Gardening Benefits and Tips

Gardening Volunteers at the YMCA

As summer draws closer and the days get warmer, you may want to start gardening. Gardening is a rewarding experience that can improve your health and happiness, whether you’re shaping a beautiful flowerbed or picking veggies straight from your backyard.

Gardening may sound like hard work - digging, planting, watering, and so on. But rest assured, the rewards you’ll reap are well worth the effort.

  • Watching your plants grow can help bring a sense of accomplishment.
  • The physical aspects of gardening can improve your coordination, strength and overall health.
  • Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your emotional well-being - increasing happiness and reducing feelings of loneliness.

If you’re ready to start gardening, here are some starter tips for when you pick up the trowel!

  1. Start small.
    If you're just starting out, don't jump to an elaborate plan just yet. Start with a few potted plants or vegetables that you know you can manage, so you don't get overwhelmed. Even something as simple as growing green onions on your windowsill can be a fulfilling first experience. Once you're more comfortable and more experienced, then you can expand your garden – bit by bit.
  2. Safety First!
    When you're out in the garden, take precautions to prevent injuries. Start by setting up your garden based upon your physical abilities. If you aren’t able to bend down, consider raised beds or potted plants. Once your garden is set and you’re ready to work, apply sunblock before going outside and stay hydrated, especially if it's hot. Wear gloves when working with your plants, take breaks so you don't strain yourself from repetitive movements and always check your clothes for tics or bugs when you are done for the day.
  3. Choose the right tools.
    Make sure you have a good set of tools that feel comfortable in your hands. For example, your gloves should be durable and fit well. Also, consider the size and weight of garden tools to ensure they are manageable for you.
  4. Choose your plants wisely.
    Research the plants you want for your garden. If you're a beginner, start with plants that are low-maintenance. Also consider the growing zone where you live and the season when you are planting. Choose plants that thrive in your zone.
  5. Get your friends in on it.
    Gardening has a vibrant social scene. Search on social media, around your local community or at the YMCA for fellow gardeners. Make a plan to help each other with your gardens.

Happy gardening!