It’s spring! Start a Garden: Gardens for All Places

Thinking about starting a garden this spring? Gardening has ample health benefits, and anyone can garden, anywhere.

Why Garden?
In our technological, sedentary age, physical and psychological maladies are on the rise. These include obesity, high blood-pressure, depression and anxiety. Gardening incorporates many, if not all, of the non-medicinal means for coping with these and other conditions.

Reports from Voice of America News and the Centralia Chronicle, among others, list these excellent benefits of gardening:

  1. reducing loneliness
  2. time to unplug
  3. getting a work-out
  4. reducing stress
  5. better nutrition

A Garden for Anyone
Gardening is great for your health, but is it really possible for you? Can you have a garden if you don’t have tons of land? What if you live in an apartment or a condo in the city? The answer is YES! Gardens are not confined to the traditional vegetable rows, fruit orchards, or flower gardens we associate with pastoral scenes. Mini farms and raised bed gardens can thrive in small outdoor spaces like 1/4-acre lots and flat rooftops. Gardens, in a broad sense, can also grow on patios or balconies or even in kitchens.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of each:

Traditional Gardens
These can be large or small and are great for all manner of plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers. They require some amount of yard space.

Advantages include:

  1. tidiness and easy access (vegetable row gardens)
  2. curb appeal (flower gardens)

Disadvantages include:

  1. high maintenance
  2. high space-to-yield ratio
    (Bear in mind that these disadvantages can be overcome to some extent with mulchingirrigation systems, and double rows.)

Mini Farms/Raised Bed Gardens
These consist of several small “plots” raised above ground level. They’re great for growing lots of food in limited space.

Advantages include:

  1. planting more per square foot
  2. less maintenance
  3. less risk of being trampled
  4. simplified crop rotation (veggies)

Disadvantages include:

  1. looking untidy
  2. air circulation issues
  3. high building costs
    (Consider combating these disadvantages with careful pruning and using recycled materials.)

Patio/Balcony Gardens
These are potted “gardens” where herbs, flowers, and many fruits and veggies can thrive. They can also be located in sunrooms or even on kitchen counters.

Advantages include:

  1. small space requirements
  2. easy access for the physically limited
  3. all the health benefits of other garden types

Disadvantages include:

  1. steep start-up costs
  2. frequent watering requirements (outdoors)
    (Try to remedy these disadvantages by starting small, creative watering solutions, and recycled containers.)

Feeling inspired?
Consider which type of garden (or combination of types) is best for your available space and particular goals. Then start a garden and begin to feel and be healthier.