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Many of us like the idea of a small home garden full of fresh veggies, fruits, or flowers. However, we also tend to let the idea slip by because we don’t feel like we have time between work, caring for a home and family, and all the other things that our lives entail. Yet, the benefits of a gardening habit can positively affect your home, your health, and even your family, and they make the project well worth working into your schedule.

Whether you add a few plants to your home’s interior, or begin a full-fledged garden in the backyard, there is much to gain from making your venture a habit. Here are some areas of your life that even a small gardening venture can improve, both subtly and drastically:

1. Fresh Food

Garden-fresh, healthy vegetables are a must for you and your family, and there’s something very satisfying about knowing precisely your food’s source. What better way to ensure your children get their veggies from a nourishing source than to grow them yourself in a healthy, sustainable garden?

You can select the vegetables you prefer — or the ones that suit your child’s picky eating habits — and ensure their quality by using a natural weed killer, pesticide, and other organic resources.

2. Active Living

It is not easy to maintain an active lifestyle and spend time outdoors with all that daily life requires. Making a habit of tending to the garden is an excellent way to get outside, be physically active, and can even serve as physical stress relief. According to one study, people that gardened for 30 minutes after a stressful task were in a better mood than people who read for 30 minutes, and the gardeners had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Growing the garden can be as beneficial to your health as consuming the product.

3. Mental Health

Mental health can also benefit from a gardening habit. As the body moves and takes in the fresh air, surrounded by nature — which is often regarded as soothing — the activity is said to improve mental lucidity: Being outside in nature is relaxing for humans and can help us find peace and healing. Gardening is a rewarding way to help us be involved in nature. The same activity that improves physical stress has a positive impact on mental stress, too.

4. Family Time

Additionally, few things are more rewarding for a parent than to see children enjoying themselves in healthy, active ways, and many parents sincerely wish their children would play outdoors more often.

Your children can aid you in the garden; they may enjoy digging in the dirt or discovering the little critters that appear among the growth. Or, perhaps they may play their own games near you, allowing you to do your own thing while remaining near enough to keep an eye on them. Your partner can enjoy the benefits of the activity with you, as well, and you can make that time together a regular activity. Either way, you are all outdoors, enjoying the benefits of nature and exercise.

5. Healthy Habits

Most of us could benefit from healthier habits. Instead of eating sweets when stressed, or other similar problematic behaviors, the benefits of gardening as an activity can replace the short-term relief that other habits offer. It also promotes other, healthier manners away from the garden. You may find yourself feeling invigorated enough to be more organized and cleanly inside the house, to get more exercise, and eat better. The more you garden, the sooner it will become a habit, and more you will profit from it in general.

Gardening sounds like a major undertaking, but it does not have to be. Even if you have a small backyard or if you don’t have experience with plants, you can start small. You can even try gardening in planters on your patio or with houseplants. There is a wealth of information available to get you started with the right plants for your environment, the best fertilizers for the project, a natural weed killer, and more—all you need is the desire to begin and see it through. With a bit of effort, you can make time in your schedule that benefits you, your family, and even the environment. You can make health a fun habit.

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