National Allotment Week
Let’s dig into the benefits of gardening!
If you’re not a regular gardener, it’s time to dust off your shovel, spades and forks because from 7-13 August, The National Allotment Society is encouraging us to embrace the benefits of allotment gardening.
Interested in growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs but don’t have the space? Fear not. If you don’t have your own garden there are still lots of ways to flex your green fingers. First up, you can check online to see if you can rent an allotment in your local area or join a community growing group which is a shared project run by volunteers. Land is leased
either from a private or local authority landlord but be aware there’s often a waitlist depending on the demand within your area.
Another alternative is to take advantage of your windowsill. This can be a simple solution if you don’t have access to a garden area and an easy way to slowly dip your toes into the world of growing your own harvest. Say hello to your own mini-indoor gardening oasis! For even the most green-thumb challenged, windowsill gardening can be a success. We’ve listed the easiest options below to give you a head start on bringing nature inside…
- Herbs e.g. basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, mint
- Pea shoots
- Baby beetroot
As we know from our Veg Power blog, vegetables contain a treasure trove of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which is good news for our gut bugs(1). If you missed this blog, catch up here to learn more about the goodness of veggies and how to easily incorporate them into your daily diet.
Gardening can be a fun way to enjoy physical activity (movement doesn’t have to mean a sweaty gym class!). Exercise is another factor which can positively impact our gut(2,3). In the UK, it’s recommended to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week(4). This can be broken down to around 30 minutes of exercise on 5 days.
Gardening does exactly that – connecting with nature. Even noticing the colours of the flowers, touching the leaves or listening to the birds sing; all simple pleasures that are free and mood boosting(5)! Spending time in fresh air and in nature doing a hobby we enjoy can do wonders for our stress levels and help us to relax. And guess who’s impacted by stress? Yes, you guessed it – our famous gut bugs(6). If you’re able to join a community allotment group in your local area, this can also be a great way to connect with neighbours and make new friends with a shared interest.
Growing Green Thumbs
Many of us have or know children who are fussy eaters. Getting kids involved with gardening allows them to engage with food in a hands-on way that can work magic on their willingness to try new foods. Being involved with planting, watering and picking fruit and vegetables can cultivate a sense of ownership, accomplishment and excitement about the ‘finished product’.
So, roll up your sleeves, grab some seeds and get your hands dirty to foster the nutritional, social, mental and physical benefits that gardening could offer!
Why not try these Love Your Gut recipes to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour:
- SACN (2015) Carbohydrates and Health. London: TSO.
- Dziewiecka et al. (2022) BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 14(1): 122.
- Monda et al. (2017) Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 3831972.
- NHS (2021) Physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64. Available at: nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-guidelines/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults-aged-19-to-64/
- Jimenez et al. (2021) International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(9): 4790.
- Madison & Kiecolt-Glaser (2019) Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 28: 105–110.