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Gardening for Stress Relief

By Veda K. Ford, Over 15 years of experience with digital advertising.

Create Date: 2022/07/01

5 minute read.

Did you know that gardening increases overall well-being and alleviates stress by reducing cortisol levels, a chemical that your body produces in response to high stress? Statistics show that by gardening daily you increase your overall well-being and decrease stress levels by 6%. The impact that a garden has to your body is purely positive, even gratifying once you harvest what you’ve been able to grow. Because gardening is so peaceful and focuses your attention it reduces negative thoughts and feelings. It’s even shown, just being around plants, it eases stress and boosts self-esteem. What's key is, everyone can garden!

Work Life Balance

Grow Your Own Food

The gratification you feel when you pick your crops is amazing, the satisfaction you get when adding them to a recipe is fulfilling and the completeness you feel when eating your own vegetables makes you feel whole. The benefits other than health benefits and good vibes, are cost savings on groceries, improved diet from consuming fruits and vegetables and outdoor exercise.

To estimate your possible savings use the following equation. A well maintained garden can produce ½ pound per square foot. Calculate your growing area and multiply it by .5 pound. A 600 sq ft garden could produce 300 pounds and estimating with an $70 investment, the return could be as much as a $600 savings.

Cost Savings

Having a garden improves your diet, making meals more nutritious from minerals, antioxidants and vitamins.

Gardening is exercising! It helps support muscle strength, stability and overall fitness. Spending 30-45 minutes in your garden deweeding, pruning, harvesting and watering can burn about 300 calories. Not to mention the clean air and vitamin D.

Plus it’s just better for the environment!

2022 Garden

I plant my seedling plants, plants that have sprouted from seed with some green new growth and roots, on Good Friday every year. This year, I prepared my garden bed ahead of time by deweeding, tilling the ground, oxidizing the soil then adding ashes from our fire pit to enrich the soil. I added topsoil once turned over then created hilled rows.

Planted Seedlings

This can be a lot of work if you don’t keep grass out of your beds. My beds are flush with the ground and not above or boxed, so it can be a lot of maintenance. I like my in-ground garden to source nutrients and water from the ground itself. I have had great success with above and raised ground gardens too. Types of gardens should be a consideration made when starting a new garden.

Types Of Gardens

  • Raised / Elevated Garden Bed
  • Above Ground
  • In-Ground Garden Bed
  • Hydroponic Garden
  • Wall / Vertical Garden

This year I decided to grow Cherry Tomatoes, Green and Red Bell Peppers, Longneck Yellow Squash, Sweet Italian Red Peppers, Banana Peppers, Butternut Squash and Watermelon. As for herbs, I planted my herbs in buckets, so I planted Wild Onions, Lavendar, Cilantro, Rosemary, Sweet Basil, Purple Basil, Sage and Dill.

2022 Harvest

The harvest this year has been abundant when it comes to the Cherry tomatoes, Butternut Squash and Peppers. In previous years I’ve seen better harvest from yellow squash, so I may need to move the squash next year to its own garden bed.

Last Garden Harvest

So far, three watermelons and one got pretty large. Pictured here at 12 pounds.

The bell peppers have also been a tad underwhelming this year, but one was a pretty large and tasty green bell pepper. No red bell peppers have grown for some reason.

I am no expert, but the reduced stress levels and gratification received from harvesting and eating food you grew, I see as beneficial. Gardening is so relaxing, sometimes a lot of work but very rewarding. The amount of food you can grow yourself is amazing.


Several Black Swallowtail caterpillars took up residence in the Dill. I’ve never seen such hungry creatures.

Swallowtail Caterpillar

I was surprised to see these hungry caterpillars and after some research I identified them as Swallowtails. We were lucky to watch them devour the Dill, go into J Phase then into Chrysalis.

We watched them in their cocoons for about 10 days then one morning we were amazed to see the beautiful Black Swallowtail butterflies emerge then fly away.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

This experience has gotten me very excited for next year to plant plenty of Dill for Swallowtails and Milkweed for Monarchs.

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