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Gardening is Good for You

In the June 2004 Reader’s Digest magazine article titled, “Healing Powers of Gardening” by Jennifer Matlock, the following observations were made:
·         Gardening reduces stress:"Checking on the size of my cucumbers, picking a ripe tomato, even turning my compost relieves tension and can head off a migraine."

·         Gardening is good for your bones:"In a 2002 study of 3,310 women, University of Arkansas scientists found that strenuous yard work (pushing a lawn mower, pulling weeds) had the same beneficial effect on bone density as weight training did."

·         Gardening is good for your heart:"In 2000, researchers in Denmark reported that moderate exercise such as gardening decreased the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day.

·         Gardening is good for your mind:"Exercising mind and body has been proved to reduce dementia risk. Gardening does both. It's an excellent mental workout that requires planning and foresight and encourages learning, says neuropsychologist Paul Nussbaum."

·         Gardening is good for your blood sugar levels:"A 2002 Dutch study found that male gardeners were more likely to have lower blood sugar levels. And a University of Alabama study of 505 men and women with Type 2 diabetes found that active people, including those who gardened regularly, reduced or eliminated their need for medication."

·         Gardening is good for your weight program:"A 150-pound person burns 162 calories pruning, digging or weeding for 30 minutes." She also says that kids benefit from gardening because it lures them away from a sedentary lifestyle and teaches them about biology and nutrition.  A recent Texas A&M study found kids who gardened 30 minutes a week were more likely to eat vegetables.
Timely Tips for January/February
By Marie Anderson, USU Extension, Utah County
1.      Clean and store garden tools. Cleaning, sharpening or oiling garden tools before storing them will ensure a long life and years of use.
2.      Try not to spread any salted snow onto your garden or lawn; salt can damage soil.
3.      January is a great time to look through your garden/seed catalogs and order seeds. You can be sure to have them in plenty of time to start a spring garden. 
4.      Review your 2008 garden and make plans for your 2009 garden. Keep a garden journal. It's a great way to remember what, where and when you planted as well as fertilized and water. 
5.      Inventory fertilizers and chemicals. Make sure they are properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place. 
6.      Start planning now to prune trees and shrubs after the harshest part of winter is over, usually towards the end of February. Call the Extension Office about our Fruit Tree Pruning demonstration. 
7.      Another way to enjoy the winter months is to grow houseplant and windowsill gardens. To properly grow plants indoors, choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. 
8.      Snow and ice accumulation on trees and shrubs can cause damage. Gently brush off snow on evergreens but don't shake the branches since this may cause them to break. If the snow is frozen, it's best to let it melt on its own. Trim any broken limbs because a tree is better able to heal the break if there are no ragged tears. 

9.      Insects can be a nuisance when they come in the house along with your firewood. Store outside until ready to use. 


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