Your Garden's Soil Is More Powerful Than You Think

The word's getting out! Your garden's soil truly has the power to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and make you happy!

Ask just about any gardener and they can tell you how important a garden’s soil is. The soil is where the plant roots find nourishment, like nitrogen, oxygen, water, and all the other nutrients they need to grow. If your soil is overplanted and depleted, your plants will have a difficult time growing. If the soil is too wet, too dry, too dense, or otherwise extreme in some way, all but a few conditionally-adapted plants will either grow poorly or wither and die.

Again, this is little surprise to most gardeners. Many of us also know how much the garden and the garden’s soil nourish us, too. We go to the garden to find peace, to work out our frustrations, to commune with nature, and to slow our fast-paced world down so we can breathe and have a moment to enjoy the beauty of a tulip bulb or the magic of an heirloom tomato.

What is sometimes surprising, though, is when the rest of the world has that “A-HA” moment and realizes how much we humans get from spending time with our garden’s soil on our hands and some new seeds between our fingers.

That’s the theme of today’s story. A website dedicated to political news wrote a short piece sharing with readers how “therapeutic” gardening is. While that may not be news to you and me, it is nice when the rest of the world catches up with us.

From Your Garden’s Soil to Your Garden’s Harvest, GreenPrints Has Stories About All of Them

This story comes from our archive spanning over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that imbue the joy of gardening into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy!

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Gardening is Great

By Leslie Turnbull

Soooo…I (Pat) get a daily email from The Week magazine touting articles on their website. Yesterday—it’s March 21 when I’m writing this—along with their standard political fare (“Trump calls Putin to ‘congratulate’ him on his win,” “The sad hysteria of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” etc.), they had an article titled, “Gardening is Great.”

Isn’t that amazing? Well, not really, because (as we all know) gardening is great. But it was truly great to see some political website acknowledge this. They did a good job, too. Here’s just one tidbit:

We know regular gardening reduces stress hormones. Spending time tending and harvesting a garden can also reduce anxiety and depression. Just try this: Next time you get home from a particularly tough day at the office … or when you’re just feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of everyday life in general … spend 15 minutes getting your hands a little dirty. Sort through a packet of seeds. Read the directions. Pat some soil into little pots. Carefully plant your seeds and water them. Find a perfect spot to place them, depending on their requirements for sun and/or shade. Enjoy the simplicity of the activity, as well as the idea that doing something so easy … so devoid of pressure and insecurity…has the possibility to yield remarkable results.

This is therapeutic gardening, and it works.

By Leslie Turnbull at, published originally in 2018, in GreenPrints Issue #114. Illustrated by Catherine Straus.

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What do you love about gardening that the rest of the world “discovers” every now and then? I’d love to read about them in the comments. 


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