Whew child…. It’s pretty bonkers out there right now! So many people are stuck at home right now feeling afraid, anxious, stressed, powerless, and bored. With the current state of the world, I think it’s the right time for us all to brush up with our relationship to plants and get cozy with some new lovely, leafy plant babies.
Here’s why we should all start a garden NOW:
During this crazy, difficult, and scary time, working with plants is a way that we can brighten our days, clear our heads, and make room for some happiness in our hearts.
There is a form of therapy called “horticulture therapy,” and by working with plants, you can reap the therapeutic benefits of a relationships with our green leafy friends.
Horticulture therapy: a widely used therapeutic modality used in rehabilitative, vocational, and community settings.
Dr. Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence and the “Father of American Psychiatry” was first to document positive effect of gardening on those with mental illness.
Whether indoors or outdoors, ornamental or edible, starting a garden for yourself is one of the best forms of medicine. Starting some seeds or adopting a new plant baby can do wonders for our mental health.
This crazy, difficult, and scary time has also left most of us feeling powerless. Grocery store shelves are empty in a way we’ve never experienced. Our once-cozy homes begin to feel like lifeless prisons without access to “outside.”
Starting a garden offers self-empowerment.
Growing even a little of your own food gives you back a sense of control. Creating a green space within your own home gives you a sense of groundedness (and literally helps create fresh air!) The fight we are in is one against a health pandemic, but the old government wartime mandate to “grow a victory garden” still applies. We should all get growing in one way or another. By nurturing a plant or two (or 10 or 50) we can take back our personal power and in turn nurture our bodies, hearts, and minds.
Convinced to get growing yet? Well here’s another added benefit to getting your garden started now: it’s a new skill! On top of the stress relief and empowerment you receive by working with plants, just by participating in this new hobby, you’re learning a skill that will be with you forever!
Connecting with plants, no matter if they’re purely decorative or if they’re adorning your dinner plate, will help you have a sense of confidence.
Many times we avoid taking on new hobbies or trying new things because we’re too busy or too afraid to fail. Well why not now? With the extra “free time” we have, engaging in plants as a hobby is truly a new skill that will pay for itself in food, homegrown bouquets, fresh air, and a beautiful living environment. (Too many plants? NEVER!)
Here are my top tips for newbie plant parents:
LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT!
When we grow indoors, we don’t have the advantage of full sun. Even through sunny windows, the light is still filtered and less potent.
Make sure you either:
- choose the right plant for the light conditions you have
- buy a supplemental light to match the needs of the plants you want to grow.
For example, if you want to grow a golden pothos houseplant, you can keep it in medium to low light conditions and it will thrive just fine. If your aim is to grow tomatoes or carrots? That’s the time to invest in a really good supplemental light. When you buy seed packets or are adopting a new plant baby, check the tag for its light requirements.
*If you don’t see the information clearly listed, a Google search will give you the answer you need!*
How much space do you have to grow? Does it get full sun or is it shady? If you’re growing ornamentals outdoors, it’s fairly easy to find plants at a local nursery. They’re usually divided into sections labeled “SUN” and “SHADE.” Simply shop in the sections which correspond to your sunlight category and buy as many plants as will fit in the space.
If you’re growing edible plants, it can be slightly more confusing for many people.
Here’s a good rule of (green) thumb:
Growing for leaves? Part sun is all you need.
Roots and fruits? Full sun gives you the loot.
If you’re growing herbs or leafy salad greens, you can get away with a shadier space. In fact, leafy greens really prefer to be cooler so afternoon shade can be helpful in the hottest times of year. If you’re growing root veggies like carrots, beets, or radishes, or fruiting plants like tomatoes, zucchini, or peppers, you’ll need to grow in full sun for the best results.
If you have limited space and want to grow a decent amount of your own food, stick with veggies that offer more calories (like beans and potatoes) and plants that allow you to harvest over and over again and can grow vertically (like tomatoes and cucumbers).
Both Indoors and Outdoors:
Here’s the dirt on soil: It’s not just dirt. It’s a living, breathing, active, VERY important element in your garden. Without good soil, your garden will not thrive. Good soil is full of microorganisms that do things like break down organic matter and help plant roots absorb nutrients from the soil. (Did you know that in one handful of healthy soil there are over 100 billion microorganisms?) Both indoors and outdoors, without high-quality soil your plants will struggle with pests, disease, and lack of production. It is worth the time and investment to get the best soil you can find.
*Organilock is the ONLY soil and soil amendment I use for both myself and my clients and it’s great for indoor/outdoor and both ornamental/edible growing.*
You have to start where you are to get where you’re going…
Let’s help each other get growing and bloom exactly where we’re planted.
one garden at a time.