3 Health Benefits of Gardening – Dallas and Houston

Get the 3 Health Benefits from Gardening

If you’re interested in growing a garden so you have access to fresh vegetables all season long and can control how your food is grown, you will be even happier to know that the benefits of starting a garden extend well beyond having healthy food at your fingertips. Whether you grow flowers, herbs, or vegetables, you benefit from being in nature, having your hands in the dirt, being physically active, and stimulating your thoughts and your senses. We explore three health benefits of starting a garden below and hope that they motivate you to get your hands dirty.

  1. 3 Health Benefits from Gardening Gardening Reduces Stress

While we often think of relaxing activities to reduce stress, gardening has even more stress-relieving power than reading. Dr. Andrea Faber Taylor, horticulture instructor and researcher in the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explains that the repetitive nature of digging in the dirt and tending to a garden is soothing. We don’t need to pay as much attention to our actions when we work in a garden as we do when we read, check email, or work. Smelling the soil and plants, feeling the breeze, and touching the dirt are soothing sources of this effortless attention, and these activities more effectively reduce stress than other activities.

Just be careful not to overwork the soil when you are gardening, and allow your mind to wander. Overworking the soil means that you break it down into fine particles. Unfortunately, the result is the soil cannot retain as much water or nutrients to help plants grow. When you leave various sizes of soil in your containers or in your garden plot, your plants will be healthier and have an easier time growing. Should you find that you have overworked the soil, you can mix in mulch, fertilizer, or organic materials to repair the damage.

  1. Gardening Keeps You Active

While gardening is not as strenuous as working out or jogging, it is an activity that gets you moving, bending, and stretching. In the beginning of the season, you will be hauling bags of soil, digging in the dirt, turning over the soil to prepare to plant, and doing other laborious tasks. As you move, you reduce your risk of heart disease because you keep your blood flowing. You also reduce your risk of diabetes, obesity, and other health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle. The added benefit, of course, is that you will have an abundance of healthy, unprocessed foods from your garden that also reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

  1. Enjoy Health Benefits of Gardening Gardening Stimulates the Mind

People who garden often spend some time researching, reading, and learning before they put their first plant or flower in the ground. In fact, Dr. Mercola reports that learning is the fourth reason people garden: learning follows growing safe, healthy food, getting exercise, and beautifying their yard. Because people are learning and stimulating their brains while gardening, they benefit from improved brain health.

Research shows that tending to a garden by watering plants, walking through the plants, and working in the soil also decreases levels of agitation and anxiety. Researchers also found that gardening may relieve dementia symptoms and reduce the risk of developing dementia. People who garden regularly have approximately a 42% lower risk of dementia than people who do not garden. Overall, research tends to show that gardening positively impacts the brain and mental health.

While gardening certainly produces tangible results such as fresh, unprocessed vegetables and beautiful flowers, it also provides physical and mental health benefits to gardeners themselves. Digging in the soil, spending time in nature, and focusing on the gardening tasks of the day help you relieve stress, stay active to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and stimulate the mind to improve mental health.

Guest Post by: Maria Cannon

New Municipal Green Waste Programs

Texas Communities Increase Recycling Rates by Adding Yard Waste Recycling Programs

The City of Missouri City, TX entered into a new contract with WCA Waste Corporation at the beginning of the year to service residents and businesses. Did you know the new waste service contract allows residents to recycle their yard trimmings instead of sending them to a landfill?! Missouri City residents can now set out yard trimmings using their own container, or placing yard trimmings in compostable bags. WCA collects residential yard trimmings (leaves, grass clippings, plant and small tree trimmings) once a week, and delivers the yard trimmings to Living Earth where the materials are composted for beneficial reuse. Living Earth is very excited to work with WCA in providing this sustainable materials management solution for Missouri City. #MissouriCityGreen #Compost #Mulch

Residents of the City of West University Place now enjoy the benefit of a curbside yard waste recycling program. Yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, plant and tree trimmings) are collected once a week by the City on the same regularly scheduled recycle day. West U residents who use a yard maintenance service may be required to change their yard service date to coincide with the new yard waste collection day. All yard trimmings must be placed curbside in Kraft paper bags or compostable plastic bags (ASTM D6400). Look for the word “COMPOSTABLE” on the bag, or box.  Small tree trimmings, limbs and hedge cuttings may also be placed curbside with compostable bags.
For more information about compostable bags, and yard waste set out requirements, please visit http://www.westutx.gov/473/Green-Waste-Program. All residential yard waste that is collected by the City of West University Place is delivered to a Living Earth recycling facility, where the materials are managed for local beneficial reuse.
Living Earth provides services to numerous municipalities and waste hauling service companies in an effort to provide cost-effective materials management of yard trimmings, brush and tree debris. If you would like to visit with Living Earth about increasing your community’s recycling efforts, please contact Lora Hinchcliff, Municipal Solutions Manager (972) 506-8575.
The City of Bellaire visits Living Earth Missouri City
March 31, 2016 – The City of Bellaire Texas Environmental and Sustainability Board recently stopped by the Living Earth Missouri City recycling facility for a tour. Board members had the opportunity to view how Living Earth manages inbound compost and mulch feed stocks. The group had a first-hand look at operating and production equipment, including a view of how Living Earth processes tree debris into beneficial mulch products.
Living Earth Big Scoop, Spring 2016