CLEMSON EXTENSION COLUMN: Your garden is key to keeping New Year resolutions
As we ring in 2023, many people will start thinking about resolutions for better living, losing weight, and whatnot. However, I would wager a guess that any of your resolutions, no matter what they are, can be accomplished in the garden.
Exercise more. Moving your body and being active will help burn calories, stretch muscles, and produce a healthy heart rate. According to many activity trackers, including MyfitnessPal, Noom, Calory, and a lengthy meta-analysis1, getting out in the garden can have compounding positive effects on burning calories and an overall positive sense of well-being. So don’t get stressed about making it to that CrossFit class when you can go in your backyard and pull weeds for 30 minutes to exercise and have a measurable benefit in your yard.
Save money. I, too, have heard the joke about folks spending $150 on gardening supplies for a $1 tomato. I agree tomatoes are complex, and the cost-benefit is only sometimes there. That is why I don’t suggest growing tomatoes or wheat in the backyard to save money. But I do recommend having a pot of herbs. But herbs like thyme, basil, cilantro, and rosemary never stay fresh long enough at the grocery store. They are easy to grow with minimal garden supplies. See https:// hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/herbs/ for more information, or pick up our herb gardening factsheet at the Clemson Extension Office.
Do more community good. Many people want to give back to the community in a meaningful way. The act of altruism is a singularly fantastic feeling for a person. The Pee Dee is home to several spectacular community gardens and community beautification opportunities. After even a few hours of service, you can have a visible impact on a greenspace that the entire community can enjoy. For more information on opportunities, call the Florence County Extension Office at 843-661-4800, and we can provide you with a list of groups looking for eager volunteers.
Try something new. If you want to try a new adventure, try gardening. Or better yet, try a different aspect of gardening. For example, try your hand at caring for a bonsai tree or set up a hydroponic system in a Florida room. There is no end to where you can go with gardening, and Clemson Extension is here to help you on your journey.
Find peace. Many people will begin their journey this year with goals of being more mindful, having more gratitude, and finding solace. These are found in a garden. Go out in the garden or to a park and practice being present. Notice the plants around you, listen to the sounds that you can hear, smell the flowers, and feel the leaves of grass underneath your shoes. This activity is a great technique to ground yourself in the present, and not be consumed by past and future worries.
Just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and, much like all aspects of gardening, progress is not linear. Keeping resolutions can be challenging, and your resolutions may have many parts. Still, I encourage you to try incorporating outdoor time into your goal. I bet you will find that is one of the easier ways to keep to your resolution. That is until about July, and then I would have an indoor backup plan for your resolution because it’ll be mighty hard to get out there in a South Carolina summer. Happy gardening and have a blessed New Year.
Carmen Ketron. Urban Horticulture Agent. Master Gardener Coordinator Darlington & Florence Counties.