Angie Thomas' Five Reasons To Try Gardening In 2018
Angie Thomas, Horticulture Consultant to Yates is urging people to consider gardening to lose weight, save money, get fit and be happier.
Angie Thomas, Horticulture Consultant to Yates is challenging Aussies of all ages to consider trying their hand at gardening: 'Gardening isn't a pastime just reserved for older people with plenty of time on their hands. It's something that everyone can reap the many benefits from including physical activity and saving on grocery bills.
Question: Why are you urging Australians to get involved in gardening?
Angie Thomas: I'm urging Aussies to get their hands dirty and give gardening a go because it's such a thrill watching something you planted grow and flourish.
It also doesn't matter how big or small your space is. You can easily create a garden on your patio, balcony or even a space as small as a window sill. The process of gardening is therapeutic and helps with mindfulness and relaxation. You can also be sure you know what you're eating when you grow your own vegies or herbs.
Question: How is gardening the answer to our failing New Year's Resolutions?
Angie Thomas: Gardening is just one thing you can do to achieve many goals we associate with New Year Resolutions - such as saving money, getting fit, losing weight, being happier and managing stress better.
Question: How does gardening save us money?
Angie Thomas: Growing your own vegies, fruit and herbs can be really easy and hugely rewarding on your waistline AND wallet!
Once you establish a veggie patch (or pots), you can continue to grow and harvest getting more return on your initial set up investment each time. Your home grown goodies are also less impacted by major weather events (that we can't control) such as above average rainfall, storms and extreme temperatures.
Question: What are the health benefits associated with gardening?
Angie Thomas: Gardening can help you burn calories by digging, planting, watering, mowing, weeding and pruning. It is estimated you can burn hundreds of calories by doing moderately strenuous gardening.
Getting your hands dirty in the garden has been scientifically proven to increase serotonin levels through contact with soil and specific soil bacteria. Serotonin is a happy chemical that helps fight depression and improves our immune systems.
In addition, setting your mind to a gardening task, such as planting herbs in pots, allows you to focus your mind in the moment and practice mindfulness.
Question: Can you share your earliest gardening memory with us?
Angie Thomas: I had a big cactus collection when I was young. It was quite an ordered collection, which I labelled and also catalogued in a book. I researched them (this was way before the days of the internet!) and then hand drew pictures of each cactus and included their names. I also remember my parents always having a flourishing lemon tree in the backyard as well as lots of rhubarb and a huge compost bin.
Question: What are some of the plants a beginning gardener should look at planting?
Angie Thomas: During the cooler months, look at versatile and delicious vegies like baby leaf spinach (great for both salads and adding to pasta), loose leaf lettuce (you can pick individual leaves as you need them) and fast growing baby beetroot and radish. Spring onions are also long lasting and easy to grow and snow peas can be grown up a trellis and provide lots of crisp pods for salads and stir fries. There are lots of easy to grow vegie choices!
Question: How can we start our own veggie patch?
Angie Thomas: If you're lucky enough to have a backyard, then raised garden beds are a fantastic and super easy way to start a vegie patch. You can buy smaller ones that are less than 1m square, or large ones that are several metres long.
Fill with quality bagged garden soil and then mix a rich source of organic matter before you plant (Yates Dynamic Lifter is ideal) which will help improve the soil and give plants the best possible start. For beginner gardeners, planting seedlings is a great way to begin your vegie growing journey. Your local nursery or garden centre will have a range of vegie and herb seedlings that are suitable for planting at this time of the year, so this helps to take the guesswork out of what to plant when.
Keeping the soil consistently moist and feeding your vegies regularly (look for specific vegie and herb plant foods like Yates Thrive Vegie & Herb Liquid Plant Food) will help promote lots of healthy growth and a great harvest. And remember that help and advice is always available through the Yates Live Chat portal.
Question: If we have a small-to-no backyard, how can we still take up gardening?
Angie Thomas: Absolutely! There are lots of compact plants that are perfect for growing in pots and small spaces. On a sunny balcony during the cooler months you can grow vegies like lettuce, baby leaf spinach, rocket, silverbeet, kale, baby beetroot and carrots, parsley and chives and there's also a wide variety of fruit you can grow in pots too, including citrus, blueberries and strawberries.
Many flowers are also fantastic for pots and hanging baskets (so they take up very little room), including pansies, camellias and dwarf sweet peas. And then of course there are lots of fabulous indoor plants to grow as well, so even in the tiniest studio apartment you can still get your hands dirty!
For more information go to www.yates.com.au
Interview by Brooke Hunter