Keeping a garden is something that thousands of people do, yet for many of us it seems so daunting. What if it doesn’t grow? What if we’ve never had green thumbs? After several years of trying and killing plenty of flora, this year I’ve had a very successful garden full of vegetables, and I have to admit that it’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever been involved with. It really makes you feel proud, to see all of those wonderful things growing out of the soil after you planted them.
But there are so many other things you can get from urban gardening. Even if you’ve only got a few pots to keep on your porch or windowsill, these benefits can be reaped by just about anyone, nearly anywhere. Before you rule out gardening again this year, consider these things.
- Gardening is great exercise. You can get your heart rate going while planting, weeding, pulling, harvesting, you name it. I promise I’m not making this up; I work up such a sweat while gardening—whether it’s hot out or not!—that my glasses are often dripping. I really need to learn to keep a handkerchief with me…
- Gardening helps you save money. Even if you’re only growing one plant of tomatoes, it could yield fruit all summer long. This year, we have not had to buy tomatoes, lettuce, or peppers because our garden has been so fruitful—and we have many other vegetables growing as well.
- Gardening softens the landscape. Cities can be beautiful; they can also be harsh on the eyes. As mammals, we were meant to be around nature, and keeping even a few plants near us can help lift our mood and make us smile. Their scents, their pretty blossoms and bright leaves—the whole plant package is just lovely and uplifting (unless your allergies get to you!).
- Keeping a garden makes you need to cook more, which helps you prepare homemade, nutritious meals. It also helps teach children about how things grow, and you can in turn teach kids how to wash and prepare your grown foods and herbs—a valuable skill that so many just don’t have these days but may need in the future.
- When you garden, you don’t have to use pesticides, making your own organic crops. You can also skip the bags and plastic from the market or store, creating a greener lifestyle for yourself.