11 Reasons Why You Need Gardening in Your Life
Look, I know what you might be thinking:
“Gardening, eh? That’s a hobby for older people.”
“I have no space for gardening in my urban apartment.”
Or what about,
“I don’t have green fingers; I’ve killed every plant I owned.”
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
I wasn’t born a gardener. I came to gardening or growing things gradually, over time.
When I was a teenager, I thought I had the opposite of green fingers because I had an indoor plant or two that died on my windowsill. Later, in my twenties, I had another shot at growing things, this time from seed. Most of my attempts failed but I had some success with herbs and got very excited at being able to grow things that I could actually eat. Now, at age 41, I am a complete addict.
But wait, can’t I just buy those things in the supermarket?
Well, yeah, you can, but hear me out. There are so many reasons why you should give gardening a try and I’m going to list some of them here.
- Gardening is like meditation.
There is something about gardening that slows down the mind and makes you feel content. It doesn’t seem to matter what task you are doing out there, it has the same effect.
Whether it is weeding, planting, pruning, checking seedlings or something else, it has a way of calming the mind and bringing about a sense of well-being.
It gets you in the zone.
I had always been interested in the positive effects of meditation but had found it really difficult to still my mind through traditional methods. Little did I know that something as simple as gardening would do the trick.
It keeps me in the present moment and helps me to forget the stresses of the day. It also helps with my creativity.
I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden. ~John Erskine
2. Gardening develops patience.
In our modern world we have ever decreasing attention spans and an expectation that everything happens almost immediately.
Email, fast food, binge watching TV series on Netflix, instant messenger, the list goes on. So much for us is now just a click away, but not so in the garden.
With plants we have to wait.
This is especially true when growing plants or trees from seeds.
I have been growing trees from seed by pre-treating them in the fridge and then planting them indoors or outside. Some of those trees have a pre-treatment period of over 60 weeks. That means I have to wait over a year for some of them to be even ready to plant! I can tell you that this definitely develops patience.
But the best part about it is the reward that comes at the end. When I check on those seeds and see that, over a year later, one has germinated it’s like winning a prize. And when you’ve waited that long for something to sprout, it fosters a real enthusiasm about caring for that plant as best you can.
Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
— May Sarton
3. There are tasty rewards in store.
For those supermarket fans out there who argue that convenience wins over all this patience and work let me say this:
Nothing in the stores will taste as good as what you will get from your own garden.
It’s especially true with things like tomatoes or garlic, and I love tomatoes and garlic!
Even if you only have a windowsill to grow a couple of pots, it’s worthwhile sowing your own herbs and using them in your cooking. You can even grow vegetables in small pots indoors. A quick search online will show you the possibilities and trust me, your taste buds will thank you.
Creating your own urban farm is as simple as planting your flowerbeds with edibles. ~Greg Peterson, My Ordinary Extraordinary Yard: The Story of the Urban Farm
4. You know exactly what your food was treated with.
For me, this is incredibly important. I try to buy organic when I can but organic food can be expensive and it isn’t always available when you need it.
At least with my own food I can be sure that no nasty pesticides have been used on it and that eating it isn’t doing harm to bees or the environment.
I also happen to think that gardening could end up being an indispensable skill of the future with reports of our unsustainable large scale farming practices and their effect on the planet.
5. Gardening helps you to appreciate all four seasons.
Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. ~Marcelene Cox
There is beauty and necessity in the different times of the year and gardening helps you to appreciate every single one of them. It also makes you more aware of the cycles of life, death and rebirth in nature.
I have definitely become much more aware of the changing seasons and the life all around me since I started gardening. Having this sense of awareness really helps you to appreciate the beauty in nature and to appreciate all of the weather, especially the rain!
6. Science has proven that gardening heals.
Scientists have undertaken studies that prove gardening is good for the health.
It is even being used in the form of horticultural therapy to support people with mental health issues, depression, rehabilitation needs, people with disabilities, people recovering from substance abuse, ex-prisoners, the elderly and many others.
It has been found to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, risk of stroke, depression, risk of Alzheimer’s and stress whilst increasing self-esteem, confidence, dexterity, memory and physical strength.
It’s an all-round positive activity.
Check out this video about Therapeutic Gardening in Brighton and Hove, England:
7. It’s exercise!
And if the above list of benefits wasn’t enough for you, don’t forget that gardening counts as exercise with some tasks really working the body more than others like digging holes, planting and weeding.
For those who are interested, check out this link on how many calories are burned in a variety of gardening activities.
8. Plants and flowers look and smell beautiful.
It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
One of the great things about gardening is that there is such a vast array of beauty in the plant world and you are sure to find something that you like.
Whether you like flowers or aromatic herbs, trees or ferns, fungus or vegetables, just choose what you like and grow it. Your senses will thank you.
9. It’s good to get outside.
Whether it’s for the fresh air or for the vitamin D, there is no denying that getting outside, especially outside in nature is good for the soul.
We spend so much of our time inside, in front of screens. It’s undeniably beneficial when we take a break from that routine and get to experience the sights and smells of being outside.
And guess what? It’s also proven to have many health benefits as you would expect.
10. It gives you something to look forward to.
Having a harvest to look forward to, a seedling to watch out for, a tree to plant out, flowers to watch bloom. There are so many things to look forward to in gardening.
When the expected happens it always puts a smile on my face, but sometimes the unexpected happens to and you get a surprise.
There is no doubt that gardening is a long-term project but that is one of the things that makes it so wonderful.
It’s funny to think that some of the trees and plants that I grow will live long after my death but it’s also amazing to think that I will be leaving something positive behind.
11. Watching the magic of life is spectacular.
I can’t tell you how utterly amazing it is to see a seed sprout and grow a tree or plant. It fascinates me that all the ingredients for life are contained in that little seed and to watch life unfold in front of my eyes is truly magical.
It reminds me that all life is a miracle. I am in awe of the spark of energy that prompts each seed to grow and develop into these amazing plants and trees that in turn provide food and shelter for us and all the animals that live with us.
Nature is truly amazing and I love how growing things in my garden makes me feel more a part of it.