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Gardening is great! 6 reasons to get your hands dirty

If you think gardening involves sweat, dirt and misery, you're wrong. Fall in love with gardening and enjoy the many benefits of growing your own food. Here are 6 reasons to get you started.
Amy Peterson, FamilyShare Modified: June 4, 2014 at 11:07 pm •  Published: June 10, 2014

Every spring I look forward to planting my garden. I prepare the soil, plant seeds and starts, water and fertilize and then watch the magic. When I can prepare an entire salad from my garden, or eat jam year-round from berries I grew in my yard, I feel a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. If you need more convincing, here are 6 great reasons to plant a garden.

Go green, literally

Gardening is good for the environment. It's fairly easy to grow an organic garden. Transportation costs are minimal, as your garden is just a few yards from your kitchen. You can use compost from your own food waste to grow more of your own food, and saving rainwater to use on the garden is easy and efficient. Plants clean the air and make it healthier as well. Beyond vegetable gardening, you can plant beds with native plants and those that require little water or reduce soil erosion, making your yard an oasis of green living.

Free therapy

There's nothing like weeding or pruning to get rid of negative emotions. The repetitive nature of planting and watering is also quite soothing to the soul. My husband and I playfully fight over who gets to go water the garden after dinner and who gets to stay inside and supervise kitchen clean up. If I'm feeling tense, working in the garden improves my mood. Plants can definitely make people happy.

Good health

The health benefits of gardening are plentiful. First, working in the garden gets you outside in the fresh air, soaking up vitamin D. Next, gardening can be a form of mild exercise because digging, planting, weeding and hauling all burn calories. More obvious benefits include those that come from eating vegetables and fruits. Take leafy greens for example. Right now I have romaine lettuce, Swiss chard and spinach growing. These greens pack a punch of iron and antioxidants to help me and my family be healthy.

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