To have some outdoor space to grow things in, even just in pots or on a windowsill is very special.
But why do we enjoy gardening so much, how does it benefit us and what is it doing to our surroundings?
Here are our top 7 reasons why gardening matters.
1. Gardening is great for our mental health. Being outdoors is known to reduce our levels of Cortisol (the stress hormone). Cutting the lawn, seeing something grow or looking at the changing seasons can be a mindful activity and give our minds a break.
Countless studies have proven that being outdoors is good for us, the fresh air and having time away from screens is so important. Doctors are now even prescribing gardening as a way to improve the consequences of anxiety and depression.
We’ve got another blog here exploring more of the benefits of gardening on our mental health.
2. It’s not just our mental health that can benefit from a few hours in the garden. Whether you have an allotment or perhaps a raised bed in the garden, you can easily grow a selection of lovely tasty vegetables. From root vegetables to salad leaves or even fruit, variety is incredibly good for something called your microbiome. Giving your body lots of variety in our diets, as well as lots of fibre is great for our digestive health, which is also connected to our mental health and can make us feel happier.
3. Gardening improves our general health too by increasing our exposure to Vitamin D – which is essential for good bones, teeth and muscles.
And let’s not forget that gardening is also a great workout – it burns calories and is generally low impact. Although of course we need to be careful not to push ourselves too much as it can be gruelling work, especially for our backs.
For the environment
4. Growing our own produce reduces our carbon footprint, as well as being a great activity for children to learn about food and where it comes from. Growing seasonal vegetables means we don’t need to buy from supermarkets where they often get flown in from across the world.
It also means that we aren’t having to buy vegetables covered in protective plastic, as they can go straight from our gardens to our kitchens.
5. Through the process of photosynthesis plants take in CO2 and sequester it into the soil. So, by planting more plants and vegetables we are contributing to a reduction of carbon in the atmosphere. One thing to be aware of though, it’s recommended that we avoid digging up the ground too much. If you are about to start a vegetable garden, have a read up on no-dig beds to help!
6. Soil erosion is also a big problem. By adding in root rich plants we are adding organic matter back into the soil, which helps bind it together, making it less likely to wash away, especially if your garden is on a slope. Having organic matter on the top – creating a mulch for example is great for adding nutrients back into the soil and adding additional protection.
Here are some tips for making your own compost – another way to add nutrients into the soil, whilst avoiding garden and food waste ending up in landfill when it doesn’t need to be.
7. Gardening helps wildlife thrive – by growing flowers and vegetables we are promoting biodiversity and providing a habitat and food for lots of little animals. Choosing native wild flowers like ox eye daisies, corn cockle, bell flower and common knapweed are great for attracting bees and butterflies.
Water features can soon become homes for wildlife too, attracting frogs and newts. Bug hotels and undisturbed areas of wood can provide shelter from predators for many insects and even hedgehogs. Trees and hedges are also great spots for birds to set up nest.