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How to Garden Your Way to Health

gardening for better health

On the face of it, gardening appears to be a chore. Perhaps one not too far removed from lawn mowing. But actually, it’s a hobby, a diversion, a calling, and even a way of life. And it’s so good for you!

People across the world have currently had more time to be introspective. With so many events and opportunities on hold, we’ve had to look inward to find activities that bring us peace. Gardening is one of those endeavors that will fuel your soul.

Ancestrally rooted in the early efforts of planting and food foraging, gardening pre-dates visits to farmers’ markets on sunny Saturdays. True, our predecessors communed with nature for survival, but there’s nothing more fundamental to humankind than living off the land.

You too can feel that primordial relationship when you tend a garden. It will bring you a rarified type of peace.

Where to Begin?

If you’ve never gardened, except to weed around the shrubbery, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Like any new pastime, just don’t go overboard spending money on all kinds of tools and accessories in case you wind up not liking it. (I have an artist’s kit containing a slew of brushes and hundreds of dollars of paint and palette knives. It’s holding up the 6-pack of blank canvases in the back of a closet. Never opened.)

The lesson here is to start small. Do you or someone in your home like to cook? Start with a little herb garden that will fit on your windowsill… just three pots: basil, oregano, and rosemary. They are hardy plants that are incredibly versatile.

If you make your own marinara sauce, you wouldn’t believe the extraordinary fragrance those basil leaves will create. Treat yourself to a head of fresh garlic too. You can buy it in the supermarket, the cloves stay fresh for a long time. Simmer the onions a bit first and then add the chopped cloves. When the onions are just about translucent, stir in those minced basil leaves and stand by for serious aromatherapy! Add blended tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and maybe a dash of sugar. Get a pot of pasta water boiling, and you have Sunday dinner, done.

Basil is also at the heart of luscious caprese salads and, of course, pesto sauce, but here are another 28 recipes to make with basil.

According to The Spruce, rosemary is quite the flavor staple. It is “used as a seasoning in a variety of dishes, such as soups, casseroles, salads, and stews. Use rosemary with chicken and other poultry, game, lamb, pork, steaks, and fish, especially oily fish. It also goes well with grains, mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, and spinach.”

Tending to your little herb garden will not take any time at all, and you’ll reap extraordinary culinary benefits by elevating your homemade cuisine.

Top Four Benefits to Gardening

  1. Improves Physical Health

Besides the fact that gyms were closed for a while and many have not yet re-opened, they can be an expensive proposition. Just as you benefit from your backyard pool for some “unconscious exercising,” gardening is considered a moderate- to high-intensity exercise.

According to Planted Well, “Nothing is better for the body and mind than getting yourself outside and moving in the fresh air. While working in your garden, you will be doing both anaerobic and aerobic exercises. You can burn more calories this way than lifting weights for the same amount of time! Not only that but being outside in the sun will help boost your vitamin D levels which helps the body absorb calcium. In turn, calcium helps keep your bones strong and your immune system healthy.”

Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) chimed in, “You can burn up to 330 calories during one hour of light gardening and landscaping work.”

  1. Enhances Your Mental Health

Planted Well also cites a study on the benefits of gardening on mental health. “Just 30 minutes a week spent planting outside on your vegetable patch can boost feelings of both self-esteem and mood by dissolving tension, depression, anger, and confusion. Contact with soil can also trigger the release of serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Researchers found that certain soil bacteria affect our brain in the same way antidepressants do.”

Additionally, you know the satisfaction you get from accomplishing those DIY projects? Whether you laid pavers to create a path connecting your pool deck to your patio or built an outdoor shower, it’s something to be proud of. When you can look out from your kitchen window to admire your handiwork or graciously accept the “oohhs and aahhs” of your guests about your horticultural feats of strength, there’s a good deal of gratification to be had.

  1. Saves Money and You’ll Eat Healthier

We’ve all seen the price increases in our grocery stores. The costs of organic fruits and vegetables is sometimes prohibitive. And if you buy a package of organic basil for example, it doesn’t freeze well, so you need to use it within a couple days of purchase.

Do you trade off by buying tomatoes steeped in chemicals and inflated to look ripe before their time? Or do you cultivate and harvest your own? You can easily supplement your produce purchases fresh from your own garden, while dodging pesticide-infused foods.

You may be surprised how you yourself will grow from that windowsill garden to an outdoor patch of robust plantings. The only problem is, you’ll be spoiled for life. You’ll likely never buy retail produce again!

The Spruce serves up the best high-yield vegetables for little garden spaces by recommending:

  • Leaf lettuce
  • Tomatoes (cherry or grape)
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Peppers
  • Peas
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Pole Beans
  • Herbs

From this colorful array, you can create hundreds and hundreds of meals that are fresh and MUCH better for you than that bag of fat and grease you grab through a fast-food window.

  1. Makes a Difference

If you have concerns about the environment, you can make a seemingly minor, but powerful contribution. Planted Well states, “Even a small patch of kitchen garden can have a positive impact on the ecosystem, which in turn will support your health and the health of the people around you. The vegetation will reduce greenhouse gases and help purify the air. Tree and plant roots absorb water, reducing erosion and runoff.”

Maybe an electric car is not in your near future, but you can still make a difference in this world by never leaving your backyard!

With the power of the human spirit, anything is possible. You put your mind and heart into something, and you’ll always wind up surprising yourself. You may not be able to control everything in this world, but when you focus on changing the things you can, there’s no stopping you!

Providing pool and home improvement loans since 1979, Lyon Financial loves all the benefits of living the outdoor life. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.