By Amy Isler, MSN, RN
Senior Reporter
April 27, 2022

6 minutes to read

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    Wellness Wednesday: How Does Your Garden Grow?

    how does your garden grow

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    Happy Wellness Wednesday, my fellow nurse writers!

    Spring has sprung across most of the U.S. bringing sunshine, warmer weather, and often a boost in mood and eagerness to get outside. A perk of being a freelance writer is we have the flexibility to take advantage of beautiful weather. Stepping outside also helps counterbalance the sedentary lifestyle many writers struggle with, especially during winter.

    Basking in the sunshine is an excellent opportunity to create or spruce up a home garden. No matter the size of your outdoor space, adding greenery and color to your life can be simple and cheap. The benefits of surrounding yourself with a bit of nature are huge, especially for our mental health. 

    This article highlights the benefits of growing a garden and gives a few tips on getting started.

    Benefits of Growing a Garden

    Spending time outdoors, especially on a warm, sunny day, can do wonders for our mood and mental health. Studies have shown a link between sun exposure and a reduction in depression symptoms, better mood, and less fatigue. 

    Gardening outside provides a calm, relaxing atmosphere to help you get out of your head for a bit. It also allows you to enjoy the sounds and smells of a new environment (and away from your office). The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) highlighted some incredible health benefits of gardening, including:

    • Exposure to Vitamin D (but don’t forget your sunscreen)
    • Decreased risk of dementia
    • Reduces stress and boosts mood
    • Sense of accomplishment and pride
    • It helps reduce feelings of loneliness

    Gardening is good for heart health too. A recent study (full disclosure: I wrote this article) from the American Heart Association found that four hours of daily life activity, including gardening, help to prevent and combat heart disease in women over the age of 60. The physical movement of gardening is also great for improving flexibility, muscle strength, and balance. 

    While the benefits of gardening are vast and the results are beautiful, many people don’t have the “green thumb” or confidence to start and maintain a garden. The good news is that it is easy to get started and requires minimal resources. 

    Simple Tips on Starting a Small Garden or Green Space

    Before you run out to Home Depot and fill your cart with supplies, it is a good idea to make a plan for your designated space and start small. Whether it’s a flower, vegetable, or succulent garden, having a good sense of how much direct sunlight your area receives throughout the day is crucial. It will help you choose a suitable variety of plants and set you up for success.

    The size of your outdoor or indoor space will determine if you can plant directly into the ground or use potted planters to design your garden. Better Homes and Gardens outlines some basic first steps for starting a small garden, including:

    • Pick the best garden spot– ideally, it will have 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day
    • Clear the ground– remove weeds, debris, and till the soil (or purchase potting soil) 
    • Pick your plants– annuals (don’t come back), perennials (do come back), or vegetables
    • Start planting– dig a hole in the soil, put in your plant or seeds, fill in with extra soil
    • Water at the right time- Water daily at first, waterless when roots are established
    • Protect soil with mulch- keeps weeds out and moisture in
    • Maintain your garden– weed often, water before plants wilt, remove dead vegetation 

    As the weather warms up and those writing assignments pile up, make sure to take the time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Taking advantage of the many benefits of gardening is a great excuse to step away from your desk, clear your head, and create something beautiful!

    Amy Isler, MSN, RN

    Amy Isler, RN, MSN, CSN is a registered nurse and freelance writer who has over six years of experience working as a credentialed school nurse managing children with chronic health conditions, including diabetes, asthma, seizures, and food allergies.