People garden for a lot of different reasons: reducing household costs, increase food quantity, increase food quality, providing food for the less fortunate of their community, those who tend flower gardens seek to beautify their property, give shelter to certain insects and birds, and improve the aesthetics of their life. But one common thread that runs through it all at some level is that we do it because we enjoy it: when we grow flowers or vegetables we are also growing satisfaction and contentment.
image courtesy Patheos.com
There is something therapeutic about working the soil with our hands, watching as seeds we planted push up through that soil, develop into plants and thrive under our attentive care. Then we EAT THEM, mua-hahaha! Sorry, I got carried away there.
Scientific studies have shown that there are friendly bacteria in soil that work the same way in our systems as antidepressants. Others state that children need to be exposed to dirt in order for their immune systems to fully develop as they should. Children who grow up on farms, for example, or who are raised around pets, tend to exhibit lower rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Gardening can also help give your immune system a lift regardless of your age.
Whether you garden vegetables or flowers, working the soil and tending your leafy charges as they grow, mature and bring forth the fruits of your labor is very satisfying. Mission accomplished. Job well done. You are a success at something. And this is generally not an easy win: you have battled weather, destructive insects, plant diseases, maybe deer and rabbits to bring your agglomeration of vegetation to it’s fullest level.
For me, the best part is after all that is done, when I bring a large basket of garden produce in to feed my family. Whether I serve it up fresh, use it in meal preparation or preserve it for use later on, I am providing them sustenance. I am contributing to their well being in a way that a trip to the grocery store does not. Maybe that makes me crazy in the eyes of some, but it helps keep me sane to know that I am directly contributing something.
Between the healthful benefits of working the soil (and of eating food not sprayed with poisons) and the psychological benefits of nurturing the plants, and the satisfaction of contributing to the well-being of my family, gardening proves beneficial in many ways.
Plant Breeding for Gardeners
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Saving Our Seeds, Saving Ourselves
Read one gardener’s reflections on the importance of saving seeds, and how closely connected humankind’s existence is with the plants we cultivate.
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