Why Should You Start Your Own Garden? Benefits and Best Practices
Maybe you’ve always wondered what it would be like to start your own garden, but aren’t sure where to begin, if you can plant in your backyard, or if it’s even worth the trouble. Gardening is more than just a hobby because it requires you to care for living things, so this is something that you’ll want to think about before jumping right in.
Whether you’ve done some gardening in the past and would like to get back into it, or even if you’ve never planted a seed in your life, you should still consider creating your own garden. Here are some of the benefits of gardening and how you can go about creating your own garden.
Gardening Has Mental Health Benefits
You may not realize it, but gardening has a positive effect on your mental health. Studies have shown that gardening is one of the best stress-reducing activities, so it’s the perfect way to wind down after a long stressful day of work. Other research shows that gardening boosts mood, improves self-esteem, relieves anxiety, and lessens feelings of depression.
Gardening can also be a great group activity for those subject to social isolation, such as older adults or those with disabilities. It’s also said to help decrease your risk for dementia as you age and help improve memory.
…And Physical Health Benefits
The physical health benefits of gardening are probably more obvious than the mental health benefits. First off, gardening exposes you to a healthier lifestyle because you’re able to grow natural, whole foods right in your backyard! This can decrease your likelihood of going to the grocery store for produce where you can be tempted to buy processed foods.
Next, gardening can help your body fight off diseases. This is because the majority of gardening is done outside, exposing you to sunlight, and allowing your skin to soak in more vitamin D. Vitamin D is known to strengthen the bones and the immune system, and can lower your risk of developing certain cancers and multiple sclerosis (MS). Just remember to use your sunscreen!
Finally, and maybe the most surprising fact, gardening provides you with a light form of exercise. Gardening isn’t just the involvement of fine motor (small muscle) movements, as shoveling, raking, and chopping wood takes great strength and will even cause you to break a sweat. In fact, gardening can be considered moderate exercise, increasing your heart rate, building muscle, and giving you a better night’s sleep from all of that hard work.
It Doesn’t Have to be Outside
If you have a health condition that prevents you from being outside too long or your backyard isn’t suitable for a garden, you’ll be happy to know that indoor gardening is a trend that’s catching on. This is also a great way to “get your feet wet” with gardening before attempting to create one outdoors.
Indoor gardening is also beneficial to your mental and physical health. The same vegetables, fruit, and herbs can be grown indoors, and you’ll still experience less stress and an improved mood. Also, plants help promote good indoor air quality, which helps you breathe better indoors.
It’s Okay if You Don’t Know Where to Start
Gardening isn’t always as easy as it looks, so it’s okay if you’re overwhelmed and have no idea where to begin. However, there are some basic things that you can do if you’re wanting to start an outdoor garden, such as taking care of your lawn. Successful gardening starts with proper lawn care, and there are services available that can help you when you don’t know where to start.
How to Start a Garden
Here are some quick tips on how to start your own backyard garden. Many of these tips depend on where you live, so further research is required.
- Determine your climate zone so you’ll know which plants are best to grow in your
- Choose the best gardening location— which may be indoors for some.
- Buy the basic gardening equipment and tools, then upgrade as you become more
knowledgeable on gardening.
- Test your soil to learn its pH and if it's deficient in any minerals.
- Build your garden bed.
- Buy and plant your seeds!
- Maintain and care for your plants/flowers/etc.
The benefits of gardening are endless and it only comes with a small cost (i.e., buying the gardening tools and equipment). You can get creative with your garden, plant whatever you want (if your environment allows for it), and you can even plant indoors!