The coronavirus crisis has increased interest in individuals wanting to grow their own food during stay-at-home orders, massive layoffs and community planting postponements. About 1,000 people a day are signing up for a free, online vegetable gardening course offered by Oregon State University Extension Service.
As of April 1, more than 17,656 people had registered for the introductory course, according to OSU Extension, which waived the $45 fee through the end of April.
The course offers information that can be accessed anytime online on how to plan a garden, prepare the soil, care for plants and harvest.
People are also being encouraged to donate surplus produce to local food agencies through the Plant a Row for the Hungry effort.
Over the course of the past decade, a significant number of men and women from different parts of the world have taken up gardening. In this regard, these people have found themselves interested both in creating magnificent flower gardens as well as in cultivating thriving vegetable gardens.
A majority of gardeners still rely on what might be considered “mainstream methods” when it comes to the care and maintenance of either their flower or vegetable gardens. In other words, these gardeners tend to rely upon various commercially availabable chemical treatments and products to care for their gardens. Various types of garden-related chemicals — from pesticides to fertilizers — are available readily at garden supply shops and discount retail stores. More often than not, these basic products can be obtained for a fairly reasonable cost.
As a person becomes more involved in the care and maintenance of his or her garden, such an individual tends to become more conscious and aware of how the materials he or she utilizes to tend a garden space actually effects the environment and the plants being grown (particularly vegetables). Consequently, many experienced gardeners (and, in reality, an ever growing number of novices) have turned to organic gardening practices.
Organic gardening practices actually have been around and utilized by people since certain ancient tribes gave up hunting and gathering and settled down to grow their own crops and to maintain their own domesticated animals. In their most basic form, organic gardening practices consists of the use of naturally occuring materials (organic materials) in the care and treatment of a garden patch — vegetable or floral. No man made chemicals or any type are utilized in true organic gardening regimens.
For example, when it comes to providing nutrients for an organic gardening, two resources normally are relied upon: compost and manure. Likewise, when it comes to the issue of pest control, natural steps are taken to rid a garden of offensive bugs and insects. In this regard, benign insects that do not damage plants but who prey upon bugs that harm foilage are placed in a garden or patch to deal with a harmful infestation problem or situation.
In the final analysis, people who espouse organic gardening practices and techniques maintain that the goal or such natural programs is to nourish and protect the soil well into the future rather than providing a quick, seasonal fix for one planting period. Through organic gardening, soil and water contamination is reduced significantly. Additionally, when it comes to the production of vegetables, the food generated from an organic garden is free of harmful chemicals and deemed to be far healthier for human consumption.
As you practice social distancing, use this time to introduce two new friends into your life: a shovel and a pair of gloves.
During stressful times, nature can be a peaceful refuge. And, coinciding with the timing of coronavirus, we’re also at the start of something a little brighter — gardening season.
“There’s a meditative feeling you get from the repetitive tasks of gardening,” says Teddy Moynihan, founder of Plowshare Farms. “Plus it’s an action you can take to nourish yourself in the face of something that feels like we have no control over.”
While stay-at-home orders are in place, outdoor activity is still permitted, meaning you’re in the clear to venture into your backyard or garden plot. (Just don’t bring others along to watch you plant.)
There is an important aspect of organic gardening that you can very well relate to. Imagine this. You are hungry. You haven’t been fed. You haven’t taken a bath. You haven’t pampered yourself. You’ve spent so much time working and taking care of others, but you haven’t tended yourself for your own good.
How would you feel? For a time being, you may be able to accept the fact. You may still tire yourself out without asking for anything in return. But as the days go by, you will feel the negative effects of the situation. You will no longer have the kind of energy that you used to. Your body will deteriorate until it can no longer function for the things that it used to do.
How is this related to the organic method of gardening? You can actually compare this to the state of the soil. Soil is a very important aspect in this type and all the other kinds of gardening. This is the base of everything. This will be the bed, or the house of your plants. You must choose the right one in the first place.
Anybody can do organic vegetable gardening at home because the principle behind this is not that different from what they do in the farm. The only difference is that you work in a smaller area and you get to choose what you like plant.
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If someone were to say I must self-isolate in the garden for the next few weeks, I would shake him or her by the hand. If I could. Here’s a thumbs up from a distance of six feet or more.
The neighborhood sidewalks and nature trails are thronged with the cabin-fevered, so what better place to be outdoors and yet away from others than in your backyard and garden?
You can sit out there with the newspaper and a cup of coffee, but in time both of those pleasures will come to an end.
The mark of a true gardener is a person who does not see a finished landscape but a series of tasks that need to be tackled. This isn’t as onerous as it sounds because it gets to the essential elements of gardening: creativity, honest toil and the satisfaction of a job well done. Aches and pains come along for the ride, but that’s why we have bathtubs.