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21 Mar 2016
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Why gardening is good for you
Filed under Plants & Gardening

 


  National Gardening Week fell on 11th to 17th April with the theme Get Fit in the Garden.

Digging, hoeing, raking and mowing can help keep you physically fit by raising your heart rate and it also burns calories – half an hour of digging can burn around 250kcals. It can also be helpful in fighting osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. A study at the University of Arkansas found that women over 50 who gardened weekly had stronger bones than those who were inactive, or went swimming, walking, jogging or to aerobics classes. Amazing! Plus, a University of California study showed people who gardened halved, yes halved, their dementia risk. As an added bonus, while you’re outside, you’re exposed to the sun, so the body produces vitamin D which is needed to keep teeth and bones healthy. *Pulls on wellies*!
     

  But its benefits don’t stop there: gardening can also have a very positive effect on our mental wellbeing.

Secondary school teacher Tom Smart recently wrote a powerful post for the guardian.com describing how nothing has lifted his spirits more, or made him feel saner than his garden. He writes: ‘Working with my hands in the soil, sowing seeds, or simply cutting my grass has improved my mental health more than I can express. Though it may sound clichéd, my garden has been my sanctuary.’ 
     

  Researchers back up Smart’s feelings, finding that gardening, or simply looking at a beautiful garden, can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and decrease anxiety, so here’s to a healthy, happy season of gardening!

Watching garden wildlife is also beneficial to boosting your mood. As Smart explains: ‘That’s when I saw it: the first bumblebee of Spring… it made me smile. And I hadn’t done that in a long time.’

     

  We’re also getting outside in a hurry to get started on growing our own veg. Nothing is healthier or more delicious than vegetables planted and tended by your own green fingers. For April, we’re offering a free growbag, worth £2.49, with 6 vegetable plants in 9cm pots to Millbrook family members, so there’s no excuse not to get started! Young tomatoes, peppers, courgettes  will all work well 3 to a bag, but only plant 2 cucumbers to a bag so they have enough room to grow.


     

  While you're busy planting ingredients for delicious meals ahead, why not grab a copy of our newsletter, Clippings, and have some fun growing your own pizza? Start with a juicy Tumbling Tom tomato plant for your sauce, then choose your favourite toppings to plant, such as onions, garlic, aubergine, courgette or spinach. You'll also need a generous sprinkling of herbs, such as oregano, basil or thyme, so make the most of our special offer for Millbrook family members - 4 large plants (1lt) or 6 small plants (9cm) for £10.Finally, you could also grow your side salad! Rocket will add flavour or perhaps choose an Italian Mix Salad Leaf Plant which will add colour, too.

Until next month, happy gardening! 

     
As always, if you have a question, or need some gardening advice, please do ask our in store staff – they’ll be happy to help you!
 


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