With the closure of parks and beaches along with regulations urging people to stay home, connecting with nature has become more challenging in the past weeks. Since spending time in nature has immense benefits on mood and immune function, adapting to the current circumstances and getting creative in finding ways to maintain a connection with plants is vital at this time.
Gardening is a fantastic way of connecting with plants that also offers incredible health and culinary benefits. Tending to plants and watching them grow provides a unique experience of connecting with nature in a socially distant way. Growing a vegetable garden has immense health benefits for both the body and mind. The enhanced dietary nutrition that is facilitated with easy access to abundant vegetables is beneficial for immune function, digestion, mood, and overall health.
Connecting with plants outdoors promotes exercise and body movement in a way that encourages strengthening and stretching of different muscles that might remain inactive otherwise. These benefits are not limited to vegetable gardening, and can also be achieved through activities such as tending to flower beds, pruning trees or hedges, or even mowing the lawn or weeding.
With the closure of many restaurants and limited access to food delivery, many people are cooking at home for themselves more often. Having fresh organic produce available from a home vegetable garden provides immense potential for enhancing the variety and flavour of meals.
Connecting with nature has enormous benefits on mental health and wellness. The act of gardening has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood, likely from a combination of spending time moving outside while being mindful of plants, in addition to improved nutrition. It’s a wonderful method of becoming present with oneself in the moment and temporarily leaving worries behind while focusing on the plants in front of you. In a time where everyone is coping with various emotions in different ways, actively selecting activities that reduce stress along with fostering overall health and wellness is incredibly important.
For those who are fortunate to have an outdoor space, now is an ideal time to start a vegetable garden. For those without that luxury, there are methods of bringing nature inside. One option is ordering several houseplants, which create an indoor connection with nature. Additionally, microgreens are small edible plants that grow quickly and easily in a sunny window, and can be added to home-cooked meals.
Below are some resources to assist in getting started with the ideal garden for you.
- Love Apple Farms in Scott’s Valley: currently accepting online orders and appointment-based pickup for a variety of vegetable starts at https://www.growbetterveggies.com/
- Payless Hardware-Rockery-Nursery in San Jose: currently accepting orders for pick-up. Phone: 408-274-7815. Website: https://www.paylesshardwareandrockery.com/
- Summer Winds Nursery in Campbell: currently accepting orders for deliver or pick-up. Phone: 408-866-0171. Website: https://shop.summerwindsnursery.com/
- San Lorenzo Garden Center in Santa Cruz: currently accepting orders for pick-up. Phone: 831-423-0223. Website: http://sanlorenzolumber.com/garden-center/
- True Leaf Market: currently accepting online orders for vegetable and microgreen seeds at https://www.trueleafmarket.com/
- Johnny’s Seeds: expected to accept online orders for non-commercial growers as of April 28, 2020 at https://www.johnnyseeds.com/