It is National Gardening Day and the weather starts to (slowly!) warm up, it is a great time to get outside.
Gardening is associated with many health benefits including improved physical, mental and social wellbeing. Mowing the lawn, digging, weeding and other gardening tasks can help us stay active and hit our weekly exercise goal and simply spending more time outdoors has been shown to improve sleep. If you don’t have a garden, or outdoor space, you can still reap many of the benefits by planting in pots on windowsills or joining a local gardening group near you. Read on for our top tips to get started and ideas of what to grow.
Whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, a thriving plant starts with good soil. The surest way to make sure your plants get off to a good start is to buy a bag of compost and use this to start your seedlings; once they are well-established you can re-plant them into regular soil in your garden. To save money on buying little pots, you can start your seedlings in clean yoghurt pots or any other containers you can save from your kitchen, just poke something sharp through the bottom to allow for some drainage.
Grow heart-healthy herbs
Eating too much salt can contribute to increased blood pressure, using herbs in cooking is a great way to add flavour without adding salt. Herbs are one of the easiest things to grow and great for beginners to try. They are a great choice for indoor growing as they do well in pots on a sunny windowsill. If you’re planting them outdoors, choose the sunniest spot you can find. Chives, mint, basil, parsley, and thyme are just a few that are easy to care for. You can either grow from seeds or buy the small plants from the supermarket and re-pot them.
Involve the whole family
Gardening is a hobby for all ages, and it’s a nice activity to do with children. Children love to see flowers grow and growing vegetables together can be a great way to encourage them to try them, which is especially helpful if you have a picky eater. It is also a great way to introduce a little responsibility in the form of caring for something else, let children choose what flowers and vegetables they want to grow and watch the sense of joy they get from seeing the fruits of their labour.
To help keep your heart healthy, why not try out some of our healthy recipes from our website: https://heartresearch.org.uk/heart-research-uk-recipes-2/.