Garden offers great benefits, if it grows
We have a new project in the Molenar family — a garden.
I see all the fields around Yuma, full of delicious food, and it seems like this should be an attainable goal.
But for me, it's elusive.
I grew up in a farming town in northern Ohio. If you drove 10 miles in any direction in my hometown, you would hit a farm — the town is surrounded by them.
And my dad, who grew up on a farm, often had a little garden growing in our backyard, filled with tomatoes and sugar snap peas.
While I loved eating tomatoes fresh from the garden, somehow, the green thumb gene wasn't passed on to me. Plants in my possession die quickly — overwatered? Underwatered? I have no idea.
Fortunately, my husband seems to have better luck with this.
We now have little green sprouts in our backyard, future tomatoes and cucumbers and peas, happily growing in a sunny, well-watered spot in the yard.
The benefits are many, if those little green sprouts make it into actual, edible food.
There's an educational component for our daughter, learning about where food comes from.
And, I'm delighted with the thought of going to friends' houses and dropping off something we grew ourselves.
And there's a side benefit I never saw coming: Working in the garden is actually relaxing.
I spent an hour out there recently pulling weeds. It was a project I wasn't looking forward to, but clearly, it needed to be done.
And so I got to work.
The hour passed by quickly as the pile of weeds and wayward grasses grew larger. And when I was finally done, I was pretty pleased to see the garden looking clean and healthy.
Turns out, scientists have actually studied the impact of gardening.
A 2011 study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that spending 30 minutes in the garden led to a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol.
Who knows if this little garden of ours will be a huge success, but I'm hopeful — those little green tendrils look promising. And the next time I feel a little stressed, I know where I'm headed — to pull the next crop of weeds.
Roxanne Molenar is the assignments editor for the Yuma Sun. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6862.