Home April 8, 2024

Gardening Benefits & What to Plant in Zone 8b

It’s that time of year when sunny days are becoming more frequent. Now is the time to get outdoors and start gardening! Gardening can benefit you in many ways, some of which we’ve highlighted below. Not sure what to plant here in zone 8b? Read on to learn more about that too.

Why Garden?

You might be wondering: what’s the point of gardening? Why should I invest so much time and money into a hobby that results in some fruits and vegetables? Actually, there are many health benefits associated with gardening, as well as many environmental benefits.

Health Benefits

There are mental and physical benefits to gardening. In regards to mental health, gardening can decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, gardening can help reduce your stress levels. In fact, it has even been used in addiction rehabilitation programs. Studies have shown it can provoke positive feelings in patients, and it has correlated with program completion rates.

Physically, gardening is a great way to exercise and move your body. Additionally, gardeners experience the benefits of increased vitamin D. If you are part of a community garden, you can also reap the benefits associated with social gardening for overall improved health.

Environmental Benefits

Sustainable gardening is gaining traction and popularity in the gardening world. This form of gardening emphasizes organic practices and resource conservation. Gardeners can create nutrient-dense soil, use water conservation strategies, and help build a habitat that supports birds, insects, and pollinators.

By carefully selecting plants and materials to use, the home gardener can play a pivotal role in improving our climate. Check out this comprehensive list of sustainable gardening practices to get started.

What to Plant in Zone 8b

The USDA developed a Plant Hardiness Zone Map to help gardeners determine what to plant and when for the greatest chance of plant survival. Bainbridge Island, and more broadly, Kitsap County, is a part of Zone 8b. By following the suggested planting calendar, your odds of growing a successful garden increase greatly.

April, May, and June are great times to plant asparagus, bok choy, lettuce, melons, herbs, and more. You can also check out this easy-to-reference Zone 8 Planting Schedule.

Pro Gardening Tips

Proper soil conditions are essential for a garden to thrive. First, ensure the bed is clear of rocks and debris, loosen the soil, and add some compost. A soil test is a great resource for understanding the soil’s makeup and pH levels. Next, choose your seeds or plant starts, noting the time of year to plant them based on zone hardiness.

Keep the planting bed clear of debris, and ensure plants have enough sunlight and water. Finally, make sure you’re doing what you can to attract pollinators. You can download this guide to selecting plants for pollinators. Additionally, check out this article for tips on pest control in the garden specific to the Pacific Northwest.

Additional Resources

Bainbridge Island has an amazing gardening support system in person and online. Check out Bainbridge Gardens’ website, stop by their shop, or read our interview with them for some quick, easy-to-apply tips.

Whether this is your first or fiftieth time planting a garden, take the time to appreciate the many benefits. We wish you a gardening season filled with beautiful flowers and a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables.