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5 Benefits of Gardening

5 Benefits of Gardening

January 30, 2020

Up for trying a new hobby? One packed with benefits to your overall physical, mental and financial health? Consider gardening!

Here are just 5 of the benefits of gardening from our perspective. 

1) Improve your physical health

Studies show that gardening counts as your exercise for the day. In fact, the average gardener burns 330 calories in an hour of work. That’s equivalent to about a 3 mile jog! When you are doing something enjoyable, the physical exertion you will spend on the activity will seem far easier than exercise you may find boring like jogging on a treadmill. 

2) Improve your mental health

Gardening has a variety of mental health benefits. One study shows that the simple activity of gardening can decrease the risk of dementia by up to 36%!

In addition, gardening outside allows you to receive a healthy dose of Vitamin D which is widely proven to produce a ton of health benefits including improving your immune system, reducing stress, and even helping the strength of your bones. Gardening has also been shown to improve your mood, even more than other hobbies including reading! 

3) You can sell what you produce

My grandparents lived in a small town in the midwest, and my grandpa had the BEST garden. Some of my best memories as a child was visiting Grandpa and Grandma's house because, while the grownups would talk in the living room, my siblings and I would sneak out and head straight for Grandpa's garden. As we would excitedly run back to the garden we would anticipate what we might find. Of course we would eat it all. There was nothing better than Grandpa's fresh produce, straight off the plant. Grandpa grew the best raspberries, strawberries, peas, green beans, corn, you name it. He even grew tomatoes even though he hated tomatoes. And when it came time for halloween, forget going to a pumpkin patch, grandpa had his very own pumpkin patch and always had pumpkins for the kids to carve. 

One thing that Grandpa did was he set out his extra produce in a stand on the side of the road. It was a HIT. Grandpa lived on a busy stretch of road and people in this small town would stop by Grandpa's fresh produce stand daily on their way to and from work to see what was there. It was an honor system. He would set out a cash buck and expect people to be honest about what they took. Of course, in small town America you can often get by with that. Everyone knows everyone! It was a great way to make a little extra money, and Grandpa LOVED getting out and chatting with his customers and neighbors. He took great pride in that garden and the food it produced. 

4) You can save on your grocery bills

This might go without saying, if you garden, you can eat what you grow. You can also barter with your produce. Maybe there is a neighbor who grows another type of food and the two of you can work out a trade. If you have a surplus of tomatoes, for example, you could trade with someone else in the area who has a surplus of onions. To help you identify these opportunities, you might consider utilizing social media. Post about it in your local Facebook group. Or start your own Facebook group specifically for this purpose and invite your friends to participate. You might be surprised at how involved people become! 

5) You can rent out your space

If you have the extra space, you might consider renting out a plot. It could be a great way to make some more money from your garden area, while at the same time meeting other people and sharing ideas and building community.

The bottom line is, we’ve only covered 5 reasons, but it is clear that gardening can improve your life. Gardening is good for your health and wellness, and can even help promote community, and improve your finances.

If you’re looking for a new hobby in 2020, consider gardening!

For all the gardeners out there, let’s hear from you! Leave a comment about why you garden and what benefits you see from it!

Update 7-2-2020: We received a comment from a reader and it was so good we had to share it! Thank you, Peggy!

Peggy Reilly: I'm convinced that my garden & gardening efforts brings me valuable contact with a variety of neighbors or their relatives who are walking by. The garden & patio run the length the front of my ranch style condo unit. It's unique to the community, & the envy of several, I'm convinced.

When I purchased my "condo" the front patio area (with L shaped flower bed) also had a grassy strip/area opposite the patio area. The prior owner (an elderly woman who was an original owner) had a dog at one time, & she made arrangements with the landscape designers to have a grassy area for her dog. They even installed a couple of sprinkler heads to water this grass. I didn't want to have to mow/trim the grass; I wanted to have a garden in this area, so I dug up the sod. I tried to plant it in some grass-less areas nearby, but I don't think it "took" due to the shade & effects of a pine tree. Perhaps some of it did take root under an ash. This traditional garden rectangle is approx. 3' x 18', & a rock area runs parallel to it, allowing me to walk beside the garden. The area is surrounded by a wood/siding fence. I've met many neighbors by just tending to the garden, watering it, dead-heading the flowers, transplanting, harvesting, etc. 

I can also add that my green thumb & gardening is giving me an opportunity to serve a new neighbor who has been feeding the wildlife that are my enemy & also opposing the regs of our HOA/community, and I have told him recently that I am hoping to rid the area of these critters which have been a problem. (I do not expect that I can actually do so.) He somewhat defiantly feeds them; he said he liked to watch & feed them. I've felt the tension due to his hobby & wondered what may result if he discontinues the practice.

Tonight as I had a chance to speak cordially with his wife, I offered to water their deck container garden while they go out of town for a long holiday weekend. They had no one to do so, & she had supposed that things would simply die while they were gone. An opportunity to serve a couple who are not helping, but hindering, our area/homes by feeding wildlife & to perhaps repair the relationship to a small degree.

A related benefit of gardening has been to (cuttings, ideas, encouragement for their own gardens, seed pods, produce for salads, & a few flowers) to my neighbors. I can also include a few accessories (that I accumulated to help the climbing plants) have been given or offered as loans to my neighbors. This allows for building relationships, making people feel valuable to receive gifts, & planting seed of a different sort. I could add in this paragraph that I've been the recipient of some produce, tips & ideas.Hope you can get some dirt on your hands during the upcoming long weekend. -- Peggy