Planting Joy: The Benefits of Gardening

In honour of our new article on a community garden, The Julien Project, our theme on social media this week has been “gardens.” I’ve really enjoyed sharing photos of new growth and the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Volunteers of the Julien Project

Volunteers of the Julien Project

Gardens have the capacity to add so much to our lives. Not only do we benefit from the sights, fragrances and harvests of gardens, but the act of gardening itself can be calming and therapeutic.

Writer Jenn Sutkowski notes that there is also much we can learn by observing flowers. “Like a beautiful flower, I let myself be radiant and open to the world and the sun when I need to, but also to allow myself to gather in and restore and be quiet when I need that. So I wish the same for you -- and/or whatever your hearts needs for your greatest good, healing, radiance.” 

In my life away from Lamp in Hand, I’m a big fan of gardening. In particular, I think urban farming is one of the keys to fighting food insecurity. I volunteer at a community garden that donates vegetables to the local food bank and at home I have a vegetable garden. Last summer, I lived off kale salads and beet juice that I grew and made myself. 

This week in my garden, I planted beets, basil and added mulch to our raspberry plants. I don’t like wearing gloves because I think there’s something really empowering about getting your hands dirty. 

I wanted to share some photos from my garden to show you how simple and awesome gardening can be. It’s a lot easier than you might think! 

You don't need to buy expensive mulch. You can use pine needle clippings, fallen leaves or straw. 

 

Sometimes it's easier to transplant than to start with seeds. We got this basil plant exactly how it is from an organic farmer at the Farmer's market. It was only a couple of dollars, the same price you'd pay for a fresh bunch of basil at the grocery store.

It's important to water new transplants and seeds evenly for the first few days. You want the soil to be moist for the first week. Especially in the high heat of summer, moist soil helps alleviate "transplant stress" and encourages the roots to take hold. 

 

I also planted some beets in seed form. It's not as hard as you might think! You don't need fancy tools or gardening books. Just read the back of the package and follow the instructions. For these seeds, I used a spatula to dig a lane for the seeds and measured a 5 cm mark on the spatula to evenly space the seeds.

The crumbled egg shells in the photo above to prevent slugs, snails and other bugs from eating the lettuces. The flower below was planted to attract butterflies. If interested, here is a great article on the importance of planting native species to protect pollinators. 

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. I'd also love to see photos of your gardens. Use the hashtag #lampinhand so I can take a look♥