Gardening: how it helps grow the mind

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Keira Vecchi

Waiting for Google Classroom to load before Zoom class starts, a student enjoys succulents around their desk.

Keira Vecchi, Plaid Truth Staff

Highlanders, staff and students alike, take on gardening in their homes during the stay at home orders that come with the pandemic. Though not everyone has the means to garden properly, it mentally helps those who can manage the task. 

During the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people have been beginning their new lives by gardening, whether it be gardening outside with a real garden, or inside with houseplants.

The benefits of gardening have been coming through for those who take it on. Simply being around plantlife and “bathing in green” so to speak can make a person feel more connected with nature and the Earth around them, especially if the garden is outside. An outside garden also promotes getting up and moving around instead of being stuck on the couch or working at desks. 

As well as allowing physical exercise, gardening can provide a mental exercise with a growth mindset. A growth mindset focuses on learning from mistakes and continuing to move forward which is good for gardening since it may have quite a bit of trial and error. “Learning about plants connects us to the world,” Brian Dennert, a teacher and head of the park board, said. “I like learning the history of plants I am growing. Thinking of the people throughout history that have grown the same plants.”  

Given the fact that many feared during the early stages of the stay at home order of food shortages, gardens provide an easy way to be sustainable and have a personal food source. “A benefit of gardening is that you will have fresh foods and eat healthier,” Dennert said. “Sometimes crops come in abundance. This gets me to explore new ways of cooking.”

Gardening and keeping up with plant-life has also proven to be a stress relief according to Web MD and Psychology Today. Taking care of plants allows the opportunity to live in the moment and feel the life around you. “[Gardening] is very de-stressing, it’s like a hobby,” sophomore Sydney Nielsen  said. “Your hobbies make you happy instead of stressed.”

Plants in the home can positively benefit the air around the home as well, which can be especially helpful while everyone is at home all day. Plants are natural air purifiers, creating oxygen and bringing allergy relief to those around them.

Not to mention how beautiful some plants may be. Flowers, bamboo, succulents, they all can be aesthetically pleasing in the right setting and can smell just as good, too. “Personally, I like to keep things that smell nice in my room like flowers and herbs because when I go in, it smells nice and it smells even better after watering it,” Nielsen said.

Although there have been plenty of people out there taking on the role of care-giver to the plants in and around their home, that doesn’t mean they’re all gone. 

Most grocery stores have small plant sections at the front of their stores either inside or out. Stores like Smart & Final and Trader Joe’s have these sections as soon as you walk in the door.

There are other stores that sell supplies, too. Home Depot and Lowes, for instance, have fertilizer, plows, sprinklers and everything in between to start a garden. For extra help, there are plenty of online reviews and articles on how to start a garden or how to help the plants in it.