Summertime in the Garden

A palette garden with lots of plants growing in it

It’s not the neatest garden ever, but my vegetables are growing nicely.

I love gardening.  Every year, I experiment with new types of plants and new (to me, at least) techniques to make my garden as productive as possible.  Now, don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not saying I’m actually good at gardening.  In fact, I rarely have much success with anything other than the most hardy herbs.  Things that are supposed to grow anywhere with minimal attention die under my care.  Zucchini is one of those things.  Every year, I plant several zucchini plants, and every year I am rewarded with one, maybe two zucchini if I’m lucky.  On the other hand, I seem to grow tomatoes with relative ease.  In fact, they’re flowering now, and I’m looking forward to my favorite sandwich (a nice BLT on homemade bread) in just a few weeks.  It’s a treat I only enjoy with fresh, home-grown tomatoes and I look forward to it every year.

So, if I’m not especially good at gardening, why in the world am I sharing this with you?  Because, whether you’re a world class Master Gardener or a part-time putterer, gardening has tremendous health benefits.

In an article for the Michigan State University Extension, Julia Danton and Lauren McGuire review the physical and mental benefits of gardening.  Not only is gardening a great, moderate-intensity total body workout, but it’s also a great way to relieve stress

According to USA Today, there is an emerging field called Horticultural Therapy.  This new type of therapy is used to treat mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety, as well as physical health problems, such as hypertension.

In her article for Psychology Today, Sarah Rayner explains that the psychological benefits of gardening stem from the sense of responsibility and connection to other living things involved in caring for plants.  It also allows us to feel some control over our lives, and in some cases, allows us to vent our frustrations through pruning bushes and pulling up those stubborn weeds.

Vegetables and herbs growing in containers on a deck

I’m growing lettuce in a window box, herbs in pots, and tomatoes and Brussels sprouts in pots as well.

No space for a garden?  No problem!  Growing plants in containers is a great way to grow flowers, herbs, and even vegetables in tight spaces.  Get creative and experiment to find out what works for you.  Sometimes, plants die or don’t produce the way you want them to, but that’s all part of the process.  Remember, gardening is supposed to be relaxing, so relax and have fun and grow something!

I’d love to know what you’re growing.

 

Catherine Hall

About Catherine Hall

Catherine lives in Bangor, Maine with her family. She gained her appreciation for food and cooking from her grandmother and learned most of her technical knowledge from watching the Food Network. When not in the kitchen, Catherine can be found outdoors attempting to grow vegetables (not always successfully), practicing yoga, and taking Capoeira classes in downtown Bangor. Catherine can also be found walking around town with her Guiding Eyes guide dog, Caleb.