How to Use Gardening as Self Care

How to Use Gardening as Self Care

Hi! It’s Saturday, which means it’s time for #SelfCareWithAdrian !

Every year around this time, my family starts a small garden. I always get incredibly excited to put the baby plants into the soil because I know that with the appropriate care, those baby plants will soon bear amazing veggies and fruits. In tending to the garden, I been able to let my Type A self loose and plot where each plant will go based on sunlight and the surrounding fruits and veggies.

I love gardening because my feet are in the dirt, I get to smell the aromas of various plants, and I am able to literally watch something grow before my very eyes…and know that I had a part to play in that growth.

Why am I talking about this?

Because gardening can be such a great way to show ourselves some love…not just the plants!

Some research has suggested that gardening might even be better at stress reduction than reading.

Here are my 5 reasons Gardening is Self Care:

    1. Gardening is exercise

Planting, weeding, pruning, and watering all involve…moving your body! This is such a great, low stress way to exercise. Plus, it’s kind of like multitasking. You’re getting exercise while working towards having a healthy, bountiful garden. Win-win!

    2. Gardening connects with nature

Like I said earlier, you will be submerged in dirt. You’ll be around wildlife. You’ll feel the wind on your skin. You’ll hear birds, toads, and dogs. The pace of life will suddenly relax and slow down, even momentarily. If you’re like most of us, the break from electronics and the indoors could be a welcome opportunity.

    3. Gardening means sunshine

If you live in any place in the world that experiences winter, you probably know just how impactful a good dose of sunshine can be on your mood. Living in the northeast version of Seattle, I crave the sun all the time! This springtime when the sun first started showing, I even cried tears of joy!

Sunshine also gives our bodies Vitamin D, which is so critical for bone strength and the health of our blood cells.

    4. Caring for plants is productivity

When you garden, in whatever capacity that might be, you are doing something that will produce results (or should). You’ll have goals and expectations (ex: a veggie bearing plant). And you’ll need to make small steps along the way to reach those goals (ex: watering the plant).

Gardening is an opportunity to be committed and to be needed.

    5. Caring for plants is connecting

I can’t tell you of a single year of gardening that was completely isolative. We purchase our plants from a farmer. We borrow different tools from neighbors. We share the fruits and veggies with friends.

Having a garden can be such a way to connect with your local community…and it gives so much opportunity for creativity!

Baby plants

But where to start? What if I don’t have a space for a garden? What about winter?

1. Location doesn’t matter!

Do you live in the city? Or in an apartment complex? There’s a good chance the answer is yes! Not everyone has a yard (or land) for gardening. Don’t let that stop you! Your options for planting something are limitless.

You could join a community garden (see below).

You might also look into creative urban garden ideas (ex: potted garden, rooftop gardens, or vertical gardens).

Maybe you could have some indoor plants on your windowsill or table.

PS some produce items, like mushrooms and green onion, will grow back if you put them in water/soil (depending on the plant).

DIY & Crafts has a great guide on how to regrow 25 different fruits or veggies from kitchen scraps. Check it out here!

2. Look for your community

Find a local community garden and buy out a plot for the season. Maybe even find a local gardening club! Regardless, the gardening community can be a great way to learn more about gardening, get support in your gardening journey, and maybe even make new friends!

Also, your plants themselves can help build relationships. Maybe you could give some of your produce to a neighbor. Maybe you can use the produce in a meal to share with friends.

Or maybe you have one of those cool spider plants that give off baby plants that can easily be reported and shared with others. I’ve heard that spider plants are pretty hardy, too.

Here’s another area where creativity is limitless!

3. Ask some questions

What do you want to plant? When should you plant it? Where should it be planted? What is the purpose of planting it? Where do you find those answers?

Do some internet research! Better yet, find a local farm or coop that could serve as a guide.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac can serve as a great starting place. They have a great growing guide, explaining the nitty gritty any gardener should know about any given plant (best soil type, how it grows, where to plant, amount of water needed, when to harvest, etc.).

I’ve used their growing guide in years past to help plot out my family’s garden.

The Farmer’s Almanac also has a great beginners guide with suggestions on what produce to grow as a newbie.

4. At wit’s end? Find a forever friend!

Do you have a black thumb?

Have you killed every plant known to mankind?

Are you so busy that you know you can’t commit to caring for plants?

I’ll admit, I have even killed succulents. I’m not sure how. But I cannot seem to keep an indoor plant alive.

If you’re like me, you can always turn to this idea:

Get a fake plant. Not a cheap, obviously fake one. But a fake plant that looks real and creates a similar environment within a room. If you can find a fake plant that is environmentally sustainable, that’s even better!

5. No time for any plant? Here’s another option

Check out a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

What’s a CSA? It’s kind of like a subscription box…but for produce. You pick a plan and get a box of produce on a regular basis. The produce is coming straight from different area farmers, which is pretty amazing! Plan options could look something like this:

Frequency:

  • Weekly
  • Biweekly
  • Monthly

Size (amount of produce you get):

  • Small/1-2 people
  • Large/family size

Some CSAs even let you “skip” a week or choose how many weeks you get produce!

If gardening just isn’t for you, you still have the opportunity to support local farmers! Big perk here: you get really fresh, tasty produce. And eating well is an excellent way to show yourself some love.

*BONUS*:

Gardening is amazing for the Earth…and the bees! The bee population is continually dropping at a scary rate for a number of reasons. But gardens can help!

Gardens improve our health, the earth’s health, and the bee population.

National Geographic  has some good starting tips for how to get started with a bee friendly garden.

Hugs!

Adrian

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