Category Archives: Organic Gardening

Princeton Study Finds That Home Gardening Makes You Happier

Lewis Wilson

As the sunlight begins shining through the spring showers which bring May flowers, we know that summer is on its way. Although most of the world has been confined to their homes during this global pandemic, stories of the unique ways people are combating the physical isolation associated with staying at home have flooded social media sites. Gardening is one of these hobbies that has seen a resurgence in the past few months, and a Princeton study published in Landscape and Urban Planning explores how caring for plants at home can positively affect your mood.

The study—which was conducted prior to the pandemic—surveyed 370 different people living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area on their emotional state and happiness levels throughout the day. Of the 370 participants, 118 of them engaged in home gardening. These home gardeners reportedly had high levels of happiness, when gardening was measured against other day-to-day activities. This “emotional well-being” (EWB) that the study tracked was higher for vegetable gardeners than for ornamental gardeners. This might be because of the relationship you build with your vegetable plants as you watch them grow and mature over the course of the planting season.


How Arlington’s Only Commercial Urban Farm Shifted To ‘Community Supported Agriculture’

Thanks to changes brought about by the pandemic, Arlingtonians can now get farm-to-table produce delivered right to their door.

Tucked into an unassuming strip mall on Lee Highway, Fresh Impact — which we profiled in October — is the county’s only commercial urban farm. With no signage or disclosed address, Fresh Impact has been growing specialty ingredients such as edible flowers and microgreens for chefs in the local restaurant industry for over three years.

This past February, according to founder Ryan Pierce, the farm had its most profitable month yet. But a few weeks later as COVID-19 began to spread in the D.C. area, ultimately shutting down all dine-in restaurant service, Pierce said Fresh Impact lost every single customer.

“We were faced with a choice: do we shut it down and try to ride it out, which would have meant laying off our staff, or do we try to pivot to the consumer market?” said Pierce.


Peas and Quiet: Urban Gardening in the Time of Covid-19

Access to community gardens has been limited during the pandemic, but people have been reaching out to gardeners and gardening organizations far and wide to learn how to grow their own food… Photo courtesy of King County Parks, Washington.

Urban gardening has taken on a renewed relevance as the coronavirus has declared war on us from Los Angeles to New Orleans; Seattle to Saint Louis. People are reaching out to organizations far and wide about how to grow their own food for a wide array of reasons: concern about food supply chain vulnerabilities, frightened of going to the grocery store for lettuce they could potentially grow themselves, eager to be more self-sufficient or looking to help their neighborhood by donating food to local food banks.

“We need to open our hearts and connect with the struggles of those most vulnerable.” That connection, Fredie believes, can involve carrots, corn, kale, and more. It’s a refrain heard from gardeners across the country. “I think we’ll come out of this,” notes Margee Green, the executive director of Sprout NOLA, a farmer and gardener training program based in New Orleans, “with a lot more people understanding the sacrifices that farm workers make every day and the importance of supporting agriculture that is in harmony with nature, and closer to them.”


Pandemic affects volunteering at Greener Garden Urban Farm

By: Kelly Broderick

For Warren and Lavette Blue, they’ve always had volunteers and trainees at their farm.

They’re the owners and operators of Greener Garden Urban Farm

In previous years they would get an abundant amount of help with anything they needed. The volunteers would come any time they needed literally anything done.

But when the pandemic hit, everything changed.

“We couldn’t get the help because of the virus, that’s the gist of it. Some people still wanted to volunteer. But we had to think of it in terms of safety.”

They said it took an emotional toll on them, but they do have a rebound plan.


How to grow tomatoes: Gardening tips and tools

Capelle.r / Getty Images stock

While building a sandwich, have you ever thought to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just pluck my own tomatoes off the vine to slice up and pile on this, Ina Garten-style?”

There’s no better time than now to get started with seedlings or small plants — which you can pick up at your local farmers market or plant store — and enjoy the fruits, so to speak, of your labor. When planting, wait until after the last frost of the season. If cooler weather is looming, cover pots with burlap sacks or frost cloth for protection, or bring them indoors. The best times to plant tomatoes are early in the morning or late in the day so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun right away.


New urban gardens sprout amid coronavirus, aiming to feed N.J. cities

Trenton, a city of nearly 85,000 people, contains only one full-service supermarket. It is one New Jersey’s several food deserts, where access to groceries — let alone fresh produce — is scarce.

Now, as the coronavirus pandemic has provided some with more free time and plunged many more into poverty, local community groups and residents are getting their hands dirty to address the problem.

Urban gardens have experienced a boom in community interest and participation in recent months — more people are learning new skills, connecting with their neighbors and, importantly, helping to fill nutritional needs.