Monday, May 15, 2017

Contribution from Freelance Writer Jess on Improving Your Health With a Garden

I hope you are enjoying the articles from Jess as much as I am !!!  Here is her latest on how having a garden can improve your health.  THANKS Jess !!!

How Growing Your Own Vegetables Can Improve Your Health
It's no secret that eating vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals is great for your physical health. But did you know that the very act of tending your own vegetable garden and growing your own produce can also have a number of mental and emotional health benefits too? Gardening, much like baking and sewing, has experienced somewhat of a revival among 18-24 year olds and 89% of them say they have a garden or grow their own plants. But how exactly can growing your own vegetables benefit your mind, body and soul?

Research indicates that being close to nature helps relieve stress. The beauty and tranquillity of the natural world is subconsciously calming and the repetitive, gentle act of gardening in the natural environment can be the perfect way to unwind and relax from the pressures of everyday life. Simply having your hands in the soil can relieve tension due to the natural electrons found in the earth - this process is called grounding. 

Physical exercise is great for mind and body. While gardening might not be the most traditional workout, it can be physically hard work particularly when it comes to hauling heavy watering cans, bending, lifting and stretching to prune your plants. All of this is apt to help you work up a sweat which improves everything from your heart health to your mood. Best of all, it is gentle exercise that anyone of any age and fitness level can carry out. 

Eat well
Of course the key benefit of growing your own vegetables is that you are creating fresh, organic food that is packed with nutrients and is much more financially viable than what you'd pick up in a store. Popular plants for novice vegetable gardeners include tomatoes which are full of vitamins and onions which are thought to have immunity boosting properties. Best of all you know exactly what has gone into your crops - no nasty chemicals or pesticides. And enlisting the whole family in the process will improve their diet and eating habits too - studies show that children who grow their own vegetables are more likely to take an interest in healthier foods and eat well as they grow. 

With the rise of allotments and community garden schemes, gardening has become a hugely social pastime that allows people to come together and unite in a common goal. As humans, we thrive from this sort of interaction as it improves our sense of belonging and self-esteem. 

On the subject of self-esteem, gardening is a great way to feel a real sense of achievement. Planting something and nurturing it into a product can be harvested to feed yourself and your family in a real back-to-basics approach to life that will fill you with a sense of self-sufficiency that we no longer get to experience often in the modern world.

Where to begin?
If you have decided to give vegetable gardening a go, it can be daunting to know where to begin - especially for novice gardeners. Setting up a vegetable garden is actually quite straightforward but it does require a little planning. The location of your garden is important. You'll need an area that gets plenty of direct sunlight but that can also ideally offer some shelter from the elements. The ground should be cleared of any roots or perennial weeds and it’s important to invest in good quality seeds for your produce. It's important to have a good understanding of the maintenance and growing patterns of specific plants. Some will only thrive at certain times of year while others (such as root vegetables) tend to be able to withstand colder, winter temperatures. Do your research and plan ahead - soon you could be reaping the mental and physical health benefits of growing a vegetable garden. 

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