Grow healthier and wealthier with gardening

  • Published: Friday, April 12, 2019

COLUMBIA, Mo. – April showers us with reasons to celebrate the joys of gardening, says University of Missouri Extension horticulturist David Trinklein.

April brings a sense of renewal, Trinklein says. “Gardens and gardening remind us of everything good about life—the beauty of nature, the feeling of pride and sense of accomplishment for having done something productive and the realization that our efforts help to improve ourselves, our society and our environment.”

Gardening saves money

A study by Burpee Seeds reports that $50 spent on gardening can convert into $1,250 worth of produce annually. “You don’t have to buy a $500 rotary tiller to begin gardening,” Trinklein says. “You’ll need a shovel to turn the soil, a rake to smooth it and a hoe to get rid of weeds. It is surprising how inexpensive it can be to get into gardening.”

Gardening offers health benefits

Digging, hoeing, raking and other gardening tasks strengthen muscles and the mind. The average gardener burns 300 to 400 calories per hour while gardening – the equivalent of walking 4 miles at a brisk pace, Trinklein says.

Gardening also burns stress. “Simply being surrounded by growing plants and blooming flowers immerses us in another world and diverts the stresses and demands of life,” he says. “Gardening offers serenity and enjoyment that often escapes us in our technologically based society.”

Studies show that people eat healthier when fresh produce is readily available, he adds.

Gardening helps the environment

Trinklein says growing food locally instead of having it shipped from distant locations helps to reduce one’s carbon footprint. Plants take in carbon dioxide as they make food and reduce greenhouse gases. Gardens reduce soil erosion by slowing rainfall runoff and allowing it to infiltrate more slowly into the ground.

Gardening creates communities

Gardens serve as a food source and gathering place for many types of wildlife such as butterflies and birds. They also strengthen bonds between people and provides learning experiences, Trinklein says.

“Gardening represents a universal language that can strengthen family relationships and is a wonderful way for generations of family members to interact,” he says. “The most valuable product from a garden just might be the joy derived from working with family and friends.”

Writer: Linda Geist

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David Trinklein

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