Now is the perfect time to Stay at Home and Garden. Take advantage of the Stay at Home (and Safer at Home) directives during the COVID-19 pandemic—and get busy gardening! Use this time at home to raise nutritious and delicious vegetables your family can help plant, tend and enjoy eating.
Why should you Stay at Home and Garden? Research supports the health benefits of gardening. The simple fact is that gardening is good for your physical and mental well-being. Gardening burns calories, strengthens muscles and improves flexibility. Spending time in the garden and nature improves our mood, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and helps us focus.
And “playing in the dirt” really is good for you. Scientists made a positive connection between soil microbes and human health. They found Mycobacterium vaccae in the soil worked as an antidepressant, increased cognitive ability, lowered stress and improved concentration. Plus, when you stay at home and garden, you just feel better!
Enjoy this time to Stay at Home and Garden
The key to success in gardening is just getting started. Gather your family and get busy planning this year’s garden. Get everyone involved. If everyone helps plan the garden, then the whole family is more likely to eat the harvest. Who knows, they may even be motivated to pull a few weeds!
Start with your family’s favorite vegetables and salad greens. Tomatoes, peppers, melons, broccoli and any vegetable that you eat the flowers and fruit produce best when grown in a full day of sunlight. Root crops like radishes and beets, and greens like lettuce and spinach, prefer full sun but can get by with just 4 to 6 hours.
Don’t worry if your garden space is limited. You can grow tomatoes, peppers, greens, radishes, carrots and more in pots and sub-irrigated containers. Even if you have a large garden, you may want to grow a few of your frequently used herbs and vegetables in pots outside your kitchen door. Keeping them close at hand makes it easier to include them in your meals.
And add a few flowers to your gardens and containers. They help attract the pollinators many of our vegetables need to produce fruit. Plus, it is fun to watch the hummingbirds, butterflies and bees stop by for a sip of nectar.
Join the Stay at Home and Garden Movement
So, consider joining the Stay at Home and Garden Initiative launched by my friend Pat Stone. As founder and editor of GreenPrints magazine, he has launched the Stay at Home and Garden Initiative. He is encouraging Americans to honor state and national “stay-at- home” guidelines by gardening in our backyards and on our decks and patios. This initiative is GreenPrints’ way of “contributing to the health and well-being of everyone who has been affected by the biggest health crisis in a century”.
To show your support of the Stay at Home and Garden initiative, copy the graphic at the top of this story. Then post it on your social media pages including Facebook and Instagram.
And if you need a bit of gardening inspiration, check out GreenPrints magazine. It’s filled with stories about gardening by new and experienced gardeners. It is not a how-to magazine. GreenPrints is packed with funny and inspiring stories about the human side of gardening.
So, get busy planning and planting for a season of fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers. For more information about starting a vegetable garden, read How to Start a Victory Garden 2.0.