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Sarah Stultz: Gardening good for both the body and mind

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz


I took half a day off last week to get most of my garden planted at the Brookside community gardens. Though it felt a little later than normal, it was actually right on track to previous years.

I battled with finding a day that it was not raining that I could get out there and not be a muddy mess. Then there were the cold days that are known all too well in Minnesota in May that sometimes throw a wrench into my plans.  I’m kind of glad I held off as there had been threats of frost.

It felt good to finally get out there, to plant my seeds and my starter plants and to now patiently wait for the process to run its course.

Of course, now that the seeds and plants are in, that doesn’t mean all the work is done and I can sit back and relax until the vegetables appear.

We can’t forget about the weeding, putting up tomato cages and fences, and running out there to water the plants on hot, dry days.

It may not be comparable to running or other forms of aerobic exercise, but it does work up a sweat and uses some muscles, too. According to research I’ve found, gardening can burn 200 to 400 calories per hour. Not too bad for something not as demanding on the body as running.

After I left the garden last week, I could feel it in my muscles.

My out-of-shape body was reminding me how little I had exercised in recent months, but I was proud to have everything in the ground. I knew rain was in the forecast all weekend, and it would provide a good start for the garden.

As I drove past the garden sites Monday, it seems rain  has already had a positive effect — at least for the weeds, as it seemed they had already started to multiply in the few days since I had been there. You know what that means — I’m in for some fun weeding here in the next couple days.

At this time of uncertainty in the world, I’m glad to be able to have gardening as an outlet to put some of my energy into.

There’s something so rewarding about putting all this work into a garden and seeing it flourish and produce healthy food that sustains us.

Not to mention, homegrown produce is delicious.

If you’ve never grown a garden, think about trying it out this year. It’s not too late.Gardening is good both for the body and the mind and provides a great learning tool for children, too. 

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” — Audrey Hepburn

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.