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Posts Tagged ‘garden for health’

Is a garden part of your healthy lifestyle? Whether you grow a few plants, a large garden plot, or visit a public garden, the health benefits can be numerous. Being in nature and gardening can improve physical, social, and mental health. In addition to health benefits, gardens are also known to increase property values, and vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens can help you stretch your grocery budget.

Gardens meet many human needs. The National Gardening Association tracks annual trends in gardening. Not surprisingly, the interest in gardening rose in 2020, when many people were at home during the pandemic. For those who were new to gardening, the reasons they gave for starting a garden included: benefits to their mental health, more time to garden due to being home, wanting to beautify their home, engaging in a positive activity, engaging their families in a positive activity, adding more exercise to their lives, and wanting to grow food. Are any of those your reasons for gardening?

Gardens come in all sizes. Just like gardeners come in all ages and sizes, gardens can be new or old, small, or large. The good news is there is no minimum or maximum amount of space or plants to earn the title gardener! Does the thought of a large garden feel overwhelming? Use a small space by planting a few vegetables in containers or design a miniature garden.

Miniature garden with plants and toy decorations

Gardens are for everyone. Gardening is recommended as a health intervention, “because gardens are accessible spaces for all kinds of people, including children, elderly people, and those with a disability” and they can be relatively easily and quickly implemented in rural as well as urban areas. The 2021 National Garden Association survey indicated that although gardening is popular with older generations, the participation of Baby Boomers remained flat or declined last year. Groups who saw a growth in gardening activity included younger families, renters and apartment/condominium dwellers, and black and people of color gardeners. The diversity of gardeners and their experiences can mirror a garden that grows large with various and diverse plants, beneficial insects, and healthy soil.

Good times and hard times. Most often, gardens offer many more good times than hard times, but there can be frustrations throughout the growing season. We cannot control some things like the weather. Other things like watering, identifying insects, choosing the right spot to plant, and catching any problems early can help reduce or alleviate hard times. If you are new to gardening and have questions, many OSU Extension offices have staff and volunteers who can help. If your local, county Extension office does not have an option like a horticulture hotline, all Ohioans are welcome to use the Ask a Master Gardener Volunteer site.

Gardens can be a great spot to relax, learn, grow, and exercise. They can also offer opportunities to meet other people and to share flowers and produce with others. What are your garden plans this year?

Sources:

2021 National Gardening Survey released. (2021). National Gardening Association. https://garden.org/newswire/view/dave/114/2021-National-Gardening-Survey-released/

Ask a Master Gardener Volunteer, Ohio State University Extension https://extension.osu.edu/https%3A/extension.osu.edu/ask-an-expert/ask-master-gardener-volunteer

Darnton, J., and McGuire, L. (2014). What are the physical and mental benefits of gardening? Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/what_are_the_physical_and_mental_benefits_of_gardening

Hopkins, K., Coffin, D., Wertheim, F., and Bowie, C. (2008). Bulletin #2762, Growing Vegetables in Container Gardens. The University of Maine, Cooperative Extension Publications. https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2762e/

Lamp’l, J. (2021). The National Gardening Association’s 2021 survey findings: What gardeners think. Joe Gardener. https://joegardener.com/podcast/national-gardening-association-2021-survey-findings/

Masashi,S., Gaston, K., and Yamaura, Y. (2017). Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis. Preventive Medicine Reports. Volume 5, March 2017, Pages 92-99 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335516301401

Nature Matters, OSU Extension, Warren County https://warren.osu.edu/program-areas/family-and-consumer-sciences/healthy-people/nature-matters

Stechschulte, J. (2014). Project Idea Starter: Miniature Gardens. Ohio State University Extension. https://ohio4h.org/sites/ohio4h/files/imce/books_resources/Self-Determined/e365-02-04%20Miniature%20Gardens.pdf

Written by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County.

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

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