by Hannah Gartner
Summer is fast approaching, which means time spent outside. There are tons of fun things to do in the outdoors, but if you are looking to give back to the Earth while soaking up the sunshine, gardening is the way to go. Additionally, more and more research is finding that gardening is also good for human health in a multitude of ways.
Planting a garden improves the look of your yard, increases air quality, and if strategically placed can help alleviate erosion. Gardens can even help increase the energy efficiency of one’s home by providing shade that regulates heat. It is important to note that there are practices that can be decidedly harmful. Try to use products without chemical additives, and pesticides and herbicides only when absolutely necessary. If you do have a problem with pests search for natural, homemade repellents, there are plenty out there! Another way is to look for plants which encourage the bugs that help protect your garden and discourage those that will harm it.
When it comes to human health, gardening has been found to provide many of the things missing from the typical sedentary lifestyle. As a type of moderate-intensity exercise, gardeners tend to have lower BMIs and be in better shape. Being outside everyday also increases one’s vitamin D intake, which can help alleviate autoimmune disorders as well as flus and colds. Research has also found that gardening can reduce depression, improve self esteem, and even lower one’s chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Helping plants to flourish is an incredibly satisfying experiences, and it seems science agrees.
My local community garden at the High Country Conservation Center in Frisco, CO.
These are just a smattering of the incredible benefits and joys that gardening can bring to one’s life. If you are interested, but don’t know where to start look to a local community garden or environmental group. Also, feel free to reach out. As a new gardener myself I understand how overwhelming it can be to get started. One of the most important things I’ve learned though is the experiential nature of this pass-time – to learn it you have to do it. So get out there and have a happy, productive Summer!