Plant for Better Health
These days, most of us are spending way too much time indoors, and a lot of that time is spent in front of a screen. This usually means we are sitting still and socially isolated. It’s bad for the eyes, body, as well as our social engagement system. Developing a healthy hobby that gets you outdoors, gets you moving, and helps encourage social interaction is one way to be more active. Gardening helps maintain a healthy weight, and does wonders for mental health. It’s calming, and it has been found to reduce stress, improve mood and support brain health as we age. Those who plant have improved nutrition as well, and tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Gardening can also be a way to engage with family and create some long-lasting traditions. Instead of buying Dad another neck-tie this Father’s Day, how about picking out a tree at your local garden center that you can plant together? Perhaps a fruit tree that will bear gifts for years to come.
Plant for Economic Value
Plant something around your home and you could increase your property value as much as 15 percent. To see some amazing transformations, check out these Curb Appeal Makeovers. And if you are thinking of selling your home, definitely check out Four Curb Appeal Projects to Max Out Your Home’s Value.
Even if you aren’t getting ready to sell immediately, many landscaping projects take time to plan, plant, install and mature. It’s an investment in your home like any other, one that will increase with time. To find an experienced and trusted landscaper in your area, you can use our directory of Local Landscapers and Garden Centers.
Plant for The Environment
Now more than ever, we need to be aware that we can impact our environment by making conscious choices in our gardens that support human health, native wildlife, and perhaps most critically, our pollinators.
Adding vegetation around your home can reduce storm runoff, remove carbon dioxide from the air, decrease pollutants from the air and soil, and preserve the natural environment for wildlife, birds, and valuable insects. We created a special campaign this year for the Maine Flower Show called Plant a Pollinator Garden! and will continue giving away our Mystery Seed Packets at the 2018 Maine Flower Show. In the meantime, you can plant your own pollinator garden as part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.
Other ways to plant for the environment include growing your own veggies (organic and GMO free), using permaculture as part of your landscape design, and supporting the Wild Seed Project.
Visit our Resources page to connect with our partners and neighbors who share a commitment to planting, gardening, landscaping, wildlife, and horticulture. Have a specific question? Ask the UMaine Extension gardening experts!
Plant for Your Community
Gardening can also be a great way to engage with your community. Why not plant an extra row of veggies to donate to your local food bank? Perhaps you’d like to organize an annual seed swap with your neighbors, or plan a day to beautify your town with sidewalk or roadside plantings or even a community garden. Any of these activities will get you outdoors, providing a healthy dose of sunshine, soil, and social connection.
We are officially living in the “digital age,” where we can shop online and have all our needs delivered to our door. We can also communicate with almost all of our friends and family virtually through apps and socials networks. Sometimes these conveniences are wonderful, but often have their drawbacks as well. Sitting in front of a computer doesn’t replace our need to interact with people and our environment.
If you feel the need to re-connect with your community, planting something is a great way to do that. And if you’re looking for gardening advice, of course you can use Google, but it will never replace value of face-to-face contact with your local experts. When you shop at independent retailers, spending money close to home, those dollars go back into your community.
Take time this summer to enjoy the outdoors, burn a few calories weeding the garden, and connect with the natural world through the wonderful act of “planting something.”