Boost Your Wellbeing with Organic Gardening

Here at 40plusandalliswell we love growing our own organic fruit and vegetables.  There is something special about eating produce that you have planted and nurtured and nothing beats harvesting potatoes, cleaning off the dirt and popping them in the oven for your dinner.  
If, like us you grow your produce without chemicals, you know that you are not taking toxic chemicals into your body.  True organic fruit and vegetable growing is a little more labour intensive than using pesticides but the results are truly satisfying and it is confidence boosting to be able to think 'I grew that'.  Even weeding can be quite therapeutic.  

Added to this you are getting the benefits of fresh air, natural daylight (for your daily vitamin D boost.  Please see 'Bring on the sun – vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin' - and exercise.  Research has found that gardening can lower your blood pressure and has a positive effect on your mental health.  All that planning and problem solving such as how to keep those pesky slugs at bay, is also good for your cognitive function.  Please see 'Organic Garden Update: Dealing with the Pesky Slugs!'-

If you have an allotment there are even more benefits.  We acquired a 1/4 plot last October and we have been really touched by the support we have had - people are really happy to share their knowledge (everything from how far apart to plant, when and where to dig in the manure, which plants to net etc), which we were really grateful for being new to allotment growing.  They are also willing to lend their tools, give their plants, and their produce.  There is a real camaraderie that is really good for your mental health.  One day we went to the allotment to discover that the 'allotment fairy' had built us our own compost bin with some 'spare wood'.

If you have children or grandchildren, growing fruit and vegetables is a great activity for them to get involved with.  Not only do they learn the effort and time it takes to grow the fruit and vegetables we take for granted but they discover how they grow - fruit and vegetables don't just appear at the local supermarket!!! Even at our ages we were fascinated by watching courgettes grow. It was a surprise to my daughter to discover that you plant a seed potato and get many more in return when they are ready to harvest.  It almost seems like a miracle that you can put a seed in a pot and produce a tomato plant which will give you lovely tomatoes for your salads.  

With rising food prices, producing your own food may also be good from a cost point of view. A pack of seeds that costs just a pound or two can produce food worth much more than their cost.  For instance we bought a pack of basil seeds for £1.99 that can produce 9 pots of basil. At the supermarket these 9 pots would cost £18.  We did not grow them all at once but just a pot or two at a time (you don't want 9 pots all at once!)

Finally gardening can boost your immunity in several ways.  We have already mentioned that it boosts your vitamin D which contributes to a healthy immune system but it reduces stress which can lower immunity.  Added to this beneficial bacteria in the soil help alleviate allergies and ease asthma.

So what are you waiting for? Its not too late to grow some potatoes for your Christmas roasties and September is a good time to plant onion sets to harvest around March.  It's also not too late to grow some salad leaves.

Happy gardening 
Janet x 

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