Gardening And Your Health: How Working In The Dirt Can Have A Positive Impact

Gardening is a favorite pastime for many people, but it’s not just a hobby that yields pretty results; it’s also a great way to get in shape and improve your mental health at the same time.

Working in the sunshine, creating something beautiful that also has tangible rewards, and doing something physical after working in an office or other fairly inactive environment can have many benefits for your health, not the least of which is the fact that you get in a workout every time you go into the garden. Bending, kneeling, stretching, weeding, watering, planting, and reaping all take a measure of physical strength and endurance and allow you to work several muscle groups at once, which makes it a great activity for those living with arthritis or joint pain because you can customize your movements and only do as much as your body will let you.

Of course, having a garden also benefits the planet in many ways, so you really can’t go wrong. If you’ve never thought of yourself as someone with a green thumb, now may be the time to reconsider and get to planting. Here are some of the best benefits of having a garden and tending it.

You get to work outside

Working outside in the sunshine gives you a boost of vitamin D, which has been shown in studies to help with stress, depression and other mood disorders. Gardening allows for plenty of fresh air while giving you the option to work only as hard as you want, so it can be done by just about anyone, regardless of their abilities or mobility concerns.

You’ll eat healthier

If you choose to plant edibles in your garden, pick things you know you’ll eat so that nothing goes to waste. Tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and peppers are all great options that are relatively easy to grow depending on your climate, and you can harvest quite a few of them. Think about foods that you can grow nearly year-round, as well; beans, broccoli, turnips, and squash are great choices for a fall harvest.

If you’re interested in year-round crops, you might also consider building a solar greenhouse that will help you keep your plants healthy and abundant during all kinds of weather. Make sure you have the space in your yard and check with the city to see if you need a permit to build.

You can boost your mental health

Many people who garden report a positive boost in their mental health, especially people who spend a lot of time in an office setting or don’t get to work with their hands much. There’s something relaxing about working in the dirt and knowing which move comes next, spending time choosing the right plants and watching them grow under your care, and it can help boost your self-esteem, as well.

It can help your memory

Seniors who garden are more likely to battle the risk of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive function disorders because the act of working outdoors and planting helps the brain stay active and vital. Not only that, but many studies have shown that people who work in the garden have a reduced risk of stroke.

Remember that gardening can include heavy lifting and other physical work, so ask for help if you need it. Always wear sunblock and wear light-colored layers of clothing in the summer to stay cool. Being prepared and careful will help you get the most benefits out of working in the dirt.

Maria Cannon © 2017

Flourishing community garden

Thanks to all the hard work of our volunteers the community garden at the station is flourishing. The sunflowers are starting to appear as well as Cosmos, Cornflowers, Honeysuckle and Lavender and much more. We’ve lost a few things to the wildlife but we’re more than happy to share! In fact we encourage the local residents to help themselves. Get down to the garden and see if there’s anything ready – courgettes are looking good…

TTH join the Chelsea Fringe 2017

We’re teaming up with the Greenhouse Group in Alexandra Park and the Bohemia Walled Garden to put on some garden events in Hastings during Chelsea Fringe.

At St Leonards Warrior Square Train Station we will be hosting a garden swap shop and planting sessions for adults and children from 11-3pm. Bring your unwanted garden tools, plants, seeds and other garden related stuff. (read more about dos and don’ts for our swap shops).

Throughout the day we will be planting in containers so come along with your old teapots, wellies, tins and ceramic pots, anything waterproof and frost proof. Surprised us!

Also expect some musicians to drop by and play some tunes, share in a pot of tea and you will be able to try some produce, directly from the garden!

Read more on the event page.

A day to clear your shed & clear your head!

 

Events

Our proposal bench at the community garden

Last Sunday, in less than half a day, our team of eager volunteers put together a beautiful garden bench. We created a ‘Proposal Bench’ for the #JaneEyreProject which takes place in St Leonards from Feb 21 to March 7.

We are inviting visitors to the garden to sit, enjoy the space and write a proposal.

So come down to the garden at St Leoanrds Warrior Square (north platform), see what we’ve been creating and write some words.

 

The Hastings Midnight Run film is released!

Take a look at the video for the Hastings Midnight Run, an event we took part in last autumn. See if you can spot someone you know!

The Midnight Run is a walking, arts-filled, night-time cultural journey through a city. It gathers strangers and local artists/activists to explore, play and create whilst the city sleeps.

The Hastings Midnight Run from Inua Ellams on Vimeo.

Commissioned by the Hastings Storytelling Festival, this event featured:

ARTISTS //
FILM MAKER – Joe Kaufman
BARGAIN STUDIOS – Alfie, Amy & Danielle
STORY TELLER – Gareth E. Rees
COMMUNITY GARDENERS – Transition Town Hastings.
MUSICIANS – MAGIC CITY MOONFLOWER – Lynda, James & Ross.

Facilitated by IMOGEN BUTLER COLE

Transition Town present at Flick Chat, Rock House

On Nov 29, Rock House hosted an evening of short, PechaKucha style presentations. These are intended to inform, inspire and even include calls-to-action. Our very own Karen Simnett gave an excellent presentation about the work of Transition Town Hastings and what we have achieved in the last 2 years!

Please share this with anyone you think would be interested.

 

 

Open day at the community garden

Great weather, wonderful food and great people!

On October 9th we celebrated our first harvest at the community garden. Self grown, free food was offered to locals passing by including squash, spinach and chickpea curry, freshly pressed apple juice, apple cake, artichoke cake and sweetcorn fritters.

We also raised over £75 which we can put towards our many expenses. Thanks to all those who came down to the station and supported us.

Donated plants now in the new raised beds

Last Saturday (August 6th) we planted beetroot, mint, tomatoes and more strawberries. We’ve got a number of volunteers giving up time during the week to water the plants. Let us know if you want to come along – all welcome.

New beds almost ready for planting…

CAMERAWith the arrival of fresh top soil from Bourne Amenities last week, work has ensued filling the new raised beds in preparation for planting out seedlings.

CAMERA

The next work party will be on Saturday 6th August from 12pm til 3pm. Please come along to help finish the beds and begin planting out seedlings. We will be collecting some surplus plants from the Greenhouse Group at Alexandra Park.

If anyone has any spare plants, feel free to bring them along! We also need wheel barrows, use of a strimmer (we have no mains electricity…) and plenty of elbow grease!

We will also be having a conversation about what we’ve achieved so far and future plans.

CAMERA