When I was young, we ate from our backyard. Instead of grass, the rich alluvial soils had been coaxed into an oasis of fruits and veggies. It was a tremendous way to grow up, next door to my grandparent’s perennial rhubarb and grape arbors that defined the garden’s edge.
I found the very act of rooting around in the humus, on hands and knees, planting and churning microbes, brought me close to my roots—to my family and food.
I didn’t know at the time that the very act of poking seeds into moist fingerprints and nurturing this plant kingdom held benefits beyond our daily meals.
Tending a garden, no matter how minuscule, is terrific for your health—in body and spirit.
Fitness in the motion
You will get fit quick if you endeavor to see the garden through, from frost to harvest and back again.
Digging, planting, weeding, and harvesting will burn calories and sweat your troubles away.
You may find new muscles you didn’t know could flex and throb so.
Gardening is also great for improving your heart health, and in fact, it can lower your risk of both stroke and heart attack.
Rocket-boost your immune system
Research has found that gardening can help to boost your immune system too, not only due to the fact you will be exposed to various minerals and bacteria in the soil but also because, the more time you spend outside, the more vitamin D you are likely to get, which will really help to strengthen your immune system over time.
Garden your blues away
Many people suffering from depression or anxiety find gardening helps boost their mood and lower anxiety.
A recent article in Global News points to a study at the University of Bristol that exposed mice to mycobacterium, a bacteria found in healthy soil.
When the mice inhaled, they chilled out, acting as if they’d taken antidepressant drugs. Turns out this soil-borne bacteria activates neurons in the brain that release serotonin—all through inhalation. It’s believed to have the same effect on humans.
Breathing the scent of tomatoes on the vine or the sweet silk of corn will make you grateful for all your sturdy senses.
Find and foster your human connection
Community gardens are an excellent way to build your sense of belonging in your neighborhood. A recent BBC article recounts, “Many of the gardeners who have communal plots commute in and split the rental fees, as they value the benefits – both physical and mental – of gardening together.
Mentor a child, consult with elders, find new friends all amongst the rows of beans and broccoli.
The right tools will help you get down & dirty
Using mowers, mulchers and other tools can ease the physical burden and provide all the power you need to hoe and hew. You don’t have to dig or tear like a heathen to garden your way to health and happiness.
The combination of fresh air, plenty of sunshine, and working in a garden, whether they are using Torrent Mulchers to clear land or simply planting buds that will later come into bloom, helps to give meaning and purpose and boost mental wellbeing better than almost anything else you can think of.
Gardening is a simple act that entwines your being with the entire cosmos of stars and sun and seasons.
Beyond those lofty star-studded connections, you’ll get stronger and more vital. You may sleep better and enjoy more friends.
As Wayne Visser tells us in Garden Wise
“I’m learning how to plant new seeds
To nurture sprouts and let them rise
I’m pruning back and pulling weeds
As branches sway to gentle sighs
I’m listening to the songs of birds
And watching bees and butterflies
I’m reading nature’s book of words
As seasons turn, all lives and dies”