Gardening is a great outdoor activity that many people across the country love, but it's usually saved for the warmer months. But the climate in Arizona is warmer than in most areas even in the winter, enabling green-thumbs to grow plants year-round. Although many plants don't thrive in the cold, there are a myriad of resilient plants that can be grown any time of year.
If you haven't grown a plant before, it can seem a little daunting, but many benefits come to those who put forth an effort. This blog post highlights how projects like gardening can help you manage anxiety and depression by engaging in activities that:
• Give your mind something to concentrate on other than anxieties
• Free your brain from the cycles of stress so it can ponder creative solutions or answers
• Help you make friends who can support you in the future during times of stress
• Offer a chance for you to help others, which can reduce you stress
Gardening checks all of these boxes. It also provides an opportunity to get some fresh air and experience the outdoors regularly, fosters care and patience over a period of several months and, if done well, can provide you with tasty home-grown vegetables to be enjoyed by you and your loved ones. Additionally, it promotes a healthier diet.
One of the best types to start with might be root vegetables. Root vegetables are winter-resistant and can still be grown in frozen ground. Vegetables like potatoes, onions, radishes and turnips mature well in pots, making them an ideal option for patios and balconies at the Bethesda Gardens assisted living community in Phoenix or other small living spaces. Here are some root veggies you might want to try growing.
Perhaps the most versatile vegetable, potatoes are high in starch and protein. They're also high in carbs, but they provide several grams of fiber on top of vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B6.
It's common to grow potatoes in buckets or pots as well as in a traditional garden. They are a perfect vegetable to grow on a porch or deck and can be used as a tasty addition to a dish.
Turnips are a great vegetable because both the bulb and the leaves are edible, making them healthy additions to your diet. Much lower in calories than a potato, turnips are an excellent source of vitamin C and also provide fiber, protein and calcium. The leaves are also packed with vitamin K, provitamin A and folate. If you love turnip greens, growing your own turnips can be a healthy option for a tasty and nutritious treat.
Another versatile vegetable, onions can be used to season an innumerable amount of dishes. A source of fiber and protein, onions have also been shown to reduce inflammation. Onions also offer vitamins C, B6 and B9 as well as potassium.
Onions are enjoyable raw, but if that's too strong of a flavor, they can be cooked in a variety of ways. You can deep fry them, roast them, grill them or sear them in a pan. Mix it up between white, red and yellow to experience the diverse flavors of each and marry them with complementary dishes.
If vegetables aren't your style, no worries. There are a variety of flowers you can grow if you want to add some color to your garden or windowsill. Some floral species grow very well in winter and can liven up a bland porch or garden. During wintertime, you can grow flowers that include:
• Winter jasmine
• Winter aconite
These flowers come in many sizes and colors including white, yellow, pink and red. For a longer list of winter flowers, click here.
If you're a tea-lover, try your hand at growing your own tea. Hot tea can be very healthy and a perfect drink for cold weather. Whether you're into fruit tea, herbal or a mix of both, growing your own tea offers a cheap and easy option for stocking up leaves to enjoy morning, noon or night.
If you want to grow indoors, mint leaves, lemon balm and chamomile are perfect options for pot gardens. If you'd like to take advantage of Phoenix's winter climate, try growing bee balm, lavender or rose in a place where they'll get decent sunlight.
If you decide to grow tea yourself, you may have to dry the leaves before you steep them to make tea. It isn't a difficult process if you use the country kitchen at Bethesda Gardens in Phoenix. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, wash and dry your leaves and bake them for two hours. Once they're dried, they should be ready to brew and enjoy.
For more info on growing tea, click here.