Normally, I don’t need to think of reasons to start a garden. I’m intrinsically motivated to start anew each spring.
In the dead of winter, I usually get incredibly excited about the prospect of gardening in March. As soon as the seed catalogs arrive, I start to plan. I dream about the new varieties I want to try as I flip through the glossy magazines and I draw up sketches of my garden beds to decide what I want to plant where. I don’t usually need a reason to get excited.
This year is a little different. With the pandemic raging on, lockdowns in effect, and stress levels getting higher every day, I feel disconnected from the things I enjoy—especially gardening. So, to boost my morale, I’ve been thinking much more intentionally about the reasons to start a garden. It’s led me to realize that the reasons don’t always have to be the same. They can change and evolve, and they don’t always have to fit a specific mold.
Why You Should Start a Garden This Spring
Thinking about starting a garden this year? There are plenty of good reasons to get growing. Here are a few that I’ve been thinking about:
Home-grown lettuce is way cheaper than the grocery store stuff. The fancy greens you buy at the grocery store? They’re incredibly easy to grow, and many varieties are cut-and-come-again. One tiny seed will net you multiple delicious salads!
You can share what you grow. Loneliness has been a recurring theme of this pandemic. You can’t visit loved ones. Gatherings are too dangerous, so people have been spending more and more time alone. Sharing what you grow can help you connect with people you otherwise can’t spend time with during this time. Sharing sustenance is a wonderful way to show you care.
It’s a great family activity. These days school closures and adjustments have caused families to spend way more time together. Parents fret about the effect not being in school has on kids, but I say take this time to get into a hobby together. School will be out this summer anyhow, so spend the time together cultivating a garden. Couples can also use gardening to bond and strengthen their relationship.
You can grow exotic ingredients. Going to the grocery store is no longer the safe haven it once was. You can’t just pop into different supermarkets to find that one weird ingredient for your favorite recipe. Grow it yourself instead! Love bok choy stir fry? Grow some in your garden.
To take your mind off of things. Gardening has a meditative quality. When I’m in the garden, I often forget about everything else. You can’t always turn your brain off. Tuning into the world is important. But to have space where you can decompress is incredibly valuable.
What are some of your unconventional reason for starting to garden this spring? What’s the one thing that’s calling you back? Is it food security? Is it stress relief? Let me know in the comments.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.