Worldwide, more than 400 million people suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and depression, resulting in significant health-related costs (WHO, 2015). People in the city are often exposed to greater stress levels, exercise less and eat an unhealthy diet. However, it is not necessary to move directly to the countryside because of this. Even small urban green spaces have the potential to improve mental and physical health. A study in 1984 found that patients in hospital rooms recovered faster after surgery simply by looking at greenery than patients with a view of a building (Ulrich, 1984). A recent study in the journal Nature Neuroscience also shows that spending time in urban green spaces has a positive effect on the neural regulation of negative emotions (Tost et al., 2019).
There is growing evidence that gardening, in particular, offers numerous benefits to human health. A meta-analysis by Soga et al. (2016) documented reductions in body mass index, depression and anxiety, and increases in life satisfaction, quality of life, and sense of community as a result of gardening activities. According to Soga et al. (2016), a regular dose of gardening can improve public health. Spending time in green spaces, for example, lowers blood pressure and stress hormones (Bowler et al, 2010). Getting your hands dirty once in a while also strengthens the immune system through contact with certain soil bacteria (Skinner et al., 2001).
The visible growing process of homegrown vegetables brings us back to our roots. This connection to nature enhances our well-being by balancing stress and tension (Hartig, 2014). Gardening strengthens our sense of self-efficacy, as our own actions become visible after only a short time. The garden serves as a metaphor for our own responsibility of caring and nurturing ourselves and others. Based on the results of numerous studies, the preventive potential of people's regular contact with nature is now recognized and can be used to promote health. GROME uses the garden as a creative community project, training of attention, and training of perception and sense of enjoyment of one's own harvest.
Now in the fall, when the hours of sunlight are getting shorter and many are reaching for vitamin D, another powerhouse helps well: the vitamin G for garden. A good way to implement this is the autumn work on the raised bed.
High beds are currently very trendy - as an ideal solution for flexible vegetable gardening on a small scale. Therefore, autumn is particularly suitable for early planning when creating a raised bed or for planting autumn and winter vegetables.Autumn filling brings numerous advantages with a compost raised bed. For example, it can be used as a composter over the winter, putting garden and kitchen waste to good use. Above the lowest drainage layer of expanded clay comes together so much over the winter months. The compost can sit dormant for extended periods of time, allowing nutrients to be transferred and preventing the subsidence of an already planted bed. Filling up with fresh planting soil in the spring is therefore sufficient to start the planting season.In addition, the raised bed can still be planted with frost-tolerant vegetables in the fall. The use of young plants is recommended at this time due to falling outdoor temperatures. When planting in September and October, the harvest often does not take place until spring. In order for the plants to be protected from frosts in addition to comfortable growing temperatures, it is recommended to use a greenhouse attachment. By February, the raised bed should then be completely cleared to begin preparations for the coming season.One of our guiding concepts as a mediator between garden and health is permaculture. We will dedicate one of our next blogposts to this concept, which can be understood more as the creation of ecosystems of resilient cooperation - whether for plants or people. Until then, don't run out of vitamins and stay healthy!
World Health Organization (2015). World health statistics.
Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science. 224(4647):420-1. doi: 10.1126/science.6143402
Tost, H., Reichert, M., Braun, U., Reinhard, I., Peters, Lautenbach, S., Hoell, A., Schwarz, E., Ebner-Priemer, U., Zipf, A. & Meyer-Lindenberg, A. (2019) Neural correlates of individual differences in affective benefit of real-life urban green space exposure. Nature Neuroscience. 22, pages 1389–1393. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-019-0451-y
Masashi Soga, Kevin J.Gaston, Yuichi Yamaurac. Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis. Preventive Medicine Reports, Volume 5, March 2017, Pages 92-99
Bowler, D. E., Buyung-Ali, L. M., Knight, T. M., & Pullin, A. S. (2010). A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments. BMC Public Health, 10, 456. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-10-456
Skinner, M. A., Prestidge, R., Yuan, S., Strabala, T.J. & Tan, P. L. J. (2001). The ability of heat-killed Mycobacterium vaccae to stimulate a cytotoxic T-cell response to an unrelated protein is associated with a 65 kilodalton heat-shock protein. Immunology. 102(2): 225–233. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.2001.01174.x
Hartig T., Mitchell R., de Vries S. & Frumkin H. (2014). Nature and health. Annu. Rev. Public Health