Why Experts Believe Gardening Is Good For Both Your Physical And Mental Health 

There’s been a growing amount of research surrounding what we can do for ourselves at home to continue to practice good physical and mental health habits. After the last year, we’ve all had to adapt our lives to make sure that we’re constantly stimulating our brain, and moving our body to ensure that we remain as healthy as possible. 

Gardening has become one of the most popular pandemic activities and for good reason. A growing amount of research has proven that gardening is not only great for your physical health because it gets you up and moving, but your mental health as well, due to the fact that it gives you tasks to focus on, while also adding beauty to your space. 

Embed from Getty Images

James Wong is a botanist and journalist who recently looked into this concept more deeply, and found that gardening has actually helped a lot of people cope with the isolation of the past year. 

Wong explained how in general, “research has shown that mindfulness exercises that focus one’s attention on the here and now and stop our minds wandering to the past or worrying about the future are an important therapeutic tool.” So gardening has always acted as a form of therapy for many people. 

“Gardening is a classic example of such a mindfulness exercise, where you clear out extraneous thoughts and focus on what is in front of you, especially given the seasonal nature of gardening.”

Embed from Getty Images

“In fact, many Eastern cultures that have a long tradition of mindfulness are fixated on the beauty of seasonal plants, such as cherry blossom, precisely because of their transience, not in spite of it. So, in my opinion, fake plants and a green fence are unlikely to provide the full benefit,” Wong explained. 

There’s also a major social aspect that comes with gardening that Wong explained has motivated many individuals to go out of their way to talk to others. 

“Studies conducted at community gardens found that gardening in such places has a significant positive impact on one of the key factors behind poor mental health – loneliness and isolation.”

Wong recommends putting energy into your front lawn garden, or whichever part of your house is closest to your neighbors if you want to attempt to branch out and get to know the individuals you share a block with. 

“Each of these benefits appears to play only a small part in a much more complex puzzle, and the relative importance of each piece is likely to vary enormously for each person, to the point where they are often contradictory. When it comes to horticultural therapy, the best advice is it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it the way that works best for you,” Wong explained.

How Growing Mushrooms At Home Became The Newest Pandemic Trend 

Michael Crowe has been growing mushrooms as a business since 2017. He fills his bags with coffee grounds and other organic matter to help keep his product fresh for his customers, who have now expressed interest in growing their own mushrooms from home thanks to a new internet trend that involves people creating their own personal mushroom gardens at home. 

Crowe claims that a lot of his customers have been sending him live updates of their process, which he loves. “It’s just so cool because it can bring together people of all ages, from all walks of life and people all over the place can grow food and have a really good time learning about it.”

Crowe claims that the pandemic gave people the perfect opportunity to explore the multitude of mushroom growing kits online. “It just blew up, it seemed like one day everybody was looking to grow mushrooms.” 

Embed from Getty Images

This new trend makes sense considering that crafty hobbies in general have grown in popularity throughout the pandemic, especially hobbies that involve growing your own food. Many people have taken their newfound free time at home to better their skills as a chef and begin growing their own ingredients for healthier meal options and a more natural alternative to eating out. 

Growing mushrooms at home is also one of the easiest projects one could do, which is also why it’s become so popular among parents and guardians at home with their children who need constant entertainment. The process gives them something engaging and fun to do, while also providing an educational aspect of how plants grow from seed to table. 

Grocycle is a mushroom company that claims its home-grown kits saw a 320% increase in popularity during the last 12 months compared to the year prior. North Spore is another company based in the US that claims their mushroom growing supplies have been selling out at a rate 400% more when compared to the year prior. 

Embed from Getty Images

Barclay Bram is a London resident who spoke with the media recently about the rise in this trends popularity and his own experience growing mushrooms at home to pass the time. “I picked up a grow kit at my local market last November. Oyster mushrooms are a popular beginner’s shroom, being hardy and low-maintenance. Plus, it turns out eating the fruits of your own labor is tastier, too so that’s what I went with initially. I love cooking, and they were honestly some of the best mushrooms I’ve ever eaten,” says Bram.

Mushrooms are also extremely easy to cook and work with a multitude of meals, which is also likely why they specifically have become so popular. Bram also says there’s a greater sense of community that comes with growing your own food because you begin to communicate with other gardeners and home-growers of all kinds. 

“Sharing them is such a nice thing, and I’ve been swapping the mushrooms with people for backyard eggs or sourdough bread. They’re like an alternative currency, which is pretty cool.”

Jenn Xu is another London resident who claims to have bought three different growing kits since the start of the pandemic. “People want something new to do, we’re stuck at home, and if we can’t move, we want to see something move. I buy them for the novelty and for observing the growth patterns because they’re so diverse and interesting – it piques this childlike wonder … If you look away for two hours and look back, it’s doubled in size.”