Cool Season Gardening: A Heart-Warming Idea

*By Cindy Dixon

As the New Year begins, many of us make resolutions to get in shape whether by eating healthier, losing weight, and/or doing more exercise. Usually, by the end of February, many resolutions are a thing of the past!

Good news!! Here’s a way to help keep those resolutions going and growing throughout the year….GARDENING!! Gardening helps you eat healthier and lose weight while getting exercise at the same time. Eating fresh food from your garden is more nutritious than purchasing from the grocery store. You are harvesting food at its peak without the many chemicals added to commercial foods.

Gardening can be a wonderful and tasty way to accomplish your goals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gardening is a form of exercise that includes all muscle groups: legs, arms, buttocks, stomach, neck, and back. In fact, being out in the garden for just 30 minutes can burn up to 300 calories. Gardening might not qualify as a high-intensity exercise, but you can incorporate your own strength training exercises with some modifications and a little creativity. For example, try adding a few mini squats while planting or pulling weeds. Or, how about adding a couple of lunges here and there between garden duties? You can create some fun ways to “work out” in the garden while growing food. Who knows, maybe your family might want to get involved in garden activities! Can you dig it???? Gardening can also help with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, relieving stress, and avoiding depression, to name a few.

Growing during the cooler months has additional benefits. The lower temperatures make for sweeter tasting crops. The higher temperatures in the warmer months tend to stress plants; thus, creating bitterness. Here is a list of some of the crops that enjoy the cooler weather:

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Horseradish
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeds
  • Lettuce: Head and Leaf
  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

  • You’ll also enjoy less weeding and fewer garden pests during the cooler months. In fact, in many areas, the working conditions for gardening are ideal. For those living in areas still too cold to start a ‘New Year’ garden…. DON’T DESPAIR! Try growing indoors! Sprouts are an easy and healthy way to grow. A wide assortment of seeds can be sprouted to give you nutrient-dense food. Experiment with some new seeds for sprouts. You might just find some new favorites. You, too, can get your creative juices flowing with ways to incorporate gardening moves while growing indoors.

    Whether you’re starting a cool-season garden or trying your hand at sprouts, gardening helps you keep those health conscience resolutions well into the New Year. You’ll discover a new sense of accomplishment while growing delectable foods at the same time. Gardening, any time of the year, helps to feed your mind – body – soul! Now THAT’S COOL!!

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    * You can find out more about Cindy Dixon at .