woman planting in a bright garden

How Gardening Benefits Physical and Mental Health

Getting yourself outside to soak up the sun. Playing with seeds, soil, and trowels. Watching sprouts pop up and grow into flowers, herbs, and veggies. So long as you don’t mind getting dirt under your fingernails, gardening is fun to do. That’s not all: gardening benefits physical and mental health.

Gardening is not just a hobby, it‘s a healthy outlet

Time spent outside gardening is calming and good exercise. It’s also fairly easy to start, even with just a few pots, some soil, and a balcony. You don’t necessarily need a big backyard to grow herbs and tomatoes, just patience and practice.

Plants don’t have to be grown for cooking either. Decorative plants add greenery and life to indoor spaces, improving overall mood. Maybe that’s why gardening is so popular with younger and older audiences.

Gardening appeals to people from all backgrounds and ages

Retired grandparents with a passion for home-cooking aren’t the only ones planning and caring for gardens. Younger people are turning to their gardens for the overall wellness benefits too. Whether that’s to get away from their screens or simply find fulfillment in nurturing a seed to sprout. According to a 2018 gardening survey, about 29% of gardening households are under 34 years old.

infographic on the health benefits of gardening: creates connection, boosts physical wellness, builds self-esteem, grows mental wellness
Sources: farmtocafeteria.ca, uvm.edu, sciencedirect.com, alzeimers.org.uk

The Health Benefits of Gardening

1. Creates Connection

  • Encourages going offline and spending time in nature. Even when gardening alone, the birds and bumblebees are good company.
  • Offers an opportunity to work together with family and friends at home, or in community gardens.

2. Boosts Physical Wellness

  • Encourages exercise, from walking to digging to mowing.
  • Provides healthy foods to eat, if growing veggies, fruits, or herbs.

3. Builds Self-Esteem

  • Increases feelings of accomplishment and pride when plants grow successfully.
  • Teaches how patience, care, and attention pay off, which is a symbolic lesson for other challenges in life.

4. Grows Mental Wellness

  • Boosts feel-good serotonin levels, vitamin D, and the immune system.
  • Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia later in life.
  • Creates an opportunity for flow, focus, and creativity. From planning the garden layout to testing what does and doesn’t work for different plants.

Indoor plants boost overall wellbeing too

Spring and summer isn’t the only time for growing plants. Throughout the year, indoor plants are an equally great outlet and provide similar boosts to gardening outside. Indoor plants decorate living spaces, boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve air quality. Some even smell good too!

Tips for beginner gardeners

1. Start with easy-to-grow wildflowers, veggies, and herbs

Either start with packaged seeds from your local garden center or try planting seed paper. This might include basil, parsley, oregano, carrots, or tomatoes. Wildflowers are another great option for beginners. Try wildflower seed paper embedded with non-invasive, non-GMO wildflower seeds that are low-maintenance. Plus, they benefit ecosystems, pollinators, and other living things.

2. Grow what you love to look at or want to cook with

Love eating fresh cucumbers and tomatoes? Start with those! If you’re enthusiastic about what you’re growing, the process will be way more fun.

3. Know your basics: soil, sun and water

Different plants need different living conditions. Some plants need to be watered often, others less often. Direct sunlight might be best for one plant, while indirect sunlight is better for the other. The soil might need extra fertilizers, amendments, and drainage to support the plant. Always do a little research before growing a specific herb, vegetable, or other plant.

Gardening is for everyone and benefits everyone. If you’re looking for a way to stay physically active, practice self-care, connect with nature, and build self-confidence, then gardening might be the right hobby for you to take up! Give it a try, you might be surprised by what and how you’ll grow.

Learn more about this special paper made by Botanical PaperWorks that uses post-consumer materials and is embedded with seeds so that it will grow when planted!

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