Whether you have a green thumb or not, this could be the perfect time to start a garden. Research suggests that gardening may offer benefits to both our physical and mental well-being. With the current recommendations for both kids and adults to avoid going out to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we all need more home based activities. Gardening is something for all ages and skill levels that doesn’t rely on screen time. If you are new to gardening, here are some tips to get you started:
- Evaluate your space. Gardening can be small, large and anywhere in between. If you live in an apartment, check out which windows offer the most sun throughout the day. If you are in a house, check for both indoor and outdoor spaces with good sun and room for plants.
- Figure out which zone you live in. You can enter your zip code into this interactive map from the USDA to determine your zone. Knowing your zone will help you know which plants will do best in your area.
- Grow things you like! If your garden does well, you won’t want the bounty to go to waste.
- Check out kidsgardening.org. Don’t let the name fool you. They have great resources for kids, but the site is helpful for adults who are new to gardening too.
- If you do have kids, involve them. The team at KidsGardening has put together a list of easy parent and kid gardening activities. They also have lesson plans that help you bring science, math and nutrition concepts to life through gardening.
- It’s okay to cheat a little. Waiting for seeds to germinate can be a long process. While a lesson in patience is probably good for all of us, starting with seedlings is a great way to jump start your garden with something green that you can see right away.
- Have reasonable expectations. If you are new to gardening, you might want to start small with a few plants in containers. As your knowledge and skills increase you can expand to a raised bed garden or something larger.
- Soga, Masashi et al. “Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis.” Preventive medicine reports vol. 5 92-99. 14 Nov. 2016, doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.11.007