In this edition of HH101, we will explore the many health benefits of gardening
By Tamara El

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When you sit at a desk all day. there is something about literally putting your hands in the dirt, digging, and creating something beautiful that feels gratifying. Many gardeners view gardening as a hobby, while others view it as a way of life. Either way, gardening benefits all involved and is a way to reclaim some of the intangible things that we may have lost living in our busy, and possibly, dirt free lives.

Gardening is not too complex. At some point in life, maybe around the time of grade school, the concept of gardening was introduced to you. You may have planted a seed in a cup of dirt, watered it, and watched it grow. One thing is for certain; gardening is fun, no matter what age a person is. Creating a garden that produces fresh food and flowers all season is not so elementary, especially to those of us who did not grow up gardening.


According to health.com, one of the ways that gardening can benefit your physical and mental health is that it relieves stress. A recent study done in the Netherlands suggests that gardening can fight stress even better than other relaxing leisure activities. The effortless attention of gardening also helps to improve depression symptoms. In a study conducted in Norway, people who had been diagnosed with depression, persistent low mood, or bipolar type II disorder, spent six hours a week growing flowers and vegetables with half of the participants seeing positive results after three months time.

Gardening gets you out in the fresh air and in the process, gets your blood pumping and heart rate increased. A person can easily get really good exercise out of gardening. I mean gardening isn’t exactly pumping iron, so its not going to do much for your cardiovascular fitness, however, a person can benefit from low-impact exercise with the constant wheeling, digging, pulling, planting, and hauling etc.

Some research suggest that the physical activity associated with gardening can help lower the risk of a person developing dementia. Two separate studies that followed people in their 60’s and 70’s for up to 16 years found respectively that those who gardened regularly had a 36%-47% lower risk of developing dementia than non-gardeners even when a other range of health factors were taken into account.

People who are growing their own food tend to eat healthier than their peers. The food that you grow yourself is the freshest and healthiest food that you can eat, especially if you choose to do organic gardening. Studies also show that children who garden tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and are more adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. Not to mention, homegrown produce tastes a lot better as well.

Wondering how to get started with a garden of your own? For novices who want to learn the basics of gardening, a huge and somewhat overwhelming variety of information is currently available on the web and in bookstores on the subject matter. One of the best ways to get started is to get out and meet other people who share the same passion and desire for gardening. These types of people can be found at a local garden club, community gardens in just about any city or town, or just simply by starting conversation with someone.

Here are a few quick steps to remember when in your garden:
1. Make a garden bed 3 weeks prior to planting seeds
2. Dig a furrow (optional)
3. Water lightly but don’t soak the soil
4. Sew the seeds (or spread them through the trench)
5. Cover with soil (as a rule of thumb, bury the seeds only about as deep as their diameter)
6. Keep moist *add compost to planting holes to improve the soils structure, and provide slow release nutrients while activating beneficial microbes in the soil*

-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)