Simple Steps to Creating a Healing Garden

*By Cindy Dixon

Agriscaping teaches the 3 steps to garden success:  Healthy Soil – Healthy Seeds/Starts – Healthy Routines.  Let’s look at these steps as a fun and easy way to create your own healing garden.

  Healthy soil:  There’s more to healthy soil than a dark, crumbly sweet-smelling medium we grow our plants in.  Did you know digging in soil is actually good for you?  Many studies (1 & 2) have found working in dirt is good for your brain. Digging in the soil stirs up microbes and when inhaled stimulates your serotonin production. Soil is a natural antidepressant to make you happier and healthier. Mycobaterium vaccae is one such soil microbe that has been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide.  It has been shown to stimulate serotonin production.  In basic terms, Serotonin is a neurotransmitter,  a chemical that helps relay signals from one part of the brain to another.  Increases in serotonin levels help the brain communicate, thus, reducing depression symptoms. (3)

  Speaking of digging, gardening is a wonderful way to get exercise.  Gardening is considered a gentle exercise that involves all major muscle groups of your body. (4)  Gardening on a regular basis helps to build your strength and burn calories.  Instead of going to the gym, spend some time out in your garden.

  So, maybe it’s time to dig in, get happy and healthy! 

  ****Can you dig it?  Playing in the soil is good for your soul! 
        Healthy Soil – Healthy Plants – Healthy People

  Now let’s look at the aspect of healthy seeds/starts.  Select those seeds/starts that bring you happiness.  One of my selections to any new garden I plant is zinnias.  These were the first seeds I planted and grew as a child.  Even today, I still feel the excitement of seeing those seeds I carefully planted begin to emerge from the soil.  Are there plants that bring back fond memories of loved ones or growing up as a child for you?  You might want to consider adding these to your garden. 

  Taking care of plants feeds the nurturing instinct in us. The joy of growing something you planted and nurtured doesn’t subside over time.  Consider adding plants you enjoy eating to your garden for your nourishment and health. There’s nothing like tasting that first strawberry of the season while out in the garden or munching on a carrot minutes after pulling out of the ground.  You can taste the freshness. It’s fun foraging in your garden on delectable delights.

  When creating your garden you might want to consider your color palette as well.  Do you want the cool colors of blues, purples, and greens to dominate, or do you prefer the warm colors of reds, yellows, and oranges?  Remember, your garden is a work of art, make it yours! 

  Not only do your plants bring you visual beauty, but the aroma of many plants can also bring happiness and comfort.  Lavender is one plant that is often used for a calming effect.  Breathing in fresh flowers or herbs growing in your garden can be uplifting.

  Healthy Systems/Routines:  Creating a daily routine for your garden is beneficial and efficient.  Your garden should be a place of fun, relaxation, and wonder, so why not make it a part of your daily life? Being out in a garden, you are closer to nature, helping you to slow down and enjoy the moment. 

According to the Preventative Medical Reports (5), gardening has a large range of health benefits from reducing anxiety to lifting depression to reducing body mass index, all this while increasing your quality of life.

  Time in nature is often seen as precious and life-changing.  Your garden can part of this experience. **There really is something to the old adage of ‘Stop and Smell the Roses.’    

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* You can find out more about Cindy Dixon at .


Sources: 1. Antidepressant Microbes in Soil:  How Dirt Makes You Happy   2. Is Dirt the New Prozac?   3. Digging in the Dirt Really Does Make People Happier   4. Gardening:  The Latest Fitness Trend?   5. Preventative Medical Reports: