COVID-19 Lessons from the Garden
with Barbara Leach, Horticulture Technician
These times are unlike anything in recent history and have challenged us to reevaluate and reinvent ourselves. Those of us who are already gardeners have taken refuge there, learned some lessons, and used our land as a way to get grounded in new ways. Here are some of the things my garden is reminding or teaching me. If you are reading this in print, go to www.ext.vt.edu and use these topics to search within the site. If you are reading electronically, follow the links:
Anyone can garden. A garden can exist anywhere there is enough light and water and some sort of a growing medium, whether that be soil or nutrient-rich water. It can be in or on the ground, raised, vertical, hanging or anywhere we can physically access it, inside or out. It can be done on a shoestring or elaborately. It is always teaching you; you don’t have to know it all to start. Value of Landscaping- http://digitalpubs.ext.vt.edu/vcedigitalpubs/2758859256196257/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=1#pg1 Raised beds and containers-https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/426/426-020/426-020.pdf Vertical Gardens- https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/HORT/HORT-189/HORT-189-pdf.pdf Home Hydroponics- https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/426/426-084/426-084_pdf.pdf
A garden can be any size. Whether you have just a patio, a windowsill, or acreage, anyone can plant. Planning the Garden- https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/426/426-312/426-312-PDF.pdf Soil Preparation- http://digitalpubs.ext.vt.edu/vcedigitalpubs/2443868817636289/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=1#pg1
Our natural resources are not without end. Respect and preserve them. We learn a new sense of place. Water-wise Landscape- https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/426/426-713/426-713_pdf.pdf Healthy Soil- https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/426/426-711/426-711_HORT-244Pv2.pdf
A garden will teach us to care and have patience. Nurturing, caring for our Earth, planning for the future, dreaming of something better, taking care of ourselves, and sharing do not always come easy to us. A garden turns our mind to these things and gives us a new sense of self-worth. It lifts our spirits and shows us how to be better care-givers. Caring Strategies to Guide Children- https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/350/350-054/350-054(FCS-132P).pdf Why Children Misbehave- https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/350/350-112/350-112(FCS-132P).pdf
A garden can feed us. A garden can feed both the body and soul. Whether you have a traditional garden or simply grow a few greens amongst your ornamental plants, a garden can give you some food security. You know what went into it, where and how it is processed, and it is accessible when you need it, without leaving home. Home Vegetable (and Fruit) Gardening- https://ext.vt.edu/lawn-garden/home-vegetables.html
A garden sets a different pace in life. A quote by an author unknown to me is, “An hour in the garden puts life’s problems in perspective.” I think that kind of says it all.
There are many things we can learn by being in a garden. The sunshine and fresh air invigorates us. The exercise strengthens us and gives us flexibility. We see things we may not have noticed before, because the pace is slower. We learn about nature; good and bad. The harsh realities of life and the joys. We see it, hear it, feel it, taste it. In short, we LIVE in the garden, as do the things we tend. We accept the things we cannot change and we learn we have more strength and control than we ever knew. Explore the many resources Extension offers. We are the link to our communities. Visit our publications, podcasts, and videos through the links above. If you go to YouTube and search Cooperative Extension channels you will find a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. In these challenging times, come and grow yourself, and grow a garden.