Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Harvest Health

Spring has officially sprung! If you are like a lot of Mississippians, you stayed inside more this past winter due to the pandemic and the cooler temperatures. Now is the perfect time to smell the magnolias and start a new hobby like gardening!

Gardening can be a very rewarding hobby! It allows you to enjoy high quality produce at its peak freshness and flavor and can help save money at the grocery store. While it won’t replace the need to exercise, gardening also keeps you moving and active.

Here are some basic considerations to keep in mind when starting a garden:

  • Location, location, location – how much direct sun the area gets is one of the most important elements. Choose an area that gets a least six hours per day of direct sun.

  • Garden size – it’s best if beginners start small! Consider container gardening if you have limited space or areas with limited direct sun. If you have more space, try using raised beds.

  • Soil types – plants thrive in deep, loose, fertile and well-drained soil.

  • Water – keep soil moist, not wet. Be sure to read labels for the water demands of plants. During hot summer months, you may need to water 1 or 2 times per day.

Ground
gardening in the ground
Clay – Dries slowly
Sand – Dries quickly
Containers
gardening in containers
Potting Soil – Do not fill containers to the top. Leave about 1” to make watering easier.
Raised Beds
gardening in raised beds
Use a 50/50 mix of organic materials and topsoil.

Whether you want to plant flowers or veggies you can also harvest some surprising health benefits from gardening. Health benefits of gardening include:

  • Build self-esteem

  • Burn calories

  • Strengthen your heart

  • Can help reduce stress

  • Great activity to get the whole family moving, learning and having fun outside

  • Boosts mood

  • Can help with dexterity and hand strength


Source: The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Mississippi State University Extension Service


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