Get Set and Grow this May with help from the HTA’s ‘Gardening is Good for You!’ campaign, supported by National Garden Gift Vouchers
Gardening has many benefits for your health and wellbeing. These include providing exercise and staying active, relieving stress, grounding and connecting with nature, satisfying creativity and learning new skills, enjoying and sharing your garden with family and friends, and feeding your mind, body and soul.
Now’s a great time to sow and plant flowers, veg, salads, fruits and herbs to enjoy over the months ahead. Gardening outside in the fresh air is a good way to get some gentle exercise while nurturing crops and patio displays to perfection. By growing your own you’ll pick the freshest, healthiest, nutrient-rich produce possible …. from plot to plate in minutes!
While ‘5 a day’ has become has become a mantra for many, experts at Imperial College London say most people still aren’t eating enough fruit and veg, and should be eating more. Fruits and vegetables provide a rich variety of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre. These help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, boosting the immune system, reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure, plus many other health benefits too.
One of your ‘5 a day’ is defined as an 80g (3oz) portion, and the most beneficial crops to grow at home include apples and pears, salads and green veg like spinach and lettuce, yellow sweet peppers, and cruciferous crops including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
For a healthy balanced diet, aim for a rainbow of colours on your plate too – both raw and cooked – as different coloured fruits and crops contain varying beneficial ingredients. For instance, it’s anthocyanins that give beetroot, blackberries, red cabbage and purple and blue crops their colour, while the distinctive orange/yellow colour of carrots, peppers and squash comes from carotinoids, used in our body to form Vitamin A.
Gardening and growing your fruit, herbs, crops and cut flowers are beneficial to health and wellbeing in many ways. It’s rewarding and productive, provides exercise, and helps feed the family with freshly picked homegrown, organically grown produce – the perfect way to keep you healthy and save money too!
Did you know?
Perhaps gardening and growing your own could reduce the million prescriptions for anti-depressants issued every week. Picking your own fruit and crops can give you a harvesting high! Researchers have found that seeing, smelling and picking fruits and berries can release dopamine from the brain’s reward centre, resulting in a feeling of mild euphoria and wellbeing.
Eat the rainbow with colourful crops
For flavour and freshness grow a rainbow of colourful and nutritious fruit, veg and salads in your kitchen garden.
- RED: Tomatoes, Red Onions, Rhubarb Chard, Sweet Peppers, Chillis, Strawberries, Rhubarb.
- ORANGE: Carrots, Squash, Pumpkin.
- YELLOW: Golden Courgettes and Tomatoes, Sweetcorn, Yellow Beans and Sweet Peppers.
- GREEN: Asparagus, Spinach, Peas, Beans, Mangetout, Rocket, Lettuce and salad leaves, Kale, Romanesco, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cucumber, Pak Choi.
- BLUE: Blueberries.
- PURPLE: Beetroot, Broccoli, Aubergine, Purple Beans, Purple Asparagus, Red Cabbage, Radish, Kohl Rabi, Plums
- WHITE: Cauliflower, Celery, Leeks, Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Spring Onions, Potatoes, Parsnips, Celeriac, Turnip.
If you haven't grown your own fruit or vegetables before and would like some advice on getting started, our team are always on hand and are more than happy to help.