If you think gardening is just for grannies, think again.
Around the world, Australians are known as lovers of the great outdoors. Backyards, barbeques, beach, and bush form the foundations of our culture. And yet, research shows that as our population becomes increasingly urbanised, as many as 1 in 3 Aussies are spending less than 18 minutes per day doing recreational activities outside.
Maybe team sports and Sunday morning jobs aren’t for everyone, but we could all benefit from spending a little more time soaking up the sunshine. And what better motivation than having a free supply of organic fresh produce on hand just a few steps from your kitchen?
Gardening is an opportunity for regular immersion in nature, even for those of us who don’t have huge backyards. There are hundreds of amazing vertical garden options for apartment balconies, while community gardens are becoming a staple in many communities around the country, including our very own Baldivis Grove (WA) and Shell Cove (NSW).
Let’s get physical
Any type of gardening is an opportunity for regular physical activity, and its accessibility makes it attractive to a wide range of ages and mobility levels. Just being outdoors in the fresh air comes with a host of benefits to your energy levels, but more vigorous activities like digging and mowing are great ways to work up a sweat!
Growing your own fresh produce can actually encourage you to eat a healthier diet. Not only does gardening give you access to organically grown produce, but it also gives you a greater understanding of and connection with where your food comes from. Research has shown that children who take part in gardening actually have a greater preference for, and increased consumption of, fruits and veggies.
Gardening isn’t just great for your body, it’s also great for your mental wellbeing! Research has shown that gardeners generally have greater life satisfaction and fewer feelings of depression and anxiety than non-gardeners. Community gardening projects are also a fantastic way to engage in regular interaction with like-minded people, helping to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Going green: Fairwater’s resident garden guru, Lukas Szymanek shares his top tips for novice gardeners
• Pick the perfect spot: most veggies need at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If your outdoor space is largely shaded, salad greens and root crops like potatoes and beets are your best option.
• Get your base right: plants love soft, well-draining soil. Look for soil mixes that are rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.
• The goldilocks method: make sure you’re watering your plants the correct amount; too much or too little can halt growth. Do your research to determine the right amount of water for each of your crops.
• Timing is everything: it’s vital to plant and harvest at the right time. Every variety has its own planting date, and this will depend on the climate you live in. Be sure to check the seed packet for guidance and take note.
New edition out now - Live Proud Spring/Summer 2019. This latest edition tells the story of our 95 year history of creating communities in Australia, as well as many more customer stories. We hope you enjoy the read.