A guest post by: Maria Cannon
Gardening is a wonderful activity for people to embrace and it provides substantial benefits to one’s mental and physical health. If you have never gardened before, but want to reap the health benefits that come from this hobby, starting a vegetable garden is a good way to dig in and get going.
Gardening provides a great all-around workout for your body and your brain
Grit notes that gardening is a well-kept secret. It provides a well-rounded workout that builds both cardio and muscle strength, but many people don’t realize how much exercise they can get while gardening. It also can build flexibility, slow or prevent osteoporosis, and lower both cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
According to the Veggie Lady, people gain mental health benefits from gardening, too. The activity gets your feel-good endorphins flowing, and this can reduce stress and depression. Vegetable gardening gives your brain a boost, pushing you to problem-solve and think creatively, and it is great for relaxation and socialization too.
Experts recommend starting simple and small
Better Homes & Gardens explains that vegetable gardening does not have to be difficult. Plenty of vegetables are easy to grow fairly quickly, and this fast success will build your confidence and self-esteem. Not only can vegetables be easy to grow, but the food you produce will save you money at the grocery store and help you build a healthy diet that will increase your overall health.
Beginning vegetable gardeners should keep things simple as they get started. In fact, an urban garden is a great way to begin. Many vegetables grow well in containers on a patio; window boxes, hanging baskets, and vertical planting are all excellent options. Vegetables like cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and cucumbers can do particularly well in an urban garden setting.
Learn the basics to reap the rewards
As you begin, it is important to prepare your soil to make sure it is fertile. Aim for spots that receive plenty of sunlight, and stay on top of watering and weeding. It will take some time and patience before you can start harvesting your produce, but with vegetable gardening, it does not typically take long to have success.
What should you try growing first? In addition to tomatoes and snap peas, experts recommend trying leafy vegetables like lettuce, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower, and root vegetables like potatoes and carrots are usually easy to grow, too. Zucchini, green beans, and onions are usually great options as well. Consider your family’s favorites or combinations that will work well together in the kitchen to provide some guidance in your choices.
There is plenty of room to grow as a gardener
If you feel ambitious once you experience some success, you can expand your vegetable garden to a solar greenhouse. This allows you to grow year-round, and it’s a great way to get a jump start on the traditional growing season. Peppers and tomatoes are a good fit for this environment, and items like lettuce, potatoes, and onions can keep gardeners busy throughout the full year.
Vegetable gardening doesn’t have to be complicated. For novices anxious to grow produce of their own, improve their physical fitness, and reap mental health benefits all at the same time, starting out with a small plot of yard space or some patio containers is a great way to get started. There is plenty of room to grow as you experience success and see your overall health improve, and this is a hobby that can flourish for a lifetime.