Healthy Garden, Healthy Mind: The Therapeutic Effects of Sustainable Gardening

Staff
11 Min Read

We all desire peace, calmness, and serenity in our lives. However, the fast-paced nature of our contemporary world might make the journey toward discovering tranquility feel like one elusive attempt after another. In the middle of all that chaos lies the potential for creating your own safe haven – and it takes the form of sustainable gardening. Sustainable gardening goes beyond the idea of hobbies or a pastime, as in recent times it has proven to be a powerful tool to nurture the soul, all the while nurturing the earth.

In this article, we will discuss the therapeutic effects of sustainable gardening, some of the key sustainable principles to be incorporated in your gardening projects, and, ultimately, how you can plant the seeds of your own serenity.

Green Spaces and Their Healing Powers

Urbanization is on a continuous rise, making many of us feel more and more disconnected from nature. One way to re-establish our relationship with the surrounding natural world is through creating our very own green space. In fact, studies highlight the profound impact those spaces can have on our mental health and our emotional well-being.

 

Picture by @Gary Barnes

 

Spending time in nature has been linked to reduced stress and anxiety levels, a boost in mood and in creativity, and many other benefits for our overall health – mind and body together. Sustainable gardening offers us a way to invite and harness the power of green spaces into our lives, creating a source of peace and the ability to practice mindfulness – the art of being in the present moment in the face of modern life’s tendencies to place us either in a state of worry for the future, or reliving of the past. Let’s discover how we can find joy in sustainable gardening.

How to Connect With the Earth and Feel Joy

Sustainable gardening comes from a place of a deep and personal connection with the earth. It is very different compared to conventional gardening, which is more formalist in its nature and relies heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Sustainable gardening places the emphasis on how to work in harmony and in partnership with nature.

Examples of that are composting organic waste, using natural pest control methods and more; what’s important is that, for the sustainable gardener, the main priority is the health of the soil, plants, and ecosystems as a whole. That way, nurturing the earth becomes synonymous with forging a meaningful connection with the natural world.

Mindfulness in Your Gardening Practice

Let’s be honest, our world is filled with distractions. Here is where sustainable gardening steps in, offering us a chance to cultivate not just plants, but also mindfulness – the feeling of being fully present. Imagine sowing seeds, tending to seedlings, harvesting the fruits of your labor, all of those are ways to feel like you belong to the ‘right here, right now’ slice in the pizza of life, so to speak.

When you immerse yourself in that rhythm, you find yourself more attuned to subtle changes you hadn’t noticed before – noticing new growth, the way the leaves gently sway in the breeze, the fascinating, but often overlooked sounds and smells of nature. That way, sustainable gardening is not just a mere hobby, but a proactive approach in the improvement of your mental health and emotional awareness to your environment.

 

Gardening practice by men
Picture by @Anna Shvets

 

What Are the Therapeutic Benefits of Sustainable Gardening?

We mentioned briefly the tangible rewards sustainable gardening offers us when it comes to our mental health. However, studies further prove that spending time in green spaces and tending to them can also lower blood pressure and improve immune function.

Yes, a plant a day keeps the doctor away! Additionally, the act of gardening itself is an act of self-help – as it requires you to work with your hands when you dig into the soil, when you plant seeds and interact physically with nature, symptoms of depression reduce, making room for the rays of happiness and personal satisfaction to seep through us.

There is a certain rhythmic element to gardening tasks, such as planting, watering, and tending to plants, that not only provide us with healthy escapism from the pressures we face in our daily lives, but also foster feelings of deep relaxation, contentment, and calmness.

Boosting your self-esteem isn’t to be underestimated, either – when you see the result of your labor and you feel that satisfaction rising inside you, that is how you feel one with the earth. After all, a garden is a living organism, just like you, and when you take care of it, it takes care of you in return. Isn’t that a beautiful symbiosis?

Green Spaces as Shared Spaces and Communities

In addition to the benefits of sustainable gardening specific to the individual involved in the act, there are also perks such as creating a sense of community and connection to people. Through community gardens, allotments, and shared green spaces, we can come together to share a moment in nature, allowing us to exchange knowledge, and even create friendships.

It could be a group gardening activity that you find gives you the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded people, work towards a common goal, and ultimately, strengthen the social fabric of your expanding community. Sustainable gardening does not have to be a solitary pursuit, as there are many people out there who would love nothing more than to learn from one another and interact with each other in a meaningful way – why not do this through the act of gardening?

 

outdoor gardening activity
Picture by @Gustavo Fring

 

Important Elements for Sustainable Gardening

The journey to sustainable gardening is an exciting one, but it carries its specifics and requirements, just like any intelligent and creative endeavor. Gardeners must be aware of the essentials needed for a thriving garden, one of which is the quality of the soil used.

Topsoil, for example, plays a vital role in establishing a strong foundation for your garden, as it provides essential nutrients and structure that support the healthy growth of your plants. Lucky for you, there are topsoil delivery services that take some of the load off your shoulders – all you need to do is select your product, and it gets delivered straight to your doorstep. Be mindful and choose rich, fertile soil for the optimal growing environment your plants need.

How to Integrate Sustainable Principles 

To call yourself a true sustainable gardener, you must incorporate eco-friendly practices into every aspect of your gardening plans. This involves choosing organic fertilizers and the least harmful pest control methods, and, as mentioned above, utilizing composting organic waste to naturally enrich your soil. You can support your local ecosystem by prioritizing native plants and embracing pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, to work in union and harmony with you and make your flowers thrive.

Another practice is implementing water-efficient irrigation systems, as well as mulching techniques. These not only help you conserve water but also suppress weeds and retain your soil’s normal moisture levels. Lastly, don’t forget about responsible gardening habits in your routine, such as correct plant spacing and regular maintenance, so as to avoid overcrowding and reduce the need for chemical interventions.

The more you strive to create a garden that exists in harmony with nature, the deeper your appreciation for nature will grow, and the more the interconnectedness of all living things will be sustained. A healthy garden can and does equal a healthy mind – and, in effect, a healthy planet.

Nurture Nature as You Nurture Yourself

As a closing note, we just want to once again communicate to you the essential thing to take away from this article: sustainable gardening is an accessible path offered to you by nature, and when you choose to walk it, you cultivate your peace and well-being in an increasingly chaotic world.

So why not take that first step towards creating your very own green space, or researching group gardening activities in your local area? Embrace the therapeutic wonders, those hidden gems in sustainable gardening, and start sowing the seeds of your plants in your home, and the seeds of serenity – in your heart.

Share This Article
Leave a comment