There are very little downsides to gardening. Whether it’s a garden dedicated to growing food or flowers, the benefits of gardening are more than you might think. Not only does gardening have countless benefits to mental health and initiating healthy habits, it also uplifts the environment in a multitude of ways. 

Other than that, it’s just a fun activity. It allows you to connect with nature in such a unique way because you become a part of one of Earth’s most essential processes. While there are definitely other ways to do this, gardening is one way that has tons of benefits all around. 

Many of these benefits were really showcased in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people stuck at home looking for hobbies to keep them busy, gardening became very popular. 

Doctor and professor Charles Hall looks into the many ways that growing plants can be beneficial to one’s mental health. Among these benefits are: “anxiety and stress reduction, attention deficit recovery, decreased depression, enhanced memory retention, improved happiness and life satisfaction, mitigation of PTSD… [and] enhanced self esteem”

Further, Hall notes that vitality and quality of life in general are enhanced by gardening because it helps put the mind at ease. He includes all ages within this report, encouraging things like community gardens that bring groups of people together socially.

It’s hard to get young people to slow down long enough to engage with projects like this, but Hall urges that we attempt to get young people involved in gardening to help with test performance and stress.

I found this to be interesting for college students who may need help getting their mind off their many assignments or who have mental health struggles. I think slowing down and even just committing to growing a houseplant could be more fulfilling than we think. 

Gardening is also very good for the environment and sustainable living. For one, it encourages biodiversity, meaning it breeds an ecosystem which is good for pollination. Plants also help improve overall air quality.

Another element of gardening I find particularly interesting is that it encourages what Anissia Klimova refers to as “consious consumerism”. Conscious consumerism involves making deliberate and conscious decisions about what we buy, consume and use. In regard to gardening, this involves knowing what you are using and at what rate. 

When you are this closely connected to the consumption process you can make conscious decisions that have positive effects on the environment.

Kilmova adds that this encourages sustainable living and a more nurturing attitude altogether when it comes to how we grow food and plants. Growing your own food specifically helps cut out all kinds of processes that have a negative enviromental impact like plastic packaging and carbon emissions from transportation and heavy machinery. 

These findings lead us back once again to how beneficial communal gardens can be and I agree. With all the benefits gardening has on the environment and quality of life, it’s hard to argue that a community coming together to make a sustainable garden could be a negative thing.

It gives us an opportunity to slow down, feel the sun and be involved in cultivating something new outside of ourselves. This is true whether you are considering starting a food garden, interested in growing a houseplant, or trying to get a community garden started in your city. 

Despite the fact that we are quickly heading into the cold, winter months, there are still lots of plants you can work on cultivating and plants you can start planning to grow once spring rolls around. Gardening could be the perfect activity to pick up to unwind after this tiring fall semester.