Some essentials: food, water … gardening?

yard1I’ve been enjoying a few days off from official work and plan to finish out the week with a few more working in our garden. We have a pretty elaborately landscaped yard around our home which we’ve been developing and working for about eight years. Most of it is ornamental, some of it edible. My wife gives the most time and care to it, and a great deal of it is her personal vision. But it’s been a great project together, and with our children, and I’m always amazed at how good it makes me feel when I spend any concentrated amount of time at it. Not only is it good light exercise, mixed with sunshine and fresh air, but the mental experience contrasts so starkly with sitting at a desk and starring into a computer screen (which is why I will keep this short and get back out there this morning).

There are many links on the web to articles or sites about the health and nutritional benefits of gardening, such as this one to Garden for the Health of it! I find that I’m more optimistic, less stressed, and appreciate my other work more when I balance it with some time in the garden. And I love tomatoes (among many other veggies), so the benefit of having buckets full when they come in is a big plus too.

Our approach has been driven by both a desire to beautify our surroundings by making them look more lush and varied, and to reduce watering by having little or no grass and a lot of native plants that can survive with little artificial support. Through plenty of trial and error, it has worked out quite well.

Even if you don’t think you have a green molecule in your thumb, I highly recommend doing something in your yard weekly. You’ll be glad you did. We all need time with nature to balance these increasingly fractured, digital lifestyles we’re living. And you’d be amazed how much nature you can realize in a typical 1/8 to 1/4 acre lot, or even in balcony boxes off of a high-rise apartment, although I suspect you’ll have to bench press those to get the same level of health benefit.

So as hard as it is for me to admit, my dad was right when he said, “pulling weeds is good for you, boys!”

Talk to you soon.

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