by Edith Isidoro-Mills --
Fallon, Nv., -- As I write this column, we have all been supposedly “sheltering in home”. There have been mixed messages in the media saying to stay indoors but that is not necessary as long as you are feeling well and stay away from other humans. Gardening isn’t always a social activity and doing it alone can be therapeutic. If you still feel you must stay inside, you can even garden indoors if you can provide enough of the conditions to keep a plant healthy.
The main source of COVID 19 spread is human to human contact. That is why we are being asked to “stay home” and if we do go out to stay at least 6 feet away from another human. The virus enters your body through the nose, mouth, or corners of your eyes. This usually happens if droplets from someone else’s cough or sneeze pass through the air to those tissues or if they land on your hands and you rub your face. If you are gardening you most likely will not rub your hands across your face and if you garden alone there most likely isn’t another human within 6 feet of you. When you come inside after gardening you should wash your hands before you do anything else. This holds true even when there isn’t a pandemic.
Gardening has been shown to improve one’s mental state. In fact, a whole field of horticultural study has evolved around observations that gardening can improve mental and physical health. It’s called horticulture therapy and has been used in prisons, retirement homes, and various addiction treatment programs. It can also be used to stay healthy and you don’t necessarily need to have someone with you to carry out this therapy if you have the will to apply it yourself. I do it all the time. There is something up lifting to me to watch a seedling grow into a large plant that produces fruits I can eat or beautiful flowers I can feast my eyes on.
If you must stay indoors, you can still garden in containers if you have an adequate light source such as a sunny window or a grow light. There are even kits for growing gardens indoors. So, don’t let being home bound keep you from the mental and physical benefits of gardening. If you are physically handicapped there are even tools and methods of gardening that have been developed especially for the handicapped.
So if you are feeling down or don’t know what to do with yourself during this time of social distancing, try a little gardening and keep in touch with family and friends by phone or computer.
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