While the new coronavirus continues to sweep around the world keeping people inside their homes and on their properties, a pioneering spirit is also emerging. With more restaurants shuttered and lines for grocery stores lengthening, people are increasingly concerned with the availability of food and many are starting to plan their summer vegetable garden and learning how to bake their own bread. While it may be too early to plant outdoors in many regions of North American, it’s an ideal time to start seedlings indoors and get a jump on the season.
Older adults are a wonderful resource for learning some tricks of growing an abundant vegetable garden, keeping pests away, preserving fruits and vegetables and cooking from scratch. Even if grandparents are only able to contribute virtually, a vegetable garden or cooking class can be a wonderful way for families and loved ones to interact and a welcome distraction from the news.
Being productive and feeling useful can also help seniors, and people of all ages, combat social and physical isolation that can lead to depression. According to a recent Nation Public Radio report, a spike in seed sales is common during difficult times and was noticed during the stock market crash of 1987 and the oil crisis in the 1970s; the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.
With the burgeoning interest in growing food, Oregon State University’s Master Gardener program has made its online vegetable gardening course free through the end of April. Need a weekend project? Start now to plan your corona “Victory Garden”; check out how to build a raised garden bed on YouTube, and start ordering your supplies.
Even those who don’t have access to an outdoor garden can create a windowsill herb garden or start seeds for container gardening on a deck or patio and enjoy watching something grow. Learn more about gardening in small spaces by following this link to AmpleHarvest.