An Unexpected Benefit of Gardening

an entry by Peace Corps Fellow Tracey Goldner

I showed up at Kilgore’s Community Garden on Wednesday with a splitting headache. I’d been in class, interviewing people and then writing up articles for the Missourian since about 9 a.m. At 3 p.m., it seemed like I wouldn’t be able to make it out to the garden in the 80-degree heat and in that kind of condition. But, it wasn’t yet time to make a final decision.

Around 5:30 p.m., I wrapped up an article I was writing on napping and instead of heading to bed, I got into my car and drove up Providence. If Advil couldn’t kill the headache, I thought maybe pulling up some weeds would.

I arrived about 45 minutes late, but was glad to have made it. Liberty, the edible landscaping manager, and Ally and Kate, two other volunteers, greeted me with a wave. I grabbed a shovel and started pulling up Bermuda grass. We chatted and weeded and weeded and chatted.

I forgot about my headache and soon enough, it had dissipated. The pounding that had made it difficult to interview, take notes and write up articles for nearly the whole day, suddenly vanished.

It felt good to pull up the grass around the blueberry bushes. We were giving the bushes some breathing space and reducing the competition for water.

We also spent some time plucking peas and harvesting herbs. The scent of sage and oregano filled my nose as I created a few little herb bundles for the Nora Stewart Early Learning Center.

I learned a valuable lesson on Wednesday. Gardening relieves stress. And making life better for the plants also makes life better for our bodies.

As I drove off, headache-free, I was really glad to have spent my evening at the garden.

 

Kilgore’s Community Garden Volunteer Workdays are every Wednesday from 5pm to 7:30pm at 700 North Providence.  

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