MHLbannersmallAs part of your monthly My Healthy Lifestyle newsletter, you'll have a chance to take advantage of some healthy tips from fellow employees. This month a Riverside team member offers insight into the therapeutic benefits of gardening.

The real value of getting your hands dirty with spring planting

Now that our last frost is just a memory, this is the time of the year when I start transferring my small plants, mostly herbs and flowering plants at this point, to the outside. Over the years I've learned firsthand different things about gardening ranging from what grows best in our southeastern Virginia climate – and you might be surprised – to the least expensive potting soils that still seem to do a good job.

hands in the dirtBut just about all that kind of information is available in magazines or online. What really matters to me, even more than the money I save (compare the cost of basil seeds to packaged basil in the store) or how good my heirloom tomatoes taste, is the enjoyment I
get just from putting my hands in the dirt.

I'm sure there have been studies done on the therapeutic effects of gardening but I don't need to see them to know what a stress buster it can be. And in my own experience based on different places where my family and I have lived, the feeling of relaxation and contentment that I get with growing flowers, herbs and vegetables has included everything from small gardens to flower pots and herb boxes.

So this is the time to start getting everything together and even if you're afraid of ending up with too much zucchini like I usually do, take advantage of the spring weather and get your hands dirty.


If you have a health and wellness suggestion that other people can use, please send it to Daniel Ballin at