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5 Ways Gardening Keeps You Healthy Year-Round

Think it's time to put the garden to bed, and climb in bed yourself? Not if you want to get these healthy benefits from winter gardening! The pace is slower and the joys abound. Find out why.

I consider any day short of a deep freeze a perfect day for gardening, especially in our metro-Atlanta climate. If you have a hoop house or greenhouse, then add those rare snowy days to the list as well. I love how after the leaves fall you can really see the "bones" of a garden, how the light moves across it, and where it might make sense to expand. Typical cold-weather gardening chores including cleaning out garden debris; building and repairing bed frames, trellises, and fences; lubricating and storing tools; planning your spring garden; and just enjoying the simple, stark beauty of a quiet time outdoors. Being out in the garden year-round can also provide you with a full range of healthy benefits, including:

1. Increased happiness. Both the sun and the soil have been shown to deliver mood-boosting benefits. This can be a welcome effect for everyone, but for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter, it can be life-changing.

2. Increased community connections. You are more apt to see your neighbors when you are outside working in and around your garden, and these community connections can enhance feelings of belonging while increasing neighborhood safety.

3. Increased availability of healthy food. Many dark, leafy greens and root vegetables grow during the winter (plus, overwintering crops give you a head start on your spring garden). These seasonal foods are high in immune-boosting properties needed to ward off winter ailments. It's nature's pharmacy, exactly when you need it.

4. Increased exercise. It's nice to settle in with a stack of books or a bunch of movies, but a whole winter of that will most likely take a toll on your physique. Weight gain increases risk for heart disease and diabetes, and it's also harder to lose the older you get (if you haven't discovered this fun fact yet).  Click here to see some ways gardening can help you get a workout and stay in shape.

5. Reduced stress. The holidays, although often enjoyable, can also be extremely stressful. A little time in the garden each day gives you a chance to align your breath with nature's relaxed pace, enjoy simple beauty, and find balance again. Here are some more tips for using gardening as a moving meditation in five minutes or less!

Tap into www.farmerd.com for more gardening tips, and come in to our flagship retail location on Briarcliff Road near LaVista Road to buy gardening gifts and supplies (such as row cover for your garden beds) that can keep you growing year-round. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ralph Ellis November 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Can you think of other gardening benefits?
Barbara Baggerman November 29, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Amen! There's always something to do in the garden, no matter what season.

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