Today was probably one of the hottest days of the year so far (YES!! I love it!) and my hubby and I spent the day opening our pool and gardening. Where were the kids do you ask? Well, while Joseph took his morning nap, I put Super Why on for Rosie, and headed outside. Don't worry, we came in every 5 minutes to check on them. Later on that afternoon, by some miracle, both kids went for a nap at the same time, so I was able to do some more gardening. I've got to say, my backyard needs a lot of work! The previous owners were empty nesters, so they had WAY more time to dedicate to the garden, and they planted A LOT of stuff everywhere. It's like a jungle in my backyard. I guess it also doesn't help that last summer I didn't even touch the backyard because I was busy taking care of a newborn (a good excuse in my eyes), but now I have 2 years of weeds and craziness to contend with. Although there's a ton of work involved in fixing up my garden, I really shouldn't complain, because gardening is proven to be beneficial to our health. LOL, I'm going to be the healthiest person alive by the time I tame my garden:)
Gardening offers strength and cardio training, plus increases flexibility, relieves stress, and produces nutritious food, AND you're spending time outdoors in the fresh air! Sounds fantastic doesn't it? Think about it like this. How heavy are those watering cans when they're full? Maybe 8-10 pounds depending on the size, and lugging one of those around is a pretty good workout. Or how about pushing a full wheelbarrow? You'll be working those biceps pretty hard. All that bending, kneeling, and crouching is also going to help with flexibility. And hey, if you ask my husband about pulling out cedar bushes, he'll testify of all the hard work and sweat it takes.
Aside from all the pretty flowers that will soon be popping up, it's a great idea to plant some fruit, vegetables and herbs. Think of all the new recipes you'll be trying when you start picking all the fresh food from your (pesticide free!) garden and think of all the money you'll be saving at the grocery store. I started with some herbs, parsley, basil, cilantro... they are so easy to take care of and add wonderful flavor to any meal. We're planning of planting a raspberry bush this year too because I love raspberries so much and they are so easy to maintain. Another bonus to having a fruit, vegetable, and herb garden is that your kids will eat more. There's just something about kids and eating something they help grow themselves, and being able to pick themselves that appeals to them. A mother commented to me once that her son would never eat peas on his dinner plate but he would eat them right out of the garden.
Gardening requires you to use your head and your creativity. The time spent planning the garden and researching different plants is a great brain workout. Gardening gives us a chance to be creative. You can let your personality shine through in your garden. Don't forget to include the kids in the gardening. My mother used to give us a little section of our own to plant whatever we wanted. It was a lot of fun and taught us patience, hard work, and the consequences when we didn't take care of our plants.
Gardening connects you with nature and the rhythm of life. Gardening requires you to live in garden time. We all could use a lesson in slowing down, in our busy society. Studies have revealed just viewing a garden or nature has healthy psychological benefits and I know this to be true in my own life.
Have fun gardening. Relax and remember your garden doesn't have to be picture perfect all the time. Resolve to have a garden this year. Whether it's a window box or an acre garden, you will be healthier for it. I read somewhere that "gardening is a labor of love. A treadmill is just labor."
Me Ka Aloha