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Take Up Gardening for Improved Wellness

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Gardening has many benefits, whether you have a sprawling yard with room for huge beds of flowers and vegetables, or live in an apartment with a small balcony just big enough for a few tubs. Aesthetically, a well-kept garden is beautiful to look at, both for you as a gardener and for your friends and neighbors. You will enjoy just looking at the rewards of your work and compliments from your neighbors will add to your satisfaction.

Therapeutic benefits also include reducing stress in the activity itself. Working outside in the trees and grass and digging in the dirt are great ways to shift your focus from mental stress to physical exercise and the great outdoors. As you focus on the weeds, the seeds, and the bees, your mind lets go of the things that frustrate you. You will discover a whole new world in the soil and in your garden as you watch things grow.

The boost of motivation and positive attitude should be reason enough to let something grow. Of course, the benefits of growing your own go far beyond stress relief. Gardening can be a great form of exercise when you have beds that need turning, weeding, mulching and digging holes for planting. Imagine losing weight and gaining muscle strength while growing food and flowers you like. You win twice!

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When you grow your own vegetables, you know exactly how the crop was grown. If you don’t use harsh chemical pesticides to control insects and herbicides to control weeds, you have vegetables that are chemical-free. When you buy vegetables from the grocery store, you have no idea what chemicals were used in growing, harvesting, or packaging before they hit the shelves.

Growing your own food can bring significant economic benefits. A small packet of seeds can grow hundreds of carrots, cabbage, kale, chard, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, onions, garlic and more at a fraction of the cost of buying these items in the store. Some crops, like kale, cabbage, and Swiss chard, have very long seasons, often lasting through the winter and into the next year. Many herbs such as chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme and others are perennials. A plant will produce for years.

Gardening can also improve your social life. The garden and the process of gardening adds a new topic of conversation with neighbors and friends you visit. You’ll impress friends and family when they learn that the vegetables on your plate come from your own garden, proudly tended and harvested by you. Your impression of yourself will also improve as you have broader interests, knowledge and the discipline and dedication to sustain the program throughout the season.

Don’t worry if you’ve never grown anything before. Planting seeds or seedlings in good soil with plenty of compost, watering it, and protecting it from weeds and bugs requires little more than care. Nature knows how to make plants grow. All you have to do is take care of it along the way. Pick up a simple book or two on gardening made easy and with what you learn just by doing, you’ll be a prolific productive gardener in no time.

Thanks to Patrick Smyth

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