How to Use Gardening to Improve Your Health
Besides looking beautiful, a garden can do wonders for the health and wellness of the gardener. When you get your hands in the dirt, it can actually help improve health challenges from which many people suffer. Keep reading to learn how gardening can improve your wellbeing and learn about what to plant to really boost your mood.
5 Ways Gardening Can Improve Your Health
- Gardening Reduces Stress and Anxiety
- Gardening Decreases Your Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes
- Gardening Makes You Happy
- Gardening Keeps Your Mind Sharp
- Gardening Helps You Sleep Better
Now that you know the benefits of gardening, here are some plants to grow that also provide mood boosting agents from Rodales Organic Life.
10 Plants that Boost Your Mood
- Blue Potatoes
How to Grow Them: Potatoes are about the easiest crops to grow. You can even grow them in a bag of potting soil, without really dirtying your hands. To do that, cut a few drainage holes at the bottom of a bag of potting soil, then stand the bag someplace sunny.
- Cherry Tomatoes
How to Grow Them: Cherry tomatoes are good choices for containers, and they'll produce more fruit than larger varieties. The pots should be large, ones that hold 4 to 6 gallons of potting soil will do, and placed in a sunny spot.
- Black Eyed Peas
How to Grow Them: Black-eyed peas need long summers with temperatures averaging between 60° and 70°F, which is why they're so commonly grown down South. They need warm days and warm nights, with lots of sun and water. After you plant them, they'll be ready to harvest in a little over three months. You can eat them fresh off the vine, or leave them on the vine until they dry (you'll hear seeds rattling around in the pods) and save them to eat all winter.
How to Grow It: Pot the seedlings and water as needed, leaving the soil on the dry side. It thrives better in containers, but make sure your pot is fairly large, at least 12 inches across, as this plant can grow pretty quickly.
- Swiss Chard
How to Grow It: Chard is a hardy crop that, if planted even as late as summer, will produce until early winter. Pick a spot that gets a fair amount of sunlight; it can tolerate shade but produces best with lots of sun. Or choose a container that's about 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep and fill it with a good all-purpose organic potting soil. Sow between 2 and 3 seeds per pot. You can start harvesting leaves as soon as they appear, but harvest from the outside so as not to kill the entire plant.
How to Grow Them: Sunflowers like sun, but be sure to plant them in a sunny spot on the north edge of your yard or garden so they don’t cast too much shade on other sun-loving plants. Plant your seeds after the last frost. Towards the end of summer, the flowers start to wilt and the seed heads ripen and droop.
How to Grow It: Since it can grow wild and take over your garden, it’s best suited for containers. A small container about 6 inches wide by 6 inches deep will suffice, but a bigger pot will yield a bigger harvest. It prefers full sun and should be planted in late spring, when there’s no risk for frost.
- Evening Primrose
How to Grow It: Evening primrose is drought-tolerant and easy to grow either in containers or in the ground. You can find varieties with flowers ranging from deep reds to light yellows. Sow the seeds in groups of four. They’ll start to appear in 14 to 28 days.
How to Grow It: Plant a lavender seedling in a container made from a material that breathes, such as terra-cotta, and choose a pot about 12 inches wide by 12 inches deep. Place your pot in an area that gets lots of sunlight; lavender loves dry, sunny areas.
10. John's Wort
The most famous herbal antidepressant, St. John’s Wort contains compounds like those found in Prozac. The flowers and leaves are the most valuable part of the plant and can be brewed into a tea that will calm you down and boost your mood. Just note that St. John’s wort has many adverse drug interactions, so check with a pharmacist if you’re on any medications.
How to Grow It: St. John’s Wort should be grown in containers to keep it from spreading where you don’t want it. Just find a seedling or some seeds and plant them in a small container placed in a partially sunny/partially shady area.
As if you needed another excuse to garden, gardening offers benefits to your physical and mental health. How do you find gardening helps your stress or anxiety? Are there any other seeds you like to grow to help? We’re happy to answer your questions and look forward to hearing from you. Come visit one of our stores today!
About SummerWinds Nursery: SummerWinds Garden Centers is a leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the west. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. www.summerwindsnursery.com