Gardening Tips


Gardening Tips – April 2020

Tomatoes in a large garden pot

Garden Therapy

I need not say more about the trying times we are experiencing in the world and more importantly in our own communities. In these stressful times, many of us including myself need turn to other ways to relieve anxiety, boredom and to cope. Cabin fever is a real thing and of course the best answer I can give or come up with is to garden. Many of you may say, “I don’t have the time or money right now!” “After this is over maybe I’ll do something!” Now is the best time. Some of us still continue to work during this crisis, others are unable to work which adds even more stress. I say garden, to your hearts content.

It is reported in 500 BC the Persians were creating gardens for beauty, fragrance, music (flowing water) and cooling temperatures. One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush, the father of psychiatry, was first to document the positive effects working in the garden had on individuals with mental Illness. Working in a garden is good exercise, helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, socialization and decreases stress.

Some the of us have been fortunate enough to inhabit large enough planting spaces and yards to indulge in our gardening pleasures. but don’t let that stop you. If you have just a porch or deck or small landing, a clear spot next to your door or even a window sill with at least four hours of sunlight, you can grow something. Start small with one plant that you like. Use a small or large pot or something else creative as a container. As long it has holes for water to drain out of the container. When gardening in a container use potting soil as it is light in weight, in ground gardens may need amendments such as organic matter, compost humus or garden soil.

Gardening has a way of consuming you, once you get something to grow, you might get hooked. Many garden and home centers continue to be operating right now. Privately owned and small garden spots could certainly use our business. Look for warm season plants at this time as well as what’s in stock. If you are not a flower lover, vegetable gardening is the way to go. Any vegetable can be planted in a pot. Consider mixing flowers and vegetables in the same garden or pot. Always read the plant labels for plant care and growing requirements. Growing plants in plastic is the easiest and cheapest way to go. Potted plants do need to be watered more than in ground plants as their roots are more restricted. Make sure there is a drainage hole in the planters or pots, if none, drill some. As in any situation, use garden gloves and always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after planting in soils.

For more information on gardening, how to get started and some plant lists to get growing, go online at lsuagcenter.com. Go to Lawn & Garden and search from there. Check out the Super Plants lists. Choose warm season plants right now and shrubs. See the vegetable planting guide for what and when to plant edibles. Also look for other publications including how to prepare a garden for planting. Who knows, you might become hooked on gardening!

By Karen Blackburn