By: Jackie Warner
Last year was my first raised garden bed! My husband took an old metal file cabinet and turned it over on its side and added a base and some wheels. I then went out to find all the plants I thought would be great to get started. Once I was back home, my husband looked at me and told me I had purchased too many, and he really meant too many plants for this one raised bed. I insisted I knew he was wrong — says me, the one who has never had a raised garden bed. Well I am sure you know the end of the story… I had a huge plant forest once the planting season was over, but let me tell you how much I nurtured that raised garden bed last summer.
Actually, truth be told, the raised garden nurtured me.
Every day I would be outside checking on those plants and determining what progress had been made.
I would get rid of the growing weeds and make sure I watered the plants daily. Fun Fact — 63% of gardeners experience improved moods and decreased stress in their lives.
It was beneficial and medicine for my mental wellness, getting me moving each day and thinking about what was needed to ensure each plant was getting what was required to continue growth.
Really, it was growth for me too!
At last, I saw my first squash and then a bell pepper. I would get so excited to go outside, and just like magic, overnight each plant would have grown so tall or the vines would have stretched. It was beyond amazing to see my big plant forest yielding so many things we could eat…cucumbers, basil, tomatoes, peppers… I even planted some cantaloupe.
At one point, my squash were not growing properly so I took a picture and shared it with my gardening social media buddies to tell me what I needed to do differently. Yes, I did join an online gardening group and loved seeing the pictures and the tips shared about gardening to-do’s and not-to-do’s.
You don’t have to have a lot of space but you do need at least a little to get started. Last year was great and I learned a lesson or two! This year I went to get my plants and restrained myself after having such a big forest last year.
I did not buy as many for my raised bed since my husband made a believer out of me for buying so many last year. This year it is full, but it is not a forest yet! I go outside each day and water them and take some time with each one. Whether it’s an old dresser drawer or a plastic tub, get started on your garden. Not only will you have some delicious physical food, but you will also have improved mental wellness.
My personal benefits…
- More active
- Healthier eating
- Stress reduction
- Mood booster
- Outdoor healing space
- Increased social engagement
- Improved concentration
Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
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