Gardening is regarded as a hobby and most hobbies are pursued for pleasure. Having said that there are many other reasons and Janis Kieft has compiled a list of the top ten. These range from the severely practical of the desire to grow safe, healthy food and as a way to exercise to the more abstract benefits of creativity and to satisfy emotional needs.
Cell phones, PDA?s, and MP3 players have become the tools of our modern lives. But it wasn?t that long ago that a shovel, a patch of soil and a bag of seeds were the only tools needed to provide sustenance and satisfaction. Gardening was a part of daily life. Ask any gardener today why they garden and you?ll get a variety of reasons why it?s important to them.
1. Garden for safe, healthy food.
Reports of food-borne illnesses and contamination regularly appear in the news media. Growing concerns about pesticides in our food supply have led to an increased interest in organic gardening and availability of organic produce. Processed foods contain additives and preservatives that many consumers want to avoid. The National Garden Bureau believes an easy solution is to grow your own vegetables. It?s estimated that during WWII, 20 million homeowners had Victory Gardens that produced close to 40% of the fresh vegetables consumed in the United States. Start your own garden and know the food you?re eating is fresh and safe with fantastic flavor not always found in grocery store produce.
2. Garden for exercise.
Tired of the gym routine? Get a good workout without even thinking about it. Gardening activities provide both cardio and aerobic exercise. Studies show that an hour of moderate gardening can burn up to 300 calories for women, almost 400 calories for men. For older people, especially women, gardening can help reduce osteoporosis. Mowing the grass is like taking a vigorous walk, bending and stretching to plant a garden compares to an exercise class, while hauling plants and soil is similar to weightlifting. Adaptive tools help those whose physical limitations prevent some activities. And after you?re finished, you see immediate results in your garden even as your physical health improves?without being bored.
3. Garden to add beauty.
A house with a nice yard is a pleasure to look at and satisfying to live in. Your home can be made more inviting simply by adding a container of colorful flowers near the front door. Herbs in the kitchen add freshness to the room, as well as flavor to daily meals. Trees and shrubs not only provide color and shade, but shelter for birds and wildlife. Think of the garden as another room to be enjoyed whether you are inside or outside the house.
4. Garden to learn.
Gardeners find that the more they learn about plants and gardening, the more they want to know. Problems with insects or spots on leaves provide the opportunity to find out the cause and understand how to keep plants healthy. Moving to a new house may mean leaving favorite plants but also provides the opportunity to discover new plants and growing conditions. There are a variety of ways to increase gardening know-how such as seminars, Master Gardener programs, vo-tech courses and formal degree programs at a college or university.