In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
October, 2005
Regional Report

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Growing your own jack-o'-lanterns makes Halloween even more special, but grow some pumpkins for nutritious eating, too.

Gardening for Health

Gardening is a perfect mix of physical and mental health and wellness. It lends itself to an infinite variety of activities, plants, attention levels, and involvement. Whether you're filling little pots with potting mix or digging in the garden, calmly contemplating garden design or vigorously bashing dirt clods, intently perusing mail-order or online catalogs, or mindlessly mowing the lawn, you're gardening. And you're actively participating in a whole world of possibilities.

Good for the Body
One kind of physical involvement means using your muscles. You can be gingerly placing individual seeds in pots, watering a seedbed, raking up prunings from trees or perennials, or turning soil and amendments into a raised bed. The extent of physical exertion depends on your choice of activity.

Physical health also encompasses what we eat. Enjoying all the vegetables and fruits we grow is a real impetus for getting us started in the first place, enabling our choice of varieties to grow, exploring our infinite creativity in developing recipes to accommodate the bounty from our gardens, and testing the extent of how many more tomatoes we can eat at each and every meal.

Good for the Mind
Mental and emotional health is perhaps the greatest reward for our gardening efforts. Individually, we benefit from the recreation and relaxation of reading and researching; the change of focus from our everyday responsibilities; and the yearly pattern of preparing, growing, caring for, harvesting, and cleaning our gardens.

Nurturing and sharing with others is also a big part of gardening -- helping kids and seniors, especially, to enjoy the burgeoning life as tiny seeds become seedlings, flourishing plants, and bouquets of blooms or delicious dinners. Community gardening, school gardening, horticultural therapy, food banks, and neighbors all thrive together because we each want to grow in as many ways as we can.


Care to share your gardening thoughts, insights, triumphs, or disappointments with your fellow gardening enthusiasts? Join the lively discussions on our FaceBook page and receive free daily tips!

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