Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Six Reasons to Plant a Garden

Those of us who garden are just full of reasons why we do so.  For us, it’s almost a no-brainer and we can’t imagine not gardening.  But to those who’ve never done it, some convincing might be in order and I’m here to try and do that, because there are some very compelling reasons to garden.

First of all, there are all kinds of gardens: flower, vegetable, orchards, container, indoor, rock, etc.  Not all forms of gardening appeal to all people.  But I’m betting you can find one of them that suits your personality and that will enrich your life in more ways than you might think.

  • Let’s just look at the mental health aspect of it. Flowers make us smile. And working in the soil actually causes beneficial bacteria to be released into the air that raises the level of serotonin in the brain when you breathe it in.  That’s what makes us feel good.  Think about that!  All that’s required is to stir the dirt around and you’ll feel happy!  And if you’re going to do that, you might as well put something in that hole that serves another purpose.
  •  You know there’s nothing that tastes better than fresh food right from the garden.  You can grow your own with no pesticides and you can harvest it right when it’s ready and then eat it the same day, within minutes even.  No grocery store produce can match freshness like that.

  •  You choose the seed. Even if you can buy fresh, when you choose your own seed, you can choose whether or not you want to eat genetically engineered produce (not to be confused with GMO) or food the way nature made it. The jury is still out on what effects GE crops may have on human beings, but when you grow your own, you can avoid that issue altogether.
  •  Your selection of what you can eat grows exponentially when you grow your own, because of all the varieties of seeds there are to choose from. Commercial growers grow what transports best and takes the least amount of time from seed to harvest.  When was the last time you saw a Charentais melon for sale in the grocery store?
  •  Whether you grow edibles or flowers, gardening is educational and is great exercise.  There are a number of lessons to be learned in the garden at all stages of the season.  And if you don’t think gardening is good exercise, just talk with a gardener in the spring after they’ve been out of the garden all winter.

  •  There is a sense of wonder and an appreciation for miracles big and small that occur in the garden.  It isn’t just the plants, the fruits, the flowers; it’s all that goes with it.  Birds love gardens and will help with pest control.  Butterflies adore them and need them to live.  Children grow up knowing where food comes from and may be introduced to a lifelong activity.  The sights and smells of a garden are one of the most organic pleasures life has to offer.

I know…some of you are saying you don’t have room for a proper garden or you don’t even have a yard.  There are plenty of things that can be grown in containers on porches, patios, balconies and windowsills.  You don’t need much. If you’ve never grown one thing before, start simple, with one planted pot in a sunny window.  You may find that it’s like the proverbial potato chip – you can’t stop with just one.

 This article by me first appeared in the Paulding Progress newspaper in April 2013 and is republished here by permission.


Julie said...

I love this post. I was chatting with another mom on a field trip Friday who, after talking about all of the reality TV she watched, said to me," I don't have time to garden." It's not a priority for her, but I can't imagine a life without a garden. The food is delicious, the flowers are delightful, and the kids learn so much from their time in the garden. Yes, it takes time when you garden on the scale that we do, but it doesn't have to be THAT extensive. Even a container of pretty flowers can add so much joy to the day. Lovely post!

Kylee Baumle said...

Julie ~ Isn't it the truth? I used to be one of those people who "didn't have time." Oh, I had plenty of space - an ACRE! But I just had no idea how beneficial gardening was, and in so many different ways. Better late than never, right?

Beth said...

Hi Kylee, I enjoyed your post. I love the photo of the bluebirds. My husband has twice cleaned out the sparrows nest-makings in the bluebird house, and the sparrows are right back at it. They are determined little creatures. If you have time, stop by my blog to see the Baltimore oriole who is visiting my garden, and the robin's nest created partially from dried up hosta leaves. ??? lol
I love gardening, and this is the 10th year of my large cottage garden. The evolution of the garden over the years has been amazing.

Erin @ The Impatient Gardener said...

Great list, Kylee. I have two items to add.
1. The feeling of satisfaction you get. I don't think it can be beat. Whether you just make a beautiful container or grow some vegetables, there are few things in life that can beat that "I did that" feeling that you get from a bit of gardening.

2. For edibles, knowing exactly what went into your food. Not only do you pick the seeds (as you mention), but you pick the soil and the amendments and fertilizer. It's the only way to truly know what is in your food and it is a delightful feeling.

Beth at PlantPostings said...

Very convincing and well-written, Kylee! Can't wait to dig in the garden after all this rain settles in. And the taste of homegrown produce--nothing like it!

Laura @ Raise Your Garden said...

Hi! Great post.

My husband calls the garden his cheap therapy.

He's a gym teacher so I'm not sure why dodge ball stresses him out so much but he loves nothing more than puttering about our garden!

In fact, he took over. It used to be my hobby, not it's him. Oh well. There's worse hobbies (like dodge ball)

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

I agree this is a great list Kylee. And I like Erin's addition. My garden brings me healing and solace as well as organic food. I used to plant pots of flowers and some herbs and veggies on my apartment balcony before I had a plot of land myself.

Kylee Baumle said...

Beth ~ Sparrows are insistent little things, aren't they? And really unappreciated because they're so numerous and not that flashy in appearance. You're right - the way a garden evolves over the years IS amazing!

Erin ~ You're right. Gardening gives a sense of satisfaction like no other! I like that I'm working hand in hand with nature to produce something useful, not just for the senses but for my very existence.

Beth ~ Seems like we've had to wait an eternity to get out there dig in, doesn't it?

Laura ~ It IS cheap therapy. Ha ha! about the dodge ball causing stress! When you're playing, I can understand that! And good for you, for converting him to gardening!

Donna ~ Gardening can be addicting. Your balcony garden led to bigger and better things, didn't it? Enjoy!

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