April 27, 2023
April Is National Gardening Month!
While you don’t have to only plant in April (as any avid gardener will tell you), did you realize that planting a garden, even a small one, can have myriad rewards that you probably aren’t aware of? Here’s a breakdown of some of the reasons why planting a garden now will help you become healthier, happier, and you could even save some money!
Whether you have acres to plant in, or a small space or balcony, you can reap the rewards of garden planting regardless of your space. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to grow a great garden, and the delight you will get out of watching your initial planting flourish is well worth a day of digging.
Did you know? According to The National Gardening Association (NGA), the average home gardener saves upwards of $1000 per year on their food bills. A recent study by Burpee Seed Company has shown that spending less than $100 in gardening supplies can yield upwards of $1300 worth of produce in one year! You don’t need to spend a lot on fancy starter growth mediums, either. Just a good topsoil, amended with a bit of compost, and some fertilizer is all you need. $50 in planting supplies can go a long way. If you don’t have a lot of space, consider using grow bags. These sturdy planters come in sizes ranging from 1 gallon to 100 gallons, and every size in between (and are easy on the budget!). With the larger bags, you can grow large bushes or small trees easily. They are also handy for anyone wishing to keep those plants that tend to take over your garden in check. By keeping them in these containers, you can enjoy the benefits of the plant without worrying they will creep and crawl their way into every part of your garden. We are currently using grow bags for our fig trees. We haven’t decided if we will eventually plant them, but they are flourishing in 50 gallon grow bags, and we can move them as needed into more shade as the Florida sun gets hotter this summer. You can purchase the fig trees we are growing by going here.
Did you know? There are several ways that gardening improves our health over time. Digging, hoeing, and planting offer physical health benefits, which we have all felt after a long day of getting our gardens started. The average gardener burns between 300-400 calories by simply working with their plants. But what about other ways gardening improves our health? The availability of fresh, home-grown fruits, herbs and veggies will always be a health benefit. Store bought produce is days, and sometimes weeks away from when it was originally harvested, which means many precious nutrients have been lost.
Psychologically, growing a garden can reduce stress. Concentrating on your garden’s growth, being surrounded by, and immersed in this activity, allows your mind to rest and move away from stressors that you face in the rest of your life. Watching your plants grow and thrive also has a beneficial effect as you feel proud of your accomplishments, with no pressure to ‘perform’ that we all face in so many other aspects of our lives. I, personally, cannot tell you how happy I was, and still smile to think about, the first buds and leaves I discovered on my apple and pear trees. I planted them as bare root stock, and the anticipation, then the reward, was such a simple pleasure, but one that has stuck with me. If you are interested in growing bare root trees, you can find them available here.
Did you know? Gardening is a learning experience. Every year provides different challenges, rewards, and invitations to try something new. Additionally, gardening allows both children and adults to be more curious about their environment, nature, and how the process of growth, pollination, and the final result-food-become a simple, yet important, accomplishment. Experimentation is also a fun learning tool. Try placing plants that attract butterflies and bees into your garden to help with pollination. Research what plants will help you prevent pesky insects from damaging your plants. There are many species of plants that will also deter rabbits, deer, and other animals from visiting your garden.
As always, your local independent nursery owners will have the answers you need, as well as knowing which plants to use for which purpose and that are suited to your environment. I don’t think there is anything more frustrating than purchasing a plant from a ‘big box’ store, only to watch it wither and die because it is not suited to your growing zone, soil, rainfall amounts, or other environmental issues. Your local independent nursery can help you avoid those pitfalls.
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February 21, 2023