Gardening for Mental Health

Gardening for Mental Health

So, you have been stuck inside for a month now. Meanwhile, the sun is shining and the temperatures are climbing. You may be feeling the itch that many of us are want to go NEED to go outside….BUT….COVID-19 has you barricaded inside. 

You may not realize that Cornell Farm’s Nursery and Cafe are both remaining open during the coronavirus pandemic, but indeed that is the case. We remain open to the public with new safety restrictions and procedures so that we may provide the tools and products necessary for growing food, among other things. 

So why is now the time to plant your garden? As Deby Barnhart, owner of Cornell Farm explains, “Spring is the perfect time to sew a variety of plants in your garden, particularly edibles like tomatoes. Vegetables and fruits planted now will be ready for harvest in time for your summer table.” 

As we mentioned earlier this month, Victory Gardens are becoming quite popular again, as Oregonians look for ways to sustainably grow their own food, and look for ways to escape their homes into the great outdoors. However, if edible gardening isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of benefits to gardening this time of year. 

Gardening for mental health is a popular way for people to relieve stress and boost their mood. Powerhouse publications like ‘Psychology Today’ have outlined the many benefits to gardening for mental health, which include:

  • Physical Movement and Exercise: Digging, planting, watering, and weeding all help get your body moving, which is a known way to increase dopamine levels (which make you happy!)
  • Reducing Stress: There have been many studies like this one, that suggest that gardening to reduce stress is way more effective than performing a leisure activity.
  • Connection to Nature: Speak to any gardener and they will tell you that there is something to be said for the connection with earth and nature that one gets from their garden. The feeling of planting and growing something can have powerful effects on the psyche. Seeing the bird and insect world reminds us that our actions affect their ecosystem. 
  • Acceptance: Not everything can or will be perfect in life or in gardening. You’ll lose a few plants here and there. You may over-trim your ornamental tree or let the weeds get a little out of control. It happens, but it’s also a good lesson in not sweating the small stuff and learning to “let it go.”
  • Sense of Purpose: There is a sense of responsibility that comes with growing plants. This responsibility in turn creates a sense of fulfillment and meaning. 
  • Focus on healthy eating: Not only are veggies and fruits from your garden more nutritious, but the effort involved with growing our own food creates a reverence for the healthy, organic foods accessible to us. 

You don’t need a backyard to reap the benefits of gardening. A small patio or front porch- or even a sunny window will do. Our resource section of our website offers a variety of tips and ideas for every level of gardener!