By Jennifer Woolwine

Why Gardening Is Good For You


baghdad to barnyard

April 12, 2022

I didn’t discover my love for gardening until three years ago. All my life, I have had horrible luck with plants; it didn’t matter if they were indoor, outdoor, or “impossible to kill,” I managed to kill every single one, including rubber plants (true story). Whether I watered too much, watered too little, too much sun, or not enough; it was beyond frustrating!!! Eventually, I threw my hands up in the air and accepted grocery store bouquets were the closest I would get to a cut flower garden of my own.

I would never have imagined three years later; that I would be creating flower bouquets, I grew from seed, expanding my vegetable garden, and learning how to preserve the food I grow. Gardening has become a crucial part of my self-care routine, and I know it could do the same for you!

Maybe your garden journey started like mine; you gave it your all and failed miserably, but I’m here to tell you if I can figure it out; I know you can too! What better way to celebrate National Gardening Month and Earth Day than by starting that herb garden you’ve always wanted, growing fresh tomatoes on your balcony, or creating your backyard pollinator garden?

Health Benefits of Gardening

Gardens do more than add color to your landscape. Gardening can improve your health and help your mind and body. Gardening encourages us to exercise and spend time outdoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can burn about 330 calories by doing one hour of light gardening and yard work. Just 2.5 hours each week in the garden can reduce the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart disease, and strokes. Studies also show gardening can reduce chronic pain, fight off infections easier and improve your immune system.


Since COVID-19 began, gardens have become a whole new purpose – a space for physical activity and mindfulness. Many of us have come to rely more on our gardens and local green spaces than ever. Gardening helped me discover the importance of connecting with nature and getting fresh air for my physical and mental well-being too!

Research shows gardening can.

Tips for Beginner Gardeners

My number one advice would be: grow what you like to eat! Don’t like beets or broccoli, don’t grow them! Start simple, and pick a few of your favorites. Gardening should be enjoyable, so don’t stress out trying to increase the food you don’t even like to eat.  Start with just 5 or 6 crops you love, learn as much as possible about how to grow them well, and keep notes along the way. By next season you’ll have accurate data to work with, experience under your belt, and you will know how much garden you can manage.

Don’t have a lot of space for a garden? No problem! Start your garden in containers. Container gardening is easier to maintain and requires little space. It is perfect for beginners trying to grow vegetables, fruits, or flowers for the first time.

Easy Beginner Plants

  • cucumbers

  • carrots

  • tomatoes

  • basil

  • spinach

  • potatoes

  • mint

  • bell peppers

Easy Beginner Flowers

  • cosmos

  • zinnias

  • marigolds

  • pansies

  • daffodils

  • sunflowers

  • nasturtium

  • california poppies

summer flower garden with poppies

If you’re not already sold on the spiritual benefits of gardening, here are MORE reasons to put on your gloves, grab a spade, and give it a try:

1) There is something so peaceful in connecting with nature

2) It’s rewarding to be able to see the results of your hard work

3) You adopt a healthier lifestyle

4) Gardening produces a sense of pride

5) You learn new skills

6) You gain confidence

7) You learn patience

8) You join a community of gardeners

9) It’s a great way to practice self-care

10) It’s an activity your whole family can enjoy


Gardening is a process of trial and error. Just know, you will mess up and kill plants, but that’s the beauty of gardening! If things don’t work out right the first time (or, in my case, the first, second, and third time), there’s always next year.

Well…. what are you waiting for?

Grab your tools, roll up your sleeves and let’s get those hands dirty!

xo, Jen

healthy benefits to gardening

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Jen Woolwine       Author

Jen is a combat veteran and wife who is passionate about animal rescue, homesteading, and mental health advocacy. Jen's amazing journey of transitioning from military service to homesteading can be followed on her blog and social media platforms @baghdadtobarnyard.

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