Growing a Garden Can Benefit Your Health

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Hailey Griffin, Opinions Editor

It looks as though spring is finally here to stay. If you have a space in your backyard, now would be the perfect time to start your very own garden. There are a few steps that you must take to make your garden come to life.

First, you’ve got to decide where you want to put your garden. Depending on what you want to grow, you must make sure that the garden plot is placed in an area with an optimal amount of sunlight and ample space.

Second, you’ve got to decide what you want to put in your garden. You can plant an array of vegetables, flowers, or even some fruit depending on your region’s climate and soil composition.  A lot of times, people stick to planting either food or flowers in their gardens. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t plant both; my advice is that you separate the half of your garden composed of flowers from the half of your garden that’s composed of veggies or fruits, because each half may need to be tended to differently.

Third, you’re going to want to invest in some gardening tools. Basic gardening tools include a tiller for churning soil; a paddle hoe to help you dislodge weeds and shape your soil; a larger shovel for transporting soil or digging larger holes; a trowel to dig smaller holes, plant seeds or bulbs, and dig up weeds; pruning shears to help you cut flowers and vegetables, and prune shrubs or brambles; a rake to loosen your soil and level your garden.

Fourth, you’re going to want to till your garden plot to aerate your soil and expose fresh ground. You’ll probably want to add some extra soil or even fertilizer to promote plant growth. If you add more soil to your garden plot, make sure that it has the proper composition and pH to support whatever you’re growing. Compost is also great for plant growth.

Fifth, you should organize your garden beds according to how big the plants that you’re growing will be. When you plant your seeds or transplant your plants, you’re going to want to make sure that you don’t plant them too close together to avoid overcrowding. Your plants will have a lot better chance to thrive if their roots have more room to spread out!

Sixth, plant your seeds or transplant your plant. With seeds, you’ll want to dig a small hole and place your seed inside it. Cover the seed with soil. You may need to germinate it. On the other hand, with transplants, you’ll want to dig a hole deep enough for the roots to be able to spread. After you transplant your plant from its plastic container into the hole in the ground, cover the excess space in the hole with soil.

Seventh, tend to your plants! Make sure to water them daily, pick weeds, and fertilize when needed. If you’re planting veggies or fruits, harvest when they’re ripe.

Owning and tending to a garden does not only help the environment through oxygen production, decreased produce transport, and decreased pesticide use during harvest, but it also has several health benefits, such as…

Gardening improves your memory. Having to remember to water, trim, or feed your plants every day not only improves your memory, but it gives you a sense of stability through the daily routine that you perform to keep your plants alive.

Gardening improves your mood. Tending to plants is a serene, meditative process. It is hard not to feel content when you’re surrounded by the scents and the colors that your plants and dirt provide.

Gardening improves your physical health. All the hoeing, raking, and digging that coincides with gardening can be a labor-intensive process. With that said, gardening can be a good way to get some exercise while doing something that improves your mood and helps the environment.

Gardening improves your mental health. Being outside in the sunlight promotes your Vitamin D intake; research shows that increased amounts of Vitamin D contribute to increased moods. Additionally, tending to and raising your plant, so to speak, gives you a sense of purpose. It gives you a way to pass the time and make that time worthwhile.