April is National Garden Month, a great time to get outside and enjoy spring weather. Building a garden – large or small – benefits our health, environment and communities.
• Health: Gardening provides physical activity, reduces stress and can lead to healthier eating.
• Environment: Gardens improve the health of local ecosystems by absorbing and filtering rain water, reducing soil erosion, and reducing the urban heat island effect.
• Community: Community gardens can foster connections with neighbors and studies have shown that crime decreases as neighborhood green space increases.
• Economics: Community gardens can increase nearby property values. Composting saves space in landfills, which saves city and taxpayer dollars.
Viewer Tip: You don’t have to have a big backyard to enjoy gardening. These ideas from the National Gardening Association will get you started.
• No space: Join a community garden or volunteer to plant and help maintain a garden at a local school or library.
• Small space: Fill a window box with bright spring flowers or garden in containers on a patio or porch. Many herbs, vegetables and fruits can be grown in containers, including tomato, eggplant, pepper and zucchini varieties that were bred for container gardening.
• Lots of space: Design and plant a native plant garden to attract pollinators, like butterflies, bats, birds and bees. Check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Native Plant Database for ideas.
Photo courtesy of Univ. of Wisc. Cooperative Extension.