It wasn’t long ago that gardening was a staple in daily life and for many, it may still be.
As spring settled in around us, I was reminded of the many benefits of gardening while reading the “National Garden Bureau’s Top Ten Reasons to Garden.” Besides just the obvious, we get many benefits from gardening, even if we don’t always recognize them.
1. Garden for safe, healthy food: Food safety is the best protection against foodborne illnesses. Foodborne illness can be caused by food safety hazards such as bacteria, viruses, molds and/or parasites. Growing our own food at home gives us some control over the use of pesticides/insecticides, compost, water testing, quality control and how our foods are handled.
2. Garden for exercise: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week or 30 minutes five days a week. It’s estimated that only 23% of Americans reach this goal. Gardening works all our major muscle groups, including the legs, gluts, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abs, all with minimal stress, and without the jarring that an intense workout may have. It even has built-in stretches; just think of how many times we reach for that perfect tomato that has been hiding or the zucchini that was missed the last several weeks and is now the size of a baseball bat.
3. Garden to add beauty: Whether you have a large garden or just a few herbs in the windowsill, think of the beauty that it adds to our daily view. That beauty can also have some added benefits.
a. Lavender is not only beautiful but because of its wonderful, soothing fragrance, lavender is often used in essential oils, candles, soaps, culinary and other types of artisanal products.
b. Marigolds with their bright golden shade are good at repelling nematodes in the soil and can help your garden vegetables stay protected.
4. Garden to learn: If you are like me, once you know some information on a topic, you want to learn more about it. There are countless things to study when it comes to gardening — soil, temperature, plant varieties, insects and so much more. But don’t take my word for it, contact our County Agriculture Agent Drew, attend Gardening at the Library or join our Master Gardener’s program.
5. Garden to make money (or in some cases save money): In today’s economy, many of us are living paycheck to paycheck. The love of gardening, or even the knowledge of gardening, may lead us to our next job or be a great way to add a source of income outside of our “traditional jobs.” If gardening is something you enjoy and you have more than your family can handle, contact Main Street Roswell and look into the Farmer’s Market that starts July 8th.
6. Garden to meet people: Human beings are social by nature and let’s face it, things are often more fun when we do them with others. Gardening is a great way to meet others and share our knowledge or gather ideas. There are several different gardening groups here in Chaves County to explore including the Morning Garden Club, Home Garden Club or the Pecos Valley Iris Society to name a few.
7. Garden to be creative: Think of the garden as a canvas. With the numerous types of gardens and varieties of plants available, think of all the possibilities and what you can do! Whether the space is big or small, have fun. Being creative is great for our mental health and what better way to engage your brain than to combine it with exercise and healthy eating.
8. Garden to win: If that competitive streak is what gets you going, then come on and show off your skills. Check out the Farm and Garden section at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair and you can be the owner of that next “whopper” of a pumpkin. You can also check out what the Arts and Crafts department has available.
9. Garden for emotional needs and spiritual connections: Gardening has been known to have a positive impact on mood and brain chemistry. Gardening is exposure for all our senses; take in the colors around you, smell the fresh air, listen to the birds, touch the plants and taste what it has to offer.
10. Garden for lasting memories: Making memories with our families can lead to happier memories down the road. I will forever remember walking down the sidewalk from my grandparent’s house, picking those yellow bell tomatoes and eating them before we ever reached the drive. It makes me smile to this day.
Whatever your reason, get out, get some exercise, enjoy nature, de-stress and make some memories. Happy Gardening!
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