5 Ways to Do Good in the Garden
Whether it’s raising awareness of lesser known diseases, helping to brighten up a drab patch of land in an urban alley, teaching children how to grow wildflowers or helping our disappearing pollinator population, there is so much good to be done through gardening! Here are just some of the ways gardens give back.
1) Beacon® Impatiens donates to charity
PanAmerican Seed® recently announced that a portion of the global seed sales of the company’s downy mildew-resistant Beacon Impatiens will be donated to the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation and the Dutch Association of Pulmonary Fibrosis Patients. Last year's cause was the OI (Osteogenesis Imperfecta) Foundation, which received nearly $56,000 from Beacon sales. Every purchase of Beacon Impatiens helps!
2) Composting in garden beds
Compost is decomposed organic material such as leaves, shredded twigs and kitchen scraps from plants. Adding compost to clay soils makes them easier to work with and to plant in. In sandy soils, the addition of compost improves the water-holding capacity of the soil. By adding organic matter to the soil, compost can help improve plant growth and health. Composting is also a good way to recycle leaves and other yard waste.
3) Attracting pollinators
Buzzing bees, fluttering butterflies and zipping hummingbirds are amazing to watch, but they do more than just entertain. Pollinators are nearly as important as sunlight, soil and water to the reproductive success of over 75% of the world’s flowering plants. They are crucial to the production of most fruits, nuts and berries on which people and wildlife depend. Growing wildflowers in your garden is a great way to attract and feed pollinators.
4) Improving urban environments through gardening
Urban agriculture can be beneficial to the environment, and to the health and well-being of community members through the introduction of community gardens that can reduce the impact of food deserts in low-income areas. They can be a beneficial addition to many communities by increasing the availability of nutritious foods, strengthening community ties, reducing environmental hazards, reducing food miles and creating a more sustainable system.
5) Gardening improves emotional well-being
Gardening calms nerves, reduces blood pressure, reduces stress and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. Many doctors prescribe gardening and other outdoor activities to help patients overcome depression. Spending active time gardening can also burn up to almost 300 calories, which can encourage weight loss, and improve fitness and overall health. Research also shows that spending time working in the garden with others creates friendships, improves self-esteem, gives people a feeling of belonging and being helpful, and often results in plenty of fresh food to enjoy and share.