When I say us, I mean myself, my 3 ½ year old and my just turned 1 year old. My partner, sadly, has an alarmingly common and completely tragic allergy to gardening and, instead, has spent the time looking a little confused but enjoying the transformation all the same.
Anyway, during this time I have come to learn that there is more to gardening than meets the eye. Whilst I’d never in a million years have considered myself a gardener, I have actually come to rather enjoy it and the many benefits it’s brought to our family and I’m about to share them with you.
1) Gardening is great for your body. Gardening, I have discovered, is not for the faint of heart! It is a full body workout. Having only tickled the grass with a lawnmower a few times or popped a few seeds in a pot of compost before now, I can safely say I was somewhat of a gardening featherweight. These past three weeks, I have been moving bins full of earth and weeds that must weight three times my bodyweight; I have been squatting for hours; I have been pulling huge tufts of grass firmly rooted in tiny cracks between concrete flags and I have been running around after my one year old who has been attempting to eat the garden like a little billy goat in the process. I ache, badly!
2) Gardening is educational. We home educate and enjoy approaching various subjects in creative and hands on ways. Gardening is tactile, sensory, practical and opens the door to imaginative play. The possibilities are endless. From my one year old enjoying the simple sensation of various plants, dirt and stones to her older sister learning about why we need to remove weeds and how best to remove each one, the names of different flowers and starting the beginnings of a little fairy garden in an unused plantpot – we have had a blast and learned a lot, together.
3) Gardening is calming. I always enjoy having something to focus on, but sometimes struggle with the constant stream of thought and inability to just not think. Gardening, especially weeding, is easy but requires concentration which calms any chatter in your head and clears your mind. Being in nature also has this effect, but the focus required in gardening amplifies the effect quite dramatically.
4) Gardening is good for the immune system. Exposing yourself, through little cuts and scrapes, to environmental toxins and bacteria is a great way to gently trigger an immune response which is then memorised by your body and which is a healthy and natural way to gently tax, and improve, your immune system.
5) Gardening is sustainable. Growing your own herbs, fruits and veggies is incredibly rewarding and has masses of educational value. It is also a more eco-friendly and sustainable way of feeding your family. Starting small with herbs and working up with easy, seasonal vegetables is a great way to get started.
Time to get stuck in whilst the good weather lasts!