Why you Need a Garden this Spring: Your Guide to Summer Gardening Success

Trying to decide if you should have a garden this summer? While a little bit of weeding and pruning might not appear to be the most energetic of activities, studies reveal that gardening goes way beyond providing an excellent workout. It also has tremendous therapeutic benefits such as reducing anxiety and pain.

Research shows that prolonged light exercise, like gardening, can burn more calories when compared to a gym session, in spite of feeling much simpler to do. This physical exercise, in combination with spending some time outdoors being creative and productive, has added benefits of improving mood and self-esteem.

After reading through this guide, the real question will be: Why wouldn’t you want to garden?!

Ground with composed set of tools
Start a garden this summer.

Surprising ways gardening can benefit you.

It encourages weight loss.

Treadmills, Zumba, biking, digging, planting, watering, mowing, weeding and pruning are all great activities for losing weight. In fact just around 30 minutes in the garden can burn between 150 to 300 calories. If you are thinking about gardening, this a great way to improve your health in more than one facet!

It can help with pain management.

Amazingly, research has shown that even images and recordings of natural environments alone can can help manage pain and also improve healing times in hospital wards. Imagine what a little time spent actually being outside can do!

It offers nutritional benefits.

Gardening provides nutritional benefits to people who choose to plant a fruit, vegetable and/or herb garden. This is really a way of ensuring that there’s a continuous supply of fresh produce to consume.

Gardeners know exactly where their produce is coming from and what chemicals were used to cultivate the produce. Eating more home-grown produce is really a simple way to ensure that the body is getting high quality food for proper balance of vitamins and nutrients.

Related read: Backyard Gardening Basics

It benefits your heart health.

Gardening can promote strength, endurance, and flexibility; therefore increasing fitness levels as well as boosting the immune, respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

It cuts down stress.

It can be hard to find time to rest and escape from the worries of life. Having a garden can bring peace and allow you to enjoy an environment as nature intended. This helps cut down stress. Submerging yourself in nature boosts endorphins, which help you become more grounded, centered and relaxed.

It makes you happier.

Having your hands dirty in the garden has been shown to boost serotonin levels through contact with soil and specific soil bacteria. Serotonin is a chemical that helps control depression and improves our mood.

Furthermore, growing your own food in the garden releases a chemical known as dopamine which stimulates a state of mild euphoria. Dopamine can be released from even simple activities such as looking at growing fruit and vegetables, the scent and the action of picking them.

It saves you money.

Growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs can be very rewarding for your savings. Tomatoes are an excellent example of healthy food that can be simply grown at home on the cheap.

It provides you the benefits of sun exposure.

Vitamin D, also known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’ is a hormone produced by skin exposed to sunlight, which has been proven to act as a powerful inhibitor of abnormal cell growth. Cells in the colon, prostate, and breast have the same mechanisms for the D hormone. Sunshine is a mood booster too and it only takes 10-20 minutes per day to get these benefits!

It minimizes your exposure to toxins.

If you decide to garden organically, you are cutting down your exposure to pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals.

Long-term exposure to these chemicals has been linked to the development of cancers and many chronic health conditions. As for your digestive health, quitting these additives reduces the chances of a negative reaction to food that could otherwise cause significant (and chronic) digestive distress.

It contributes to gut health.

Organic soil is full of beneficial gut bacteria. Actually, 1 teaspoon of organic soil has millions of microbes. These soil microbes deliver essential nutrients for the plants, which they will uptake through their roots.

This process yields nutrient-rich foods with higher antioxidant levels, vitamins, and minerals. Seasonal foods also lead to healthy microbial diversity. In place of soaking and scrubbing garden-picked food, just wash it. A little leftover dirt and microbes will do your gut good!

Related read: Windowsill Herb Gardens

Hand planting young tree in nature in morning light

Simple gardening tips and tricks.

You really don’t need to make gardening a full-time hobby to get these benefits. Some simple secrets for planting a summer garden to eat seasonal, organic, and homegrown produce are:

Keep it simple.

Your garden doesn’t have to be complicated. Begin with only a few potted herbs or plants. Fresh herbs provide different health benefits while seasoning main dishes and salads.  

No patio? No problem. Try a window sill or get an indoor “sunlight.”

Buy organic seeds.

When you start your garden, ensure you buy organic seeds and soil. You can find these at a local store or even shop online. You can even buy worm castings (check with your local nursery), which have essential minerals and trigger plant growth.

Have fun.

Have fun with your garden or plants! Join a club or get your family involved. Community and laughter are all vital parts of curing the body and gut to optimize health.

Make smart buying choices.

If you can’t have your own garden, the following alternatives can also offer you fresh, organic, seasonal, locally grown food.

Local Co-Op: Co-Ops deliver local and seasonal foods in your community.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Buying a CSA share enables you the option to enjoy good-quality food that is grown close to home.

Farmers Market: Many cities have these nowadays.

Female hand holding tomato on organic farm

At the end of the day, you’ll not only get a beautiful garden but a healthy you.

Working in the garden is a great way to enjoy nature and a healthy, rewarding activity the whole family can participate in. When done regularly, you’ll not only yield a beautiful, healthy garden but a healthier you.

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