Gardening 101

Why Garden?

Spring signals the start of another cycle of growth. The warming temperatures and longer days reawaken nature and people. This year try something new yourself—become a gardener.

Garden for tradition—old or new. Gardening has been part of the human culture for centuries. Not long ago most families still had gardens and relied on it to provide food for their family. Remember visiting grandma’s house as a child and picking deliciously scented flower bouquets—or the thrill of pulling on green tops and being surprised with a carrot to eat right from the ground? Recreate some of those memories for you and your family to enjoy again.

If you’ve never tried to garden, start a new tradition. You don’t have to dig up the entire yard. Begin with a small container or border area for flowers. If you want vegetables, get some large pots or create a small garden area and fill with easy-to-grow lettuce, delicious tomatoes, or rambling cucumbers. Gardening is a wonderful activity for parents and grandparents to share with the younger generation.

Garden to save money. Gardening is a great way to have the freshest vegetables and flowers right outside your door, and cut your expenses during the year. A packet of tomato seed costs less than a pound of tomatoes at the local supermarket yet produces tasty tomatoes for months. A packet of seeds costs only a few dollars and will provide beautiful blooms worth many times more.

Garden for the environment. Gardens offer many benefits to our planet. They provide habitat and food for all kinds of animals. Gardens can be a place to preserve native plants. They are a way to produce food locally, saving energy and materials that would otherwise be used to ship, package and store the food before it reaches our homes.

Garden to live longer. Keeping active, both mentally and physically, can add years to your life. The physical efforts of gardening—digging, planting, bending and walking—are great forms of exercise. Gardening provides stimulation of all five senses—sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch.

Garden for solitude and escape. While gardening can be a great way to meet people, many gardeners look forward to time in the garden by themselves. Tending to the needs of plants provides a time to be alone with one’s thoughts. Gardening is a way to become immersed in another world.

Garden to heal. Gardens have the power to restore our spirits in a unique way. Many hospitals and health care facilities now recognize the healing power of a garden. Gardening is a great form of therapy that aids in the recovery from illness. Planting and caring for a beautiful flower or productive vegetable garden provides a sense of accomplishment without pressure, demands or expectations.

Garden to inspire. Gardens inspire people in many different ways. They can encourage children and adults to be more curious about plants and the environment, to become aware of the sights, scents, and feel of nature, or simply become more active. And gardens remind us of everything that is good in our lives—the beauty of nature, the abundance of our land, and the time we have to share with others.

National Garden Bureau – Janis Kieft

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