Gardening is “green.” One of the reasons for the current increase in vegetable gardens is connected to the greater interest in “green” and “organic,” especially in the new generation of young adults. Whether you have a personal priority of being “green” or not, gardening does give you greater control over how your foods are being produced, and you can reap the benefits of fresh and safe vegetables for your family.
Gardening is exercise. Gardening activities provide both cardio and aerobic exercise. Mowing the grass is like taking a vigorous walk. Bending and stretching to work the garden compares to an exercise class. Hauling plants and soil is similar to weightlifting. An hour of moderate gardening can burn 300-400 calories.
Gardening for beauty. Adding a container of colorful flowers to a patio brightens the spirit. Trees and shrubs can add color and shade, but they also provide shelter for birds and wildlife. If you think of the garden as an extra room to be enjoyed, then gardening can be part of how you beautify that “room.”
Gardening to learn. People learn to garden by reading, by listening to the advice of others and by simply getting out there and doing it. As you work with plants, you build your gardening knowledge. That’s because every plant problem is an opportunity to learn a new solution. Avid gardeners are always learning.
Gardening to make money is fifth on the list. Your love of plants and experience in gardening can lead to a rewarding job at a local garden center or a large landscape firm. It could even turn into an independent business or career of your own! Whether growing flowers, vegetables, or herbs, there are always opportunities to sell your produce at local farmer's markets or craft shows. Plus, gardening and landscaping as an investment in your property can add to the resale value by as much as 15 percent. The added 'curb appeal' of well-planned and maintained landscaping could be the thing that makes the sale.
Gardening to meet people. Gardening is a great way to expand your social circle. Whether it's the neighbor next door or an Internet pal on the other side of the world, most gardeners love to talk about their plants. Meeting others through garden clubs and sharing surplus produce is an easy way to share information, ask questions, and make friends.
Gardening is art. Gardening provides an outlet for creative, artistic expression. Create the serene, contemplative mood of a Japanese garden. Plan and plant for the romantic feel of a cottage garden. Whatever you choose, let your creativity flow.
Gardening to win. For people with a competitive side, gardening can be a friendly way to show off your husbandry skills. 4-H clubs promote gardening for kids, offering educational opportunities and recognition of accomplishment through healthy competition.
Gardening for emotional health. The quiet of the garden can be therapeutic when life is noisy and hectic. Pulling weeds can be a great stress reliever. A healthy harvest provides a sense of achievement and success. Plus, the beauty of a bouquet can bring a smile to your face or communicate to someone else, “I love you.”
Gardening for lasting memories. Finally, gardening is an activity that can be shared with children and grandchildren. Memories of the garden are special and cherished. Share with your kids and grandkids the joy of cutting a bouquet of flowers for a gift or tasting the sweetness of a cherry tomato picked right from the plant in Grandpa's garden.
Article inspired by: Martha A. Smith, Extension Educator, Horticulture, firstname.lastname@example.org