We’ve all heard it before: a naked garden is not a greener one.
But a new study suggests that the opposite may be true, and that the benefits of gardening are far more important than you might think.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that naked gardeners are more productive than other gardeners, and they also have healthier bodies.
“If you have a garden that you have been living in and you don’t have to do anything, that’s really good for your health,” says lead researcher Kristin Kudlow, an assistant professor in the University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“That’s really beneficial.”
Kudlow is one of a handful of researchers who have found that the healthier and happier the people are when they are gardening, the more efficient they are at managing the planet.
“The more plants you grow, the less water they have to use,” Kudlo says.
“The more nutrients you have to dig out of the soil, the fewer insects you have, and the better your soil and plant health.”
The researchers found that if people who lived in a garden had a garden, they actually had more plants per acre than those who lived without one.
“We wanted to test whether that was a function of garden design, rather than just having a garden with plants,” Kuddlow says.
The study found that people who live in a plant-free garden, like those in New York City, have more plants than people who do not have one.
They also have more land in a greenhouse, which is a lot more productive, than those in an open-air garden.
“People living in a natural environment that’s well-maintained are happier and healthier, and we don’t see that with the advent of artificial greenhouses,” KUDLO says.
The researchers also found that gardens in the United States were more environmentally friendly, too.
“Greenhouses are a very good thing,” Kunnlow says, “because they’re a lot easier to manage than open spaces, so you don,t have to worry about the environment as much.
They’re more productive.”
When it comes to the health of plants, the researchers found the same thing.
People living in open spaces had lower levels of stress and lower levels at the end of life.
“This suggests that you’re not just getting the benefit of gardening, but the health benefits of being healthy,” Kurnlo says, adding that the study was limited in that it only looked at people who had lived in their own homes for six months.
But Kudlows team is also studying whether there is a connection between health and healthful eating.
“I think we know from studies on the benefits that a lot of our nutrition comes from our food, and plants, and our food is really good at keeping us full,” she says.
That’s why the researchers are also trying to understand how plants affect our health and how they affect our mood.
“When people are eating healthily, they’re actually eating less,” Kurdlow says in a phone interview from her lab in Minneapolis.
“But we don,ve yet got a good answer to that question.”
For more information about the study, visit: https://www.nature.com/news/health-naked-gardening-and-nutrition/article/s0023-6108(18)60114-3/fulltext