There’s increasing evidence that exposure to plants and green space, and particularly to gardening, is beneficial to mental and physical health. Gardening may help reduce stress, fear, anger and sadness, as well as reducing blood pressure, pulse rate and muscle tension.

Those of us who dabble in gardening know that planting a seed in a pot and watching it survive and thrive, or watching a plant grow, produce flowers and attract bees and butterflies, or growing fruit or vegetables and eating that produce, gives a sense of satisfaction that is hard to beat.

We've got some tips on how to get into gardening – even with the tiniest of green spaces.

Gardens can be anywhere and everywhere

The thought of getting into gardening can be a bit daunting - so it might help to remember that gardens can be created just about any size and they can be created just about anywhere - by the front door, on steps, balconies, on a rooftop or in the backyard - or you can work in community gardens or allotments.

Take it easy at first!

For those of us who haven’t been all that active for a while, remember to take it easy at first. Gardening can involve lifting, stretching, bending and carrying – all good for you, if done properly and within your current physical capacity.


Start Indoors.

If gardening sounds a bit daunting, why not start with some indoor plants? Many are quite low maintenance, so it’s easy to learn how to look after them. There’s lots of advice online, so start with something small and manageable, and you’ll have learnt loads before you know it. See if anyone you know has some spare cuttings, or try growing tropical houseplants from kitchen scraps such as avocado seeds and pineapple tops, or create a sensory herb garden with basil, parsley, mint and chives on the windowsill, using empty tin cans. 

Now get out there!

Once you’ve got to grips with the basics by learning to care for plants indoors, you could start to grow things outdoors. If you haven’t got a garden, why not try a few herbs in a window box or on a balcony?  You can recycle an old crate, or a drawer – paint the outside in a vibrant colour, and give the bottom some drainage holes. Drill these in, if you need to.

Join in.

If you don’t have anywhere you can garden at home, or it’s the social side of gardening you’re after, why not join your local community gardening group? For example, Heeley City Farm organise community gardening sessions in various venues around Sheffield. All sessions are open to all and you can do as little or as much as you like, no experience necessary and all equipment is provided.


Ready to start your own garden?

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) recommend that you get to know your garden first. Spend some time out there, thinking about what you want from your garden and finding out what type of soil you have. Do you want to attract lots of wildlife? Where would you like to sit and relax? 

Maybe treat yourself to a gardening book? Sheffield Libraries have a great selection of books about growing plants, vegetables and fruit, designing your garden and container gardening for small spaces. Or, you could do some research online and watch some TV gardening programmes.

Think about what basic equipment and resources you might need. The RHS have advice on what soil is best for the environment and you'll probably need a trowel. 

And then when you’re ready– the adventure begins!