To accommodate construction, Shaver's Creek Environmental Center will be closed Tuesday, May 28, through Thursday, May 30.

The Health Benefits of Gardening

As part of Shaver’s Creek’s Human Nature Series, we work to bridge the gap between the natural world and our health through a series of public workshops. To continue these conversations, we’re providing more information and resources in our Naturalist Notebook!

Whether you have a green thumb or a “not-so-green” thumb — like me — gardening is good for both you and the planet. But do you know why growing a garden is beneficial to our health? Here are five ways gardening improves your health and well-being:

1. Boost Immune System

Taking in some sunlight gives you vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium to build bones and keep them healthy. Consuming fruits and vegetables you grow not only tastes good but improves your diet with crucial vitamins and minerals that support your immune system.

2. A Green Diet

Growing your own fruit and vegetables will give you extra motivation to eat more fresh produce. Green food like kale, spinach, broccoli, and lettuce are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is just as important so don’t be afraid to increase the biodiversity of your garden!

3. Improve Mental Health

Studies like this one found gardening to reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. Other studies see an increase in life satisfaction, quality of life, and a sense of community in their participants. Your mental and physical health are equally important to your overall well-being.

4. Get Moving!

Gardening is a great way to burn some calories. In fact, the CDC states that light yard work (gardening) burns up to 330 calories an hour. Physical activity has many benefits that contribute to one’s health; it reduces high blood pressure, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and some types of cancer to name a few!

5. Sense of Community

Having a sense of community is crucial to mental health. Humans are social beings; we want to be a part of a community that holds similar values. For many around the world, gardening brings communities together from large-scale growers to backyard beginners. 

I encourage you to become part of the gardening community in any way you can. Not only to find friends but to improve your mental and physical health!

“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.” 
Gertrude Jekyll