A 2020 study from Princeton University found that gardening boosts people’s mental health and happiness levels as much as activities like walking, biking and dining out. Veggie, fruit and herb gardens also afford easy access to wellness-boosting produce at its nutritional peak. Plus, it’s an at-home activity—an added bonus this year especially. If you haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening (which offers a deep connection with the natural world, not to mention an excuse to get outdoors), consider starting this season. Here are a few tips to help get you going.
- Grow an herb garden. Whether you have a whole yard to work with or just a sunny windowsill, you can grow an assortment of fresh herbs to healthfully flavor your home cooking. Basil, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, thyme, mint and parsley all grow well in pots either indoors or out.
- Build (or buy) a raised bed. Raised garden beds let you easily control soil health, which helps set your plants up for success. Many experts recommend a ratio of 60 percent topsoil, 30 percent compost and 10 percent potting soil.
- Do your research. Another benefit of gardening? Learning planting tips and harvesting tricks helps keep your brain engaged. Clemson Cooperative Extension has loads of free online resources for beginners. Experts at local nurseries and neighbors at community gardens can help you troubleshoot issues and master the skill as well.
Photographs by (tomatoes) Helene Dujardin (styling by Anna Hampton) & (little girl) shutterstock/Tatiana Gordievskaia