Your garden has so many benefits. It improves your mental and physical wellbeing while adding value to your property and providing a tranquil escape from a busy lifestyle. But even greater than all of this is the benefit that your garden brings to our planet. That’s right, by taking care of your garden you are contributing to the greater environment and helping to make a difference to our world.
Here are some of the benefits that gardening brings to our planet and a few things that you can do to make a difference to our world, after all, there is no planet B!
Plants are the planet’s air purifiers as they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. This is vital for animals and humans as we rely on oxygen to survive. In addition to this, plants remove chemicals and bacteria from the environment which has added benefits for us as it makes our environment healthier and cleaner.
While all plants clean the air, there are a few that are better air recyclers than others. For the benefit of our environment, consider planting indigenous plants that are better suited to our climate and opt for air purifiers such as Aloe (Aloe Vera) or Spekboom (Portulacaria afra). These plants require minimal maintenance, consume less water and provide maximum air cleaning benefits.
Growing fruits and vegetables can reward you in several ways including saving you money and providing nourishing and flavoursome foods. More than this, growing your food can have a significant benefit to our environment. Commercially grown fruits and vegetables rely heavily on pesticides and chemicals to prevent damage to the harvest, while households may rely on repellents to prevent damage to homegrown products, these are often used more sparingly, minimizing the impact on our environment.
In addition to the chemical component, commercially produced products need to be transported to various outlets for retail purposes which adds to air pollution. By growing seasonal vegetables you can provide sustainable fruits and vegetables for your family throughout the year at a more affordable cost and with greater benefit for our environment.
Our plants are only as good as the soil they are grown in and as such, we need to keep the soil in tip-top shape to maximise the benefits of our efforts. While plants suck up carbon dioxide from the air, they also take in chemicals and other harmful elements from the soil and this can impact on their growth. To keep your soil at its best, plant indigenous plants that will change according to the seasons. These plants often lose their leaves in the winter which decay to nourish the soil and the plants that grow in it.
To make sure your plants are getting sufficient nutrients throughout the year, consider creating a compost heap. This is a great way to use your garden and kitchen waste to put valuable nutrients back into the ground where they can help your plants grow lush and beautiful.
Birds, bees and other insects have an important role to play in our ecosystem and environment as butterflies, bees and many birds are key players in pollinating our plants. To attract these creatures to your garden, plant some colourful, fragrant flowers and you’ll have a hive of activity taking place around you as the birds and bees spread seeds around your garden and neighbourhood to grow more plants and contribute to a healthier environment for all of us.
We all have a role to play in conserving our environment and it couldn’t be easier than starting with your garden. Visit your nearest GCA Garden Centre to find out which plants are best for your climate and start planting your way to a cleaner, healthier planet.
Gardening is incredibly rewarding as what you put in, is what you get out. If you’ve been tending to a vegetable garden or growing fruit trees, you’re likely to have a variety of homegrown goodness at your fingertips. Often you end up with an abundant supply of fruits and vegetables that is far more than you need to feed your family. This is the ideal opportunity to share your harvest with friends, neighbours and those in need.
Fresh produce is often enjoyed for its full flavour over store-bought products. As such, friends and neighbours would be delighted to receive fresh, homegrown produce to include in their meals. Pack a basket with some surplus produce that you’ve grown and deliver it to your friends, family and neighbours to share in your harvest.
Often fresh produce has a limited shelf life but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your surplus produce for longer. Fill jars with homemade pasta sauces, relishes and pickles that can be enjoyed for months after you’ve harvested your vegetables. Make homemade jams in a variety of flavours and treat your taste buds well after the last fruit has been picked for the season. You can also share your homemade delights with friends and family to spread the bounty even further.
Fruit and vegetables are jam-packed with nutrients that are beneficial for your health. However, often poorer families will skip the vegetable aisle and opt for foods that are high in fats and carbohydrates as these can stretch further and keep them fuller for longer. These families would greatly welcome your donation of surplus fruits and vegetables to help add some nutrients to their families table.
For the many elderly and homeless people soup kitchens provide the comfort of a cooked meal. Often these kitchens need ingredients to keep the supply of soup available for those who depend on them to fill their tummies.
You can donate fresh produce to a variety of food banks, soup kitchens or churches across South Africa that offer soup kitchens to the community.
Nothing is better than enjoying your homegrown fruits and vegetables except for sharing the bounty of your harvest so they can enjoy the flavour and goodness of your produce too. Growing your own food is a rewarding experience that allows you to share the rewards with others. So keep your harvest growing and share your bounty with those that will enjoy it as much as you do.
For more veggie garden inspiration and visit your favourite GCA Garden Centre for supplies to keep your fresh produce growing abundantly.
The New Year is an exciting time when the promise of new beginnings lies ahead of us. It is a time of self-reflection and motivates us to improve our lives. Usually, this includes changing our lifestyles to eat healthier and incorporate daily exercise for better health.
Rather than waiting for an open exercise machine or joining an overfilled class at the gym, all you need to start a healthy regime is in your garden. Not only will your garden benefit from you spending time working in it, but your body will also be more robust and stronger too. Here are a few ways you stand to benefit from including gardening into your lifestyle this year.
While you might think of your garden as a haven of relaxation, digging, mowing, raking up leaves and pushing a wheelbarrow around the garden all help you to burn calories and tone up those muscles. That’s right; gardening is considered moderate-intensity exercise, which means working in the garden for 60 minutes can be equivalent to 35 minutes of jogging.
There are also benefits to spending time planting and pruning, which can all contribute to low-intensity stretching exercises which have a host of benefits for your body and mind. By regularly stretching, you increase your flexibility and range of motion, both beneficial for pain reduction.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables often provides an abundant supply of the good stuff. It is recommended that you consume 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables to lower the risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Easy access to freshly grown foods in your own garden often means eating more fruits and vegetables which are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals to promote good health.
Strengthen your bones
Working in the garden means you’ll be soaking up the sun. The sun provides vitamin D, which is beneficial in helping your body to absorb calcium for stronger bones and teeth and can also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, similar to weight training, gardening can improve bone density as your bones strengthen to cope with the resistance they endure while gardening.
The stress relieving benefits of gardening will do wonders for your brain. In addition to the fresh air, you will be breathing, spending time in nature and nurturing plants have been proven to reduce cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone. In addition, Professor Chris Lowry from Colorado University is leading research showing that there are bacteria in soil that is proven to help increase the serotonin levels in your brain. So in addition to reducing stress, you’ll also be happier.
While your health stands to benefit significantly from gardening, there are additional benefits that can be reaped from gardening too. The value of your property will increase with a beautifully maintained landscape. In addition, the environment benefits from new plants that purify the air around us.
So as you celebrate the New Year, join the conversation on our Facebook page for some inspiration for improving your garden and your health in 2020.