The community garden at the University of Wollongong will be bustling today as green thumbs dig in for wellness.
The UOW Wellbeing program will conduct a DIY gardening workshop at the Building 25 Balcony Gardening.
The program aims to help students develop long-term friendships, learn a new skill, and forget their worries.
UOW Wellbeing student leader Aylin Basoglu has coordinated the said gardening is good for your health.
“It’s easy, it’s interactive, and it’s fun. What the best part about it is that it’s ‘no-dig’, so it’s also convenient, “ she said.
Ms Basloglu said community gardens are in moderate supply in the Illawarra, but the demand for fresh produce continues to grow.
“The reason we’re even hosting the balcony gardening is because there are a lot of people here living in campus accommodation and just in general people with strict landlords, don’t have a lot of options to plant things,” she said.
While gardening may not be every person’s idea for stress release, many find relief in the leisurely hobby.
“Every person is different. Some prefer reading; some prefer boxing. I like gardening,” Ms Basloglu said.
A Journal of Health Psychology study revealed after 30 minutes of gardening, salivary cortisol, a stress hormone contained in saliva, had returned to normal levels in subjects.
“One of the top 10 contributions to making people feel better is nature. Just that connection with nature really helps alleviate stress and anxiety,” Ms Basloglu said.
UOW student and PASS Leader Trang Dao has attended the workshop regularly since its start in 2013.
“After attending the workshop we were able to bring our plants home which is a great start to our collection of plants, so in that way they encouraged us to start planting more,” Trang said.
Trang said gardening has become part of everyday life.
“I feel really relaxed when I garden, it’s also really motivating and satisfying to see the changes in your plants.”
The program has received positive feedback from participants.
“The people at wellbeing are really helpful and friendly and show you step by step how to grow your own plants and even give us brochures to take home for a guide for how to take care of them,” Trang said.
Regional food co-op Greenbox coordinator Rachel Ross supports balcony gardening and claimed the health benefits stretch beyond the initial physical activity.
“Inorganic foods are depleted [sic] with pesticides and chemicals. It’s a given that when you grow your own fruits and veggies they’re going to be higher in nutrients and make you feel a lot better overall,” she said.
“Some of our suppliers grow food like herbs and lemongrass in their own backyards, so yeah – we’re supportive of anyone trying to grow their own produce.”
For more information on balcony gardening and other DIY workshops, visit UOW Wellbeing.