Gardening can be an incredibly rewarding and beneficial experience. An activity that can be done by just about anyone, in a wide variety of spaces. From large sprawling garden beds outside, to small windowsill sprouting jars inside. There is some form of gardening for every age and ability level. The wide variety of options all come with amazing health benefits. There truly is power in gardening.
Beyond the increased nutrition that comes with homegrown food, gardening has other benefits. It has been shown to improve many aspects of health, including anxiety, depression and body mass index (see study here). Getting outside in the sunlight every day is a vital part of our life. It helps our bodies produce vitamin D and regulates our sleep and wake cycles (circadian rhythm) among a host of other things. Physically making contact with the Earth (also known as “grounding”) has shown promise in being a strategy against the rising epidemic of degenerative and inflammatory-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease (see study here). Most of these health benefits can be enjoyed before any food even grows! The process of growing and eating fresh food is a powerful experience.
Gardening in Different Forms
If you’ve got access to enough outdoor space, this is the most natural way to garden. Plants thrive when outside and exposed to all of the elements. Being outside allows you to reap all the benefits of fresh air and sunlight too. Gardening can be done mindfully and with a gentle focus on your task, turning it into a meditative experience. This further increases the health benefits.
These are two thorough resources on many aspects of gardening:
If space is an issue, or if you’re just looking to try something different, vertical gardening is a great option. There are many different ways to cram more plants into a space, garden towers are one such option. There are a few available for purchase, such as the Garden Tower, or these stackable planters. However, you can also get creative and make your own out of old materials. I converted this rain barrel to a garden tower, and it works beautifully! As with the Garden Tower, there’s a worm tube in the middle for continued fertilization of the soil. Planting up is a great way to save space and maximize your yields.
Sprouting can be done in any space. It’s a fairly simple way to get a ton of nutrition. Certain sprouts like broccoli are incredibly nutritious, showing a wide range of positive health effects. Other popular sprouting seeds are:
When buying seeds, it’s best to get seeds that are meant for sprouting. You’re more likely to get a better sprouting, cleaner seed this way. To begin sprouting, put a small amount of seeds in a mason jar and cover with water (roughly 1 part seeds to 3 parts water). You can use a sprouting lid (like this) or cheesecloth on top. After they have soaked overnight, drain and rinse well, a few times. Then store the jar upside down (at a 45° angle) in a bowl. This allows water to drip out and air to get in. Repeat this rinse and drain process twice a day, morning and night. After 5 days or so you should be ready to harvest. Rinse and let them air dry on a towel for an hour before storing in the fridge.
Regrow Food From Scraps
Another great way to enjoy the power of gardening is to regrow food from old scraps! This can be done with a variety of vegetables. Green onions might be the easiest of them all. To regrow green onions follow these steps and you can be enjoying a virtually unlimited supply of green onions.
- Cut off the ends of the bulbs, about 3/4”, with the roots still attached.
- Stand them up in a dish with enough water to cover the roots, but leave the top above water.
- Place in sunlight and change the water every couple of days.
- Green shoots will start to emerge and will grow quickly! This is 6 days of growth.
The Many Rewards
There is a certain connection that happens when you grow your own food. It feels more nourishing and beneficial to your body. Learning the skills of growing your own food is both practical and empowering. Kids love to experience the joys of gardening and helping them learn this lifelong skill is a gift. You can easily grow food the first year you try, yet still learn for a lifetime. The rewarding experience of eating and serving food you have grown yourself is something everyone should experience. There truly is power in gardening.