Why Gardening Is the Perfect Summer Hobby for Introverts

An introvert tends to her garden

Gardening is not just about caring for your plants. It’s also a way for you to take care of yourself and meet your needs as an introvert.

Summer is my favorite time of year. While fall and winter are ideal for introverts in many ways — pretty, peaceful, and perfect for staying in with a good book, a cozy blanket and a cat in your lap — there is just something about the warm sunshine, lush green landscape, and a dip in the pool or lake that brings me to life every year.

But my favorite thing about summer, by far, is my garden.

In fact, I’m convinced that gardening is the ultimate summer activity for any introvert. It offers something for everyone, and I’m here to make the case that every introvert can benefit from tending to a plant or two this season.   

Besides all the general benefits of gardening — it’s good for your health, for your local pollinators, and for your tastebuds (have you had a homegrown tomato? Unbelievable!) — I believe introverts are particularly well-suited to gardening for several reasons. In my opinion, it’s the perfect introvert-friendly activity.

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5 Reasons Why Gardening Is the Perfect Summer Hobby for Introverts

1. The garden is the perfect place to recharge and reflect.

Introverts need time alone to decompress and recharge — and there’s no better place to do that than among your peppers and pumpkins (or your poppies and peonies, if a flower garden is more your speed). Gardening is a naturally quiet activity that can be done solo, which makes it perfect for unplugging and stepping away to get the alone time your introverted soul needs.

Plus, many tasks in the garden, like weeding, pruning, and watering, are repetitive in nature — perfect for when you need to process information (which we introverts do deeply). In fact, research shows that the meditative nature of gardening is also relaxing and can help reduce stress, which is especially important for sensitive introverts who can get overwhelmed easily.

In short, gardening is the ideal activity to help you unwind after a long day spent in our noisy world — one of the things introverts need most to feel happy and fulfilled.

2. Gardening connects you to nature.

Nature is the ultimate elixir for introverts. Not only is it naturally calming and inspiring, but it has proven mental and physical health benefits. In fact, research shows that time spent in nature can aid our mental health and cognition. In addition, time spent outdoors has other benefits, too. It can help:

  • Combat symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce inflammation and stress
  • Improve vision, focus, and memory

There’s truly no better, or more hands-on, way to interact with nature than to plant a garden! When you have plants to tend to, you’re almost guaranteed to squeeze in a few minutes of outdoor time every day. It gives you a reason to step outside at least long enough to water your plants or check to see if those green strawberries have ripened yet.

One of my favorite side effects of gardening has been the joy of observing nature in action. There’s something incredibly rewarding about seeing those first tiny green sprouts break through the surface of the soil and grow into fully mature plants. And watching the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds buzz from one flower to the next somehow seems to shift the rest of life into perspective.

Nature recharges introverts. It’s medicine for the soul, especially for us quiet types with a particular gift for slowing down and appreciating the natural beauty around us.

3. It’s an outlet for creativity.

Many introverts are naturally creative, and the garden can be a wonderful place to express that. From choosing and arranging plants, to maximizing your garden space and coming up with innovative solutions to the problems that pop up, gardening is an art, as well as a science.

Gardening can be a way to help fulfill our innate need to create something beautiful. And while mother nature gets most of the credit, there is something incredibly satisfying about taking the raw materials — dirt, water, seeds, and sunlight — and combining them to create something that didn’t exist before.

If you practice another form of art, like drawing, painting, writing, music, or sculpting, you may find that gardening helps nurture and inspire that, too. As a photographer, I love photographing my garden and harvests. They’re some of my favorite subjects! Introverts often need alone time to be creative, and gardening is an ideal outlet for that. 

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4. It gives you a reason to connect meaningfully with other people.

While gardening is (or can be) a largely independent activity, it does create opportunities to connect with others on a deeper level — something that we introverts crave.

Whether it’s bonding with family members by getting them involved in the garden, connecting with other like-minded gardeners through a community garden or program, or even just sharing your harvest with curious friends and neighbors, the garden can bring people together in meaningful ways.

Gardening is an increasingly popular pastime, which means chances are good that many of your friends and acquaintances have an interest in gardening — or even a few plants of their own that they’d be more than happy to chat about. At the very least, it’s a great conversation-starter when you’re forced into those dreaded small talk conversations!

5. Gardening gets you out of your head and into the world.

We introverts tend to spend a lot of time in our heads. Our ability to think deeply and contemplate big, complex ideas is one of our greatest superpowers — but it also means we can have a tendency to overthink, worry, and ruminate.

When I get too caught up in my thoughts, I feel anxious, spacey, and disconnected. I’ve found that the best antidote when this happens is doing some sort of physical, tangible activity that gets me out of my head and makes me feel more grounded. And what could be better for grounding yourself than (literally) connecting with the earth? There’s just something about sinking my hands into the soil that can immediately bring me back to the present moment.

Gardening is a great way to practice mindfulness, take a break from your racing thoughts, and focus your energy outward, on the physical world. It helps you connect with all five senses:

  • The sights of lush green and brightly colored vegetables and flowers
  • The sounds of birds, insects, and other life that exists in the garden
  • The smells of fresh herbs, flowers, and freshly watered earth
  • The tactile sensations of the sun on your skin, cool dirt in your hands, and the textures of different plants as you harvest them
  • The tastes of fresh berries and peas straight off the vine

At the end of the day, gardening is an activity that allows you not only to tend to your plants, but also to tend to yourself — to reconnect with your most basic needs and nourish your introverted soul with all the good stuff it needs.

How to Get Started Gardening

If you’ve never gardened before, starting out might sound overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few basic tips to help you get started.

  • Start small. Don’t feel like you need to go all-out and carve out a huge patch of land for a big garden bed — you’d be surprised how much yield you can get in just a little space. Containers can be a great place to start, especially if you’re renting, or your space or sunlight is limited. A single potted plant on a sunny patio can produce dozens of tomatoes or peppers!
  • Shop for your zone. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what plants to buy and when. Your first step should be to figure out what growing zone you’re in and then look for varieties that grow well in your area (you can find this info on the back of seed packets or on the tags on your seedings). A local nursery can also help you select the best plants for your climate and the best time of year.
  • Don’t overthink it. Of course, you want to give your plants the best chance of survival, but I’ve found that nature is resilient! Many introverts can tend toward perfectionism, but use your garden as an opportunity to let that go. Do your best to follow the basic instructions for your plants when it comes to spacing, sunlight, and water requirements, but don’t be afraid to experiment even if conditions aren’t perfect. (For instance, our garden beds only get four to six hours of sun a day, but we’ve had great luck growing “full-sun” varieties of tomatoes and peppers that “require” double that amount of sunlight. They actually seem to appreciate the shade during the hottest days of the summer!)
  • “Listen” to your plants. This is another reason introverts make great gardeners — we excel at noticing subtle details. Trust yourself, follow your instincts, and pay attention to your garden. If something seems off with a plant, it may be that it needs more (or less) water or more (or less) sunlight. Again, don’t be afraid to stray from the package instructions and listen to your plants!
  • Be present. If you’re not careful, gardening can become just another chore on your to-do list. If it starts to become overwhelming, scale back! Gardening is meant to be relaxing and fun, and that only works if you’re mindful of your own feelings in the garden and truly use it to recharge your batteries.

At the end of the day, the most important requirements for any garden are a little bit of patience, thoughtfulness,and care. And who could be better suited to provide that than introverts like us?

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