From calorie burn, to money saver, to a delight for the taste buds, there is no shortage of benefits when it comes to gardening.

Saving money

First off, there’s no denying the economic value. Did you know that a tomato plant that costs about $2 can yield approximately 10 pounds over the season, which tends to run from June until September (longer in Florida and California). Because of the abundance and simplicity, tomatoes are the most popular crop to grow at home. Also common are cucumbers, beans, carrots, snap peas and a variety of lettuces. Loose leaf lettuce can mature in as quickly as three weeks. A barrage of delicious summer salads are as close as your own backyard. Plus, you’ve got so many herb options. Basil, dill and oregano are just a few ways you can add flavor, in a very inexpensive way, to your meals.

Better tasting, better for you

Besides saving a few bucks on the sometimes high price of produce, especially when you’re springing for organic, the nutritional benefits alone are enough reason to commence planting. Have you ever heard people say, “As soon as you drive your new car off the lot it depreciates in value”? The same thing happens with produce. As soon as it’s plucked from the soil, nutritional value begins to decline. So by the time it gets to your grocery buggy, then onto your kitchen counter, it no longer offers its true potential. And maybe it’s just the satisfaction of seeing a project through start to finish, or the sense of pride that comes along with such an accomplishment, but doesn’t it just taste better?

Exercise

Last but certainly not least, did you know outdoor chores are a great calorie-burning tool? In the winter, shoveling the driveway can be added to your “ways to keep fit” list. But then comes yard work season, and pulling weeds and planting flowers can have you burning 200 to 400 calories an hour. Plus there’s the benefit to your muscles. Carrying supplies to and from the garage, squatting up and down countless times, hoisting a wheel barrow and digging through the soil will give you such a full-body workout you’ll be ready for a hot soak in the tub to ease your hard-working muscles. Follow that up with a fresh salad or ratatouille, and you’ve got the perfect day!

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