Dig It: Gardening

The early English poet Alfred Austin once said, “. . . To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”

There’s always been something very real, and well, very down to earth about feeling the dirt between your fingers, planting a seed, and watching it grow, whether it’s a tulip or a tomato. If you enjoy the outdoors, gardening can be one-stop shopping for gently increasing some activity, taking in a little Vitamin D (with sunscreen, of course); watching the nature show of birds, butterflies, and more; and also reaping the fruits of your labor — be they flowers, fruits, or veggies.

Turns out, gardening is not only a sensory experience; it’s very therapeutic, too. It’s a means to get Zen and slow things down a bit, allowing yourself to relish all of the little moments that can get lost in the daily shuffle. Pull some weeds and let go of the stresses of the work week. Focus on the oasis that you’re creating, versus those best laid plans that fell apart last weekend. Design your landscape, keeping color variation and shape in mind. Get creative!

Plant vegetables to create wonderful salads. Imagine the bounty of superfoods, from arugula to spinach, fresh for the plucking – and at a savings too, versus buying them at the store! Prefer flowers? Take your pick, just beyond your back door, and arrange away.

Just bend at the knees when lifting, and use a garden mat for kneeling. Your shovel should be in proportion to your body and height. Insect repellent is key, too. We’ll mention sunscreen again, because we can’t emphasize it enough (go for an SPF of at least 30 or higher, especially if you live in southern regions), along with wearing a hat. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks to ward against ticks, and give yourself the once-over check for “passengers” before going inside! Drink plenty of water while you’re out there, and avoid the sun at peak periods.

Whether it’s a container garden on the deck, or a few feet of soil with some scattered stones, meditate on the positive and the possibilities; dream big, or simply focus on the flower in your hand.

No matter what you choose to ponder while gardening, this is your escape, in your own backyard.

 

By Lisa Miceli Feliciano

Visit www.cdc.gov for more tips.

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