Why Should I Garden? (7 Good Reasons To Garden)

I’ll let you in on a little secret: not having a garden can be hazardous to your health! It sounds crazy, but it’s true – and for more reasons than you might think.

So, why should you garden? Gardening offers many important health benefits, including: physical exercise, sunlight exposure, improved nutrition, mental health, social interaction, time spent in nature, and contact with soil. In short: gardening provides you with much more than fresh produce and the exercise you do to grow it!

The health benefits of gardening depend on the time you spend outside and the amount or intensity of work you do. Still, even a short amount of time (20 minutes per day) can have a huge positive impact on your overall health.

In this article, we’ll talk about the physical and mental health benefits of gardening. We’ll also provide some support for these miraculous-sounding claims.

Sound good? Let’s get started.

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Why Should I Garden?

In my mind, gardening is a wonderful hobby – so much so that it doesn’t need any justification. Even so, there are lots of great reasons to start gardening if you haven’t started yet and are still on the fence about it.

High Point Community Garden
The benefits of gardening are almost too numerous to list – but we’ll try to do it in this article!

Gardening gives you all of the following benefits:

  • 1. Physical Exercise
  • 2. Sunlight Exposure
  • 3. Improved Nutrition
  • 4. Mental Health
  • 5. Social Interaction
  • 6. Time Spent In Nature
  • 7. Contact With Soil

Don’t believe it? Let’s look at what some universities and hospitals have to say on the topic of gardening and health.

1. Physical Exercise

Squats, deadlifts, farmer’s walks, … it sounds like an intense gym session – but it’s happening right in your garden! Digging, pulling a rake, and pushing a wheelbarrow are other exercises that will give you a solid workout while improving your garden and increasing your harvest!

wheelbarrow with soil
Pushing a wheelbarrow is just one type of exercise you get in the garden.

With all of that physical activity, you will probably be tired out after just a few hours of gardening – never mind a full day. Later that night, you will probably be asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow – and you might even sleep better!

The CDC also suggests that gardening (at a moderate difficulty level for 2.5 hours per week) offers a whole host of health benefits, including a reduced risk of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon cancer, and premature death.

The verdict: get out into the garden as much as you can, as soon as you can! (Just don’t overdo it with the squats, or your legs will be sore for days!)

2. Sunlight Exposure

When you spend time outside in the garden, you will naturally get more sunlight. The warmth might feel good on your skin, but the benefits go much deeper than that.

sunlight through trees
Sunlight exposure helps with vitamin D production and lowers blood pressure, so get outside and into the garden!

For example, sunlight exposure leads to vitamin D production, which in turn improves calcium absorption. In addition, you will experience lower blood pressure after getting some sun on your body.

Just remember to wear sunscreen if you will be out in the sun for a long time. Use sunglasses and/or a hat if your eyes are sensitive to light (believe it or not, it can be brighter for sensitive eyes on overcast days!)

sunlight through forest
Garden early in the day or late in the day – avoid the midday sun, when it is strongest.

Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (late morning to early afternoon, or about 10am to 2pm). This is especially important if you live in a hot climate.

Try to find time to give yourself a break with shade and water on the hottest days, especially when you are doing hard work like digging.

3. Improved Nutrition

Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your garden means that you have more control over where your food comes from. You will not have to worry about pesticides, herbicides, and preservatives that growers and grocers use to improve harvests and prolong shelf life.

Colorado potato beetle
Growers might use pesticides on your food, but you know where vegetables come from if you grow them yourself!

As an added bonus: when you pick produce fresh from the yard, you get to eat it right after harvest. This means that the nutrients won’t have time to degrade (like they do when sitting at a warehouse, in a truck for transport, or on grocery store shelves).

According to the Mayo Clinic, vegetables from the garden can benefit you in a big way. For example, peppers have anti-inflammatory properties, while tomatoes contain antioxidants. Sweet potatoes can help slow the aging process, and spinach can boost the immune system.

purple bell peppers
Peppers have anti-inflammatory properties – and you can choose from green, yellow, red, and even purple ones!

When you have access to fresh produce, you may also find that your cravings for unhealthy foods are reduced, leading to even better health over time.

Finally: as every gardener knows, the taste of homegrown produce (especially tomatoes!) can’t be beat – store bought produce just doesn’t compare.

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4. Mental Health

Good physical health is essential, but mental health is just as important. Spending time in a garden gives you the opportunity to get away from the stress in your life for a while.

frustrated guy at computer
Stressed at work (or at home)? Get outside to the garden for a while to relax, and come back with a fresh perspective.

Somehow, working hard in the garden makes you forget about your worries. It also helps you to gain a sense of control when you see progress in cleaning up the garden, sowing seeds, and caring for plants to help them grow.

Doing garden chores gives you a little break from your daily routine. It can also act as a sort of meditation, putting you into a Zen-like state of concentration as you do the work needed to keep things tidy.

wooden raised garden bed
Get out to the garden and do some chores as a sort of meditation and a break from the usual routine.

Also, Texas A&M suggests that gardening may enhance self-esteem and even reduce the effects of dementia.

Gardening isn’t just good for adults – kids can benefit too! Having a garden at school can keep students interested and engaged.

(You can learn more about how to get kids involved in gardening here).

It also teaches them about growing plants, choosing healthy food, and working towards a long-term goal. They might even become interested in garden technology, such as drip irrigation systems or hydroponic and aeroponic systems.

5. Social Interaction

You can garden alone in quiet contemplation – or you can garden with others! Get your family and friends in on the fun so you can harvest produce and cook a meal together. Or you can share your produce with others and make new friends at the same time.

white garden bench
Spend some time with others in the garden – do the work together and enjoy the harvest together!

Gardening is also a great way to get kids interested in a new hobby. Gardening provides exercise and a goal to work towards. It is also a great way to meet new people if you move somewhere new to start a job (or to retire!)

No matter where you live, you can undoubtedly find people in your community who like to garden. One option is to find a local seed swap – there will be lots of enthusiastic gardeners there who will want to trade stories (and heirloom seed varieties!)

Another option is to seek out a local farmer’s market. Once you get there, ask around to see who else is into gardening. You might be able to find some produce that you can’t grow yourself!

Farmer's Market Peppers
Check out a local farmer’s market to find other gardeners in your area.

Even if you don’t have enough space for a garden, don’t worry! You can rent garden space in your community (there are lots of ways to do it – read this article to find out how!)

6. Time Spent In Nature

Nowadays, more and more people are spending too much time indoors. Whether in an office or working from home, we don’t get out into nature as much as we used to (nor as much as we should).

Not only does this deny us healthy sunlight and fresh air, but it keeps us from spending time in nature with plants and animals. After you start a garden, you will automatically spend more time outside in a green space.

wooden garden gate
Get out into the garden to get more sunlight and fresh air.

You will also add to the variety of plant life in your yard. You might see some animals too (some of them will try to eat out of your garden!)

If you go beyond vegetable gardening, you can also put flowers, shrubs, and trees in your yard to make it look beautiful. Then, you will want to spend as much time outdoors as possible to enjoy your yard, either by yourself or with friends and family.

The improved garden and yard appearance may even increase your property value, which always makes you feel good!

7. Contact With Soil

Touch dirt – it’s good for you! (The hygiene hypothesis suggests that people who are “too clean” are not exposed to enough germs, leading to an increase in auto-immune and other conditions).

Just touching soil can boost your immune system and reduce anxiety.

This article suggests that coming into contact with soil leads to increased biodiversity of microbiota on your skin. In simple terms: if you touch soil, it will help to build your immune system.

Soil doesn’t just improve physical health, either. According to the University of California:

“By being outdoors we inhale Mycobacterium vaccae, a healthy bacterium which resides in soil and can increase serotonin levels, thereby reducing anxiety.”



Now you know about the many benefits of gardening and why it is a worthwhile pursuit. Gardening can increase your well-being and help you connect with others.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

Of course, another benefit of gardening is the produce – which you can also preserve (learn how to do it here!)

You can learn more about Greek gardens (and get some ideas for plants) here.

To find books, courses, seeds, gardening supplies, and more, check out The Shop at Greenupside!

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Jon M

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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