Did you know that gardening is not only great exercise, but that playing in the dirt can keep you healthy both physically and mentally?
It’s true. Dirt has so many different things growing in it, it actually helps build your immune system by exposing you to these microbes. In fact, the BBC recently did an article all about how it can help.
Here’s just a few reasons why gardening is great for your health:
Good exercise when digging or planting
Exposes you to sunshine for vitamin D (wear sunscreen!)
Dirt microbes can help strengthen your immune system
Peaceful space for a mental health break
Growing your own food is not only an accomplishment but can also be more nutritious
Growing flowers can help the pollinators, which help food production
Great bonding experience with children or friends (unless you prefer alone time)
Depending on where you live, it is either freezing with tons of snow (hi to my family in North Dakota) or you’re in a place that is seeing a warmer than normal winter, like me. Today, in Myrtle Beach, it is 75 and cloudy.
While many North Dakotans might not be thinking of tomatoes and squash just yet, I’m ready to start planning and then, soon, getting seeds started.
If you’re ready to start planning too, I’ve got a list of to-dos you can easily start with and “grow” from there.
1. Do a seed inventory. Not only will you see what you have and what you need, you can also make sure your seeds aren’t expired. Expired seeds will probably still be good, but you risk a lower germination rate. 2. Look at seed catalogues My favorite mail this time of year are seed catalogues. I love to look at new varieties. 3. Order seeds now Once you know what you have and don’t have – order what you’d like to try. The last few years have been tough for seed suppliers, so you don’t want to miss out on a specific variety if they’re sold out. 4. Clean up your garden space Soil health is important. If you prepare your soil properly now, your plants will thrive. Cleaning up can include digging up old plant roots, spreading fresh compost on your beds and adding chopped leaf mulch. 5. Know your space By knowing how much space you have to plant, you can plan properly when ordering seeds. You don’t want to over order and then have any go to waste. 6. Research your seeds and your grow zone If you know your grow zone, you can research or look on the back of seed packets to find out when to start seeds. Many plants benefit from a head start instead of direct sowing in the ground. This includes tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and some flowers like zinnias, cosmos and strawflowers. 7. Plan out your garden This step is when I decide what will go where and how many of each plant I need to start early. I always plan too much and things end up changing, but that is OK. I feel good going into a season knowing what I want to do. I’ve got an easy and inexpensive planner in my Etsy shop. 8. Start your plants! Many plants benefit from being started 6-8 weeks (and sometimes earlier) before a last frost for your area. A quick google search can tell you when your last frost is expected. Here in Myrtle Beach, that is often near the end of March. The seeds can be started in seed trays and placed on warming mats in a green house. I have a very simple green house set up outside on my porch – but you can also go all out and get a growing station with grow lights, heat mats and a fan. These trays are a great way to start seeds. 9. Watch your garden thrive By planning ahead, you not only get to dream of spring in January, you can easily pivot if things change. Your early-started plants will be fruiting and blooming before you know it – and you can then start the next round of flowers or vegetables to have an even longer growing season.
If you have any questions at all, please reach out. I’d be excited to help. Happy Growing!
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Spring is my favorite season. Everything gradually wakes up from the winter nap and pops of color fill the world. Around this time in South Carolina, some early flowers start to bloom – giving a peek as to what is ahead.
Right now, in my yard, I have calendula, petunias and daffodils.
Soon, there will be tulips, irises and Hyacinth. I can’t wait for them to pop.
I’ve also got some seeds started for late spring/summer flowers including multiple kinds of sunflowers, a variety of zinnias, marigolds, cosmos and strawflowers. This will be my first year with strawflowers and I can’t wait to see how they’ll do. I also have an abundance of lilies and dahlias that I am looking forward to this year.
So, I ask, what are your favorite flowers? Have you had success in growing them? Let me know.