In this blog, John, our Sow Clever co-founder, explains why he thinks we should all get growing…
- It’s good for the environment
Firstly, gardening helps sustain the fragile bio-diversity of our environment. For example, bees are in decline because of loss of habitat, pesticides and climate change. Why does this matter? Because bees pollinate 70 of the 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. The loss of bees would also have an effect further up the food chain – how do we feed the animals that we eat, if there are no grains to feed them with?
Secondly, our expectation in the UK to be able to buy any variety of fruit and veg at any time of the year (guilty as charged) is increasing our carbon footprint. Plus fruit and veg is often packed in single use plastics which are having a devastating affect on our oceans. By sustainably growing your own fruit and veg, you can reduce your carbon footprint and your use of single use plastics.
- It’s good for your wallet
Who doesn’t want to save money?
Which? magazine did some analysis of the costs between homegrown and supermarket veg, and found that you could grow 1kg of baby carrots for about 25p. The supermarket equivalent price would be around £3.30! You can find the full article by Which? here:
And it's not just growing your own veg that could save you money. Growing flowers to cut and give as gifts is a lovely idea, saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint to boot.
- It’s good for you
The physical benefits abound; its great exercise, boosts your immune system, keeps you flexible and is good for core strength and balance.
For me though, it’s the mental benefits that really make me to want to get outside in the garden. We all live super busy lives which can have a negative affect on our stress levels. Gardening can really help improve your mental health. According to the American Institute of Stress, we regulate our emotions more efficiently outside than we do indoors. It goes on to state that when we spend time in our gardens ‘we are engaging in mindfulness and thus not allowing our minds to wander to unwelcome thoughts’. Gardening like many creative pursuits, is all consuming when you are ‘in the moment’, and often us helps us gain the perspective we need after a stressful day at the office.
- It tests your er, I mean, teaches you patience
We live in a culture of instant gratification. Food, TV, cosmetics, clothes. We don’t need to be patient anymore - we can get what we want, when we want it. Patience is a dying virtue and gardening might just be its saviour. I wasn’t really joking in the sub-heading – any gardener will tell you of the frustration of a plant inexplicably dying, or mother nature cursing you with a random late frost, and wiping out some tender specimens.
BUT when things go right, there is no better feeling. Gardening is a real test of patience – will your seeds germinate, will your seedlings survive the slugs, will the plant you have been nurturing for years actually flower this year (yes Mrs Honeysuckle – Im talking to you!)?
The nurturing, and yes, love you put into your garden, when finally rewarded with a beautiful bloom, or tasty tomato, is a fantastic feeling – your patience has finally been rewarded!
- Its great for relationships
There aren’t many mutual interests that my wife and I share – but gardening is one of them.
It gives us a common shared goal and enables us to spend time together. We get a massive amount of pleasure, planning, planting and finally seeing the fruits of our labour flourish and thrive. Gardening is also great for cross–generational relationships. My mother-in-law is a keen gardener and sparked my wifes interest in gardening. My dad and step-mum are also brilliant gardeners, and in fact my step-mum designed our garden and helped us with the landscaping. We hope that our son will at some point in the future develop an interest in gardening – right now he's more interested in Star Wars and his PS4. Maybe one day, by providing him with a lovely garden to grow up in, he will want to create one of his own.
Best wishes and happy growing!