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Spring is here and gardening season is upon us. Everyone is eager to get seeds planted and to start getting some fresh produce from their gardens. It doesn’t get much better than a homegrown tomato. But is gardening just about the produce?
I do thoroughly enjoy the fresh vegetables that come from my garden. But I also enjoy digging in the dirt and being outdoors. This got me to thinking, what are all of benefits of gardening?
To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. -Audrey Hepburn
Watching plants grow
There is something that is magical about planting a seed, then watching it grow. The delight of seeing a seedling sprout never gets old, no matter how may times you plant a seed. The anticipation of finding the first blossoms on the plant, then seeing the plant start to produce is so satisfying. Even though this process has repeated itself since time began, it’s simply amazing to be a part of this process.
Work in the dirt
It is extremely satisfying to work in the dirt and get your hands dirty while gardening. Pulling weeds may become a chore come August, but it is a pleasant task when it’s springtime and the sun is warm.
Soil has it’s own microbiome. There have been studies recently showing how working in the soil is good for you and your mental health. It’s interesting to read a study that agrees with how I feel when I dig in the soil while gardening. Spending time in the garden relieves all tension and the world is a better place after spending time there.
Never underestimate the healing power of a quiet moment in the garden. -author unknown
Connection to the past
When I’m gardening, I always think of those who put the love of gardening in my heart. My grandparents were big gardeners, they converted most of their yard to vegetable gardens and preserved all of their produce. I spent a lot of time at their house growing up and learned to love gardening from them from an early age. My mom also had a large garden and taught me a lot about canning and growing your own food. Now that I have a garden of my own, as I’m working in the soil or pulling weeds, I can’t help but think of those days when I was young.
I also think of the settlers of long ago that relied on their garden every year for food. A lot of things have changed, but the simple act of gardening has not. It feels reassuring to me somehow to have something in common with my ancestors.
Teach your children
It is incredibly important to us that we show our kids where our food comes from by raising our own meat and growing produce in the garden. So many kids see food coming home from the store without the slightest idea how it was grown or the effort it took to raise it. I want my kids to understand the connection that we have with our food. Our food isn’t just something picked up at the store, it’s something that was grown/raised with blood, sweat and tears.
My kids are involved in the planting, weeding and harvesting process with gardening. They love to watch seeds sprout, have eaten peas straight off of the vine and have picked sun ripened tomatoes. They are also involved in the canning process, helping me snip beans or take the skin off of tomatoes. This is a huge benefit of gardening. Even if my kids grow up to live in the city, at least they are equipped with the knowledge of how food is grown.
Good for your health
Gardening is good for your health! It gets you outside into the sunshine and gets you moving. Did you know that gardening actually burns calories? This is the best kind of exercise in my book. The fresh air and spending time in nature is always enjoyable. Even on the hottest days of the year, I always enjoy spending time in the garden.
When you grow your own food, you know exactly what you’re getting. At the grocery store, you just never know. It could say that it’s organic, but unless you know the farmer, you really don’t know how that vegetable was grown. Once you have good quality food, you just don’t want the tasteless-in-comparison varieties that you can purchase at a store. Quality, real food is huge. Quality food means caring for your health, mentally and physically. We truly are what we eat. As we strive to grow our food here on our farm, we often say that we may live like paupers, but we eat like kings.
Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. -author unknown
Sense of accomplishment
I absolutely love the feeling of accomplishment when I look at my plate and most of the veggies are from my garden. It just doesn’t get any better than feeding my family nutritious, fresh food that we raised ourselves.
Seeing the pantry full of canned goods gives a great sense of accomplishment as well. Homemade pickles, salsa, tomato sauce, green beans, etc in January when the weather is frigid gives you a taste of the previous summer. It also gives one hope for the next growing season.
The rewards are delicious
Gardening doesn’t give you instant gratification, you need to tend to those tender plants. But there are rewards every step of the way. Seeing the seeds sprout, the first blossoms, the first fruit. All so rewarding! The biggest and best reward is being able to eat the fruit of your labor. Nothing tastes sweeter than a homegrown watermelon!
What benefits of gardening would you add?