Advantages & Health Benefits of Doing Your Own Gardening
Of course, there are many pros to hiring a gardener to take care of your home’s grounds, but there is also a major con, which is you missing out on all the health benefits and advantages of taking care of your garden. The well-known health benefits include receiving Vitamin D from the sun, exercise, and stress relief in the form of fresh air and communing with nature. Here are some of the little known advantages:
- Become more “in tune” with your local environment and neighborhood
- Understand your local wildlife and weather patterns
- See and socialize with your neighbors more often, in turn improving neighborly relations
- Notice garden pests or plant diseases before they become a problem or infestation
- Understand your garden’s growth patterns, soil type, and sun patterns to assign appropriate plants in the right places
- Set an example in your community and inspire others to do the same
- Save money (by not spending it on a gardener)
- Opportunity to grow your own food, which leads to a plethora of more health benefits
Some of you are a garden novice and have never pulled a weed in your life, while others are experienced garden enthusiasts. If you don’t know how to do anything in your garden, don’t be discouraged! Here are some tips on being successful at becoming your home’s gardener:
- Start out by trying and seeing how far you get; take notes if you have questions
- Hire a garden coach for a gardening consultation to answer the questions you’ve recorded and give you general garden advice
- Receive garden training through free or inexpensive one-time classes offered in your area, or take a general Horticulture class at your local community college to learn the basics. Some colleges allow you to audit classes for free, which is good if you are not looking for credit. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, free classes are available at the Urban Farmer Store.
- Pick up a reference book and keep it on hand just in case you don’t know how to do something. Good choices for the San Francisco Bay Area would be the Sunset Western Garden Book or Pam Pierce’s Golden Gate Gardening. A great resource for free or cheap gardening books is your local library’s annual book sale, or garage sales/flea markets/thrift stores/used book stores.
- Follow one of the many gardening blogs available on the internet (such as this one!) A lot of them are open to comments; in that case, the authors want to answer your questions
- Join an on-line gardening forum to post gardening questions & receive a myriad of answers and opinions; look for one specific to your area
- Join your local garden club to be with like-minded people that would be happy to answer your questions; a lot of gardening clubs have guest speakers that give lectures at the meetings
- Call the Master Gardener help line to get questions answered, a free service if your area has a Master Gardener program, normally run by the local University
- Read your local paper’s Home and Garden section each week to pick up random garden advice
Remember: there is no such thing as a “black thumb”– only uninformed, future garden experts.
So, you want to do your own gardening, but you don’t know where to find the time. My advice to you would be to set aside a specific time each week, and stick to it. Don’t blow it off or prioritize other activities in the time slot you’ve allotted. If you can’t set aside a weekly time, then set aside some time each month, or every other week. Put it in your calendar so you don’t forget or schedule something else in your garden’s time slot. Your body and mind will thank you for it!