When it comes to gardening, most people tend to imagine older ladies in large-brimmed hats tending to flowerbeds outside their sprawling suburban homes. (At least, that’s what I think of.) So when my boyfriend and I started a backyard garden during our very first spring out of university, we were met with some surprise. Now that we’re into our third season of growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs, we can’t recommend it highly enough to other twenty-somethings! In fact, it seems that millennial gardeners are becoming a bit of a trend. (Finally, something millennials aren’t killing…) Here are five reasons why gardening in your twenties is a definite must-do.
Gardening Relieves Stress
Whether you’re buried in work or struggling to find some, you’re probably pretty stressed out as a twenty-something. You’ve got all these crazy responsibilities! Why would you want to add one more with a garden? In a lot of ways, gardening can actually help you to relieve stress and improve your health. The combination of fresh air, sunshine, light exercise, and the meditative quality of your repetitive actions all contribute to a healthier mind and body. Even if you don’t have a backyard, use your balcony or a shared outdoor space to prepare your potted plants to get the same benefits. Gardening requires just enough attention to distract you from everything else that’s on your plate, so focus in and let nature soothe your soul.
Save Money and Reduce Food Waste
Joe and I love planting fruits, vegetables, and herbs that we would otherwise buy at the grocery store. On the one hand, this helps us avoid buying too much of a food that only comes in bulk. A recent example of this for me is collard greens. I only need a couple to make Tone It Up Bikini Wraps from the Nutrition Plan, but they only come in bunches of around a dozen. And I hate throwing out expired food. So now I’m growing my own collards in the backyard for the cost of a couple of bunches total, and I can pick the leaves whenever I need them.
On the other hand, you can get some serious mileage out of certain plants. Herbs are great for this, as you can dry them throughout the season and use them for the whole year. Our zucchini plant went nuts last year, too, so we definitely got our money’s worth in zucchini-based dishes!
Gardening in Your Twenties = Adulting Cred
I know it sounds crazy, but people seem to find it really cool when you tell them that your meal is made with homegrown produce. This is especially true if you grow things people aren’t used to seeing (lemon cucumbers, anyone?). Maybe you’re feeling like things are a mess and you don’t really have it all together. You could use all the “adulting cred” you can get. This probably won’t be a motivating factor in your decision to start gardening in your twenties, but it definitely helps!
The Process and the Payoff
I think of gardening as one of the most basic levels of responsibility leading to reward. (Other levels include taking care of pets, raising children, playing the Sims…) The nice thing about it is that, in general, you get out what you put in. If you plant your garden in the right amount of sunlight, water it, and give it a bit of fertilizer, the garden will be a success. There are other factors, of course. My particular issue has been with pests. But even still, I love watching my vegetables grow and ripen each day I go out to water them. And if all goes well, you come to my favourite part: eating them!
Practice for Your Future Garden
Someday, you too may be one of those older ladies in a large-brimmed hat, taking care of a beautiful, meticulously-groomed garden. And while we may not be there yet, I already know that it’s going to take work — and skill. Sure, you can pay someone to take care of the garden for you in the future. But why give up the hobby if it’s good for your health? I’m using these “starter” gardens at my rental house as practice for a “real” garden someday. I’m not very good at it yet, to be honest, but I’m hoping to improve!
Whether you’ve got a single windowsill or an entire backyard to work with, gardening in your twenties — and beyond — can be a calming and rewarding endeavour. Start small and keep trying new things — you’ll be growing in no time, in more ways than one!
What do you love about gardening?