In times of crisis, we naturally seek out ways to ease our psychological and physical stress. Gardeners around the world have known the mental health benefits of tending plants for decades. Now, however, scientists are proving it. And, with our current need for distancing, gardening provides the perfect solution for getting outdoors, keeping busy, accomplishing tasks, and staying productive. And hey, you may even get some delicious vegetables in the process.
The Healing Power of the Garden
The process of planning, planting, nurturing, and observing, watching something grow from seed to maturity, is outside the realm of most people's lives nowadays. We go to the store, buy our veggies, and don't think anything of it. But, doing it yourself, watching that teeny seed grow with your care, is precious and priceless. Sure, it takes more effort than stopping at the grocery store, but that tomato grew through your own efforts and will taste all the sweeter for it. Besides, going to the grocery store isn't all that enticing anymore. Going out to the garden for a tomato is a much brighter prospect.
A garden's healing power isn't just anecdotal. Studies show growing plants reduces anxiety, eases stress, reduces anger, decreases depressive episodes, gives greater overall happiness, reduces PTSD symptoms, and improves self-esteem. That's a lot!
Gardening gives purpose and provides an outlet for keeping hands and minds busy, which is especially important when faced with overwhelming stress.
You Don't Need a Giant Yard to Grow a Garden
Urban or rural, or somewhere in-between, it doesn't matter. You can grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers wherever you live. There is the classic garden plot in the backyard, which is wonderful if you have space. Plants can also grow in containers on decks, balconies, walkways, roofs, and indoor windowsills. Hang tomato plants upside down from the balcony. Train peas to grow up a trellis along the side of your building. Grow lettuce, kale, and chard on the front porch. All space holds potential for plant growth. Inspiration abounds, get creative, and brighten up your space with colorful flowers, delicious vegetables, and striking succulents.
How to Start a Garden
If you're new to gardening, the prospect may seem overwhelming. There is so much to learn, and each vegetable, flower, and plant is unique with specific needs. It's okay; we all were here at one point, just learning and making mistakes along the way. You don't need to start an enormous garden and be successful all at once. Start small, plant a few seeds, or buy a few plants from the local garden center. Learn about those, and move on from there.
The experts at The Old Farmer's Almanac and Gardener's Supply are great resources to learn more about vegetable container gardening. If you've never cared for a plant in your life, or struggle to keep plants alive, try starting with a succulent. Cacti and succulents have minimal needs and are quite forgiving to an overwhelmed caretaker. A few flowers placed around your living space will improve quality of life exponentially.
Seeds To Get You StartedVegetables
Amana Orange Tomatoes
Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch Kale
Spicy Salad Microgreens
Tendergreen Bush Beans
Buttercrunch Butterhead Lettuce
Cosmos Sulphur Dwarf Lemon Yellow
Mikado Poppy Seeds
Triple Curled Parsley
Mammoth Long Island Dill