What's Cooking on 1060: Gardening is good for your health

Hadas Kuznits
August 03, 2018 - 3:00 am
Nicole Juday Rhoads and Julianne Schrader Ortega

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

PHILADELPHIA(KYW Newsradio) -- August is peak summer harvest season -- and as folks pick their crops they're doing more good for their health than they even realize.

Julianna Schrader Ortega with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society says this is the best time of the year for gardeners.

"There are over 400 community gardens across the city," she said, "and everybody right now is harvesting delicious tomatoes and cucumbers, herbs, peppers."

Her colleague, Nicole Juday Rhoads, points to research indicating gardening is good for your health.  

"One study looked at the amount of fruits and vegetables people are eating," Rhoads said.

She says it turns out folks who garden eat more fruits and vegetables than those who don't garden -- but those who garden at community gardens eat the most servings of fruits and vegetables of all.

"It's surprising, because you think that if it's in your backyard, it's closer," she said. "It's a little bit more convenient, but it's the people who were gardening with other people that have better eating habits."

And Rhoads says recent studies have also shown gardening to have lasting effects on your mental health, too.

"There is something about gardening that we don't even know what it is that creates a sense of well being among people," she said.

And Philadelphia is an excellent gardening city. 

"Not every city has as many community gardens as Philadelphia does," Rhoads said. "We're lucky to have as many gardens, and if you imagine them gone I think we'd all feel like something was missing."

For more on the connection being gardening and well being, subscribe to the What's Cooking podcast on the radio.com app.