Dr. Keith Souter writes: It was full of giant pumpkins, Trombones and a truck full of Boston Squashes and Burgess Buttercups. So she has lots of healthy treats at her house and plenty of pumpkin carving to do at the end of the month.
Gardening is a lot of fun and I’ve always found the process of digging, digging and working with the soil to be very therapeutic. And then when the plants start growing, you reap the benefits.
Much research has been done on the mental health benefits of gardening and other recreational activities. A newly published study by scientists at the University of Florida found that gardening reduced stress, anxiety and depression in healthy women who attended gardening classes twice a week. None of the study participants had done gardening before.
The study was conducted on 32 women aged 26-49. In this context, they examined factors such as chronic health conditions, tobacco use and substance abuse, and prescribed medications for anxiety or depression.
Half of the group was assigned to gardening sessions and the other half to artistic creation sessions. Both groups met twice a week for a total of eight times. The art group served as a point of comparison with the gardening group.
In gardening workshops, participants learned to compare and sow seeds, transplant different types of plants, and harvest and taste edible plants. Those in the art-making sessions learned techniques such as papermaking, printmaking, painting and collage.
The researchers reported that the gardening and art groups experienced similar improvements in mental health, with gardeners reporting less anxiety than art masters.
Scientists wonder if the increased benefit from horticulture comes from the fact that plants are so integral to our evolution. They wonder if humans are attracted to plants because we depend on them for food, shelter, and other means of survival. Practicing with plants can reduce anxiety.