More than a year into the pandemic, you may be feeling fatigued. We’ve all adapted to a “new normal,” but many of us are looking for any sign of hope we can find. Although many things are slowly becoming more “normal,” there are still many unknowns that we face. How can we cultivate a sense of hope, resiliency and growth?
Looking for growth and hope may be more simple than you think. With the warm weather here, it is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy all the plants blooming or even try your hand at some gardening. Gardening or even starting a small patio garden can provide you with an opportunity to care for something, to look for new growth (literally), cultivate hopefulness, catch a few rays of immune boosting, vitamin D packed sunshine, and even freshen up your cooking. Check out these tips for starting your own herb garden!
Start small – Don’t think you have to have a huge garden to reap the benefits! Even a few pots of herbs can give you all the benefits of gardening. You can purchase starter herbs (small plants) at most grocery stores and nurseries for a few dollars. You can plant your starter plants in traditional pots (make sure they’re about twice the size of the plant to allow them room to grow) and you’ll be on your way to sprinkling fresh herbs on your meals!
Get creative – Have fun setting up your garden. Visualize where you will put your pots and take sun exposure into consideration. Purchase a beautiful pot/container that makes you smile! You can even use a container that you already have at home like a paint can, aluminum soup can, mug/tea cup, jug or whatever you can find. Decorate your container to your liking with art supplies. The possibilities are endless! This is a great project for kids too.
Choose a container with good drainage – This is the number one key to a successful patio garden. Make sure you have holes in the bottom of your container or pot. The majority of plants die from lack of water, overwatering or root rot. Root rot happens when a plant is not able to properly drain so the roots get moldy and soggy. If you use your own container for your herbs, use a drill or nail to put holes in the bottom.
Research your herbs – Think about what herbs you would like to include in your garden before you shop. There are tons to choose from. Some of the most common patio herbs that thrive in sun or shade include: Basil, Rosemary, Parsley, Thyme, Cilantro, Mint, and many more! These herbs are all fairly simple to care for. If you’re known to kill plants, start with mint. It is the most easy to care for, and it grows quickly. It’s perfect for desserts, drinks, and summer flavor. Be careful not to plant it with anything else because it is an invasive plant so it takes over everything around it.
Let your plant dry out – Another common problem with new gardeners is they overwater their plants. A general rule of thumb is not to water your plant unless the top layer of soil is dry. Take sun exposure into consideration. A plant that sits in the sun all day will naturally dry out much faster than one in the shade.
Use your herbs regularly – As you care for your plants and look for new growth, don’t be afraid to use them generously. Herbs are meant to be cut off and used frequently. This will allow them to continue growing and thriving as you use them.
Need some gardening tunes? Check out this gardening playlist from @MOShowMeHope on Spotify or on YouTube.
If you or someone you know is experiencing stress due to the pandemic, call or text Show Me Hope for 24/7 anonymous crisis counseling. We’re here to listen.
Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990
Tri-County Mental Health: 816-468-0400