I was rather surprised when I came across a book from 1910 in public domain today. This book seems as though it could have been written yesterday when describing the benefits and need of gardening for all people no matter where they live or what their profession is. It would seem that many of the concerns we have with unhealthy eating, poor exercise and a need for a relief of stress was also a concern in 1910. Hard to believe it could even compare but after reading this chapter of “Gardening for health and recreation; a booklet of information about gardening for busy men and women” it would seem to be the case. Give it a read and let me know what you think.
“Gardening for health and recreation; a booklet of information about gardening for busy men and women”
[Excerpt] The advantages of gardening as a source of health, recreation and profit are being recognized more and more every year. It has been taken up by clever and capable people as a livelihood, and shown to be extremely profitable.
The up-to date farmer recognizes its value as a profitable adjunct to more extensive operations.
Thousands who have been compelled by ill health to give active business life have been restored to strength and self-support by contact with the bountiful earth.
The wonderful results thus obtainable are now too well to be questioned anywhere.
But there is another vast field open for gardening, the development of which is still in its infancy.
It possesses wonderful and largely unrealized possibilities for busy men and women who dwell in towns and cities or their suburbs – who live, in the main, sedentary lives with little time for recreation.
Many persons so situated are deterred from taking up gardening by the fear that it will necessitate too much hard work, or a large amount of land or expense.
Nothing need be farther from the truth. In fact, no hobby or recreation returns a larger interest in proportion to the original investment.
With proper care, vegetables and flowers more than repay any outlay on seed, plants, fertilizer, tools or other accessories.
A large piece of ground is not needed. In fact, some are discouraged simply because they plant a much larger area than they need to supply their wants.
A small garden will yield a surprising wealth of fruit and blossom, and be all the easier to care for. It is not hard work, but regular and systematic work, that brings the results, both in the yield and in the health and happiness of the owner.
A half-hour in the early morning or the long spring and summer twilight may actually result in adding years to a man’s life. There is no question of the fact that many owe complete restoration from a serious, if not critical, physical condition, to the fact that they took up gardening.
No medicine can equal the tonic of fresh air and vigorous exercise in the garden of the greatest of all physicians – Mother Nature.
There is subtle but real influences in the soil,that give blood and vigor to its votaries.
It is well recognized that outdoor exercise is far superior to indoor exercise. Also, that exercise must be thoroughly enjoyed to be truly beneficial.
Here gardening is surely second to none; for it leads one into ever growing perception of beauty, the study of new plants, new methods and new appreciation of the world of growing things.
More than this, gardening brings immediate and visible rewards. The gardener sees the product of his toil growing under his hand, from day to day and month to month.
He has the perfect rose of his own culture to exhibit to his friends. He has the satisfaction of tasting his own melons – and the keen appetite to appreciate them.
He sees, as he never saw before, the clothing of the earth in vernal green, the wealth of summer’s fruit and flowers, the glory of the scarlet and gold of autumn.
Though immersed in mercantile or professional life, the lover of flowers and vegetables carries about with him all day a bit of the blue sky and the green leaves, with maybe a snatch of song-sparrow or a cheerful note from the robin.
The vision helps wonderfully to smooth out some of the rough places, it gradually does away with care, worry and irritation.
From the vacant lots and backyards of cities to the farms of the open country, every summer witnesses a transformation of ugly surroundings into things of beauty.
How much greater are the possibilities of intelligent development of one’s own opportunities at home – where the lawns, shrubbery and garden can be utilized for decoration of truly artistic value.
It would seem that gardening has been a long time answer to the struggles of people everywhere and of earlier times. The reasons this book gives in this chapter are some of the very same reasons I would give someone today in support of them starting a garden. I was really surprised by the notion of urban gardening in 1910 as well. If these things were true in 1910, how much more are they applicable to today’s society?
If you want to read more of this book it can be downloaded here: https://archive.org/details/gardeningforheal00amer – I suggest you give it a read. It’s a small book full of useful information. Then get out there and plant something. It will change your life!