heap, carrying heavy bags of fertiliser over your shoulder and raking the soil for a bonus upper body workout. Never looked at it that way, did you?
Many studies have been done, particularly with children, on the nutritional benefits of gardening. Studies have consistently found that children who are involved in gardening not only eat more vegetables, they also eat a wider range of vegies, recognise more and are willing to taste a bigger variety of vegetables. This not only affects them now but has been shown to correlate with better vegetable consumption as an adult.
Find out how to plant a vegetable garden with your kids >>
It is commonly noted that gardening is a good stress reliever. A recent study compared the effectiveness of gardening against reading as a stress reducer and found that gardening won hands down. Even hospitals are encouraging gardening as a way to help lower stress and improve social interaction among patients in their facilities.
While the thought of getting your nails dirty might initially drive you away from gardening, the wholesome feeling of being up close and personal with nature is difficult to refuse… especially once you discover a cute pair of gardening gloves. Studies have found that people who regularly participate in gardening have a stronger connection with the earth and more positive attitudes about environmental issues like pollution and sustainability.
Wow, the list is long in this category, where do we begin? Gardening provides an opportunity for different generations to come together and learn together or from each other and can create a lifelong passion. It has actually been shown to improve science test scores for kids who are into gardening and more generally develops patience, responsibility and relationship skills.