5 Benefits of Gardening and Gardening Tips
You might think that with the pandemic, natural disasters, war abroad, drought, and civil strife at home, Americans wouldn’t be thinking much about gardening. After all, everyone’s got mouths to feed and families to protect, right? But if you thought that, you would be wrong, surprisingly! In 2021, the National Gardening Survey reported that interest in gardening is way up. There were 18.3 million new gardeners, and veteran gardeners also gardened more. Eighty-nine percent of all gardeners planned to either maintain their current level of gardening or increase it. So why is gardening so gosh-darn popular, even during hard times? Maybe it’s because people want to be more self-sufficient in the face of supply-chain problems. Maybe they seek its relaxing effects to counteract stress. Personally, I think it’s that and a whole lot more. There are many benefits to gardening that you might not have thought of before.
Indeed, even if you don’t own a plot of land or have the time to cultivate a garden, there are ways you can do it. When you consider the benefits, you might actually wonder how you can afford not to garden!
Complete self-sufficiency—where one relies on no government infrastructure or commercial enterprise—is definitely a lofty goal. Many people would say it’s an unrealistic and unattainable goal. Maybe it is, but you can still aim for a kind of self-sufficiency. It's the kind that isn't just about having the tangible goods on hand. It's also about giving your body better nutrition and the satisfaction of reaping what you sow.
“Evidence shows that locally grown produce can have a higher nutritional value than produce [that is] transported long distances,” says Corilee Walters, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. In addition, harvesting your own produce means you eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions that would have been spent transporting it to you. In Hawaii, the need for self-sufficiency, at least in terms of produce, is high, since imported food travels a minimum of 2,500 miles to get there, which makes their cost prohibitive.
Like the people of Hawaii, the citizens of Cape Verde also needed to become more self-reliant because of prohibitive produce costs. Although not technically a desert, this island off the west African coast, about the same latitude as the Sahara Desert, claims soil that isn’t very arable and low rainfall. Because of that, Cape Verdians ate very little fruits and vegetables.
But, in 2009, several missionaries and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, taught them how to improve soil for their gardens by combining fertilizer and potting soil with the soil found in their region. Several islanders also learned how to plant gardens in whatever containers they could find and create compost piles. Less reliance on imported produce, for them, provided nutrition they were almost completely lacking. So, benefits 2 and 3 are: ...