Garden Therapy

Spring is here! I love this time of year. Plants and trees are blooming. Birds are singing. The forsythia is bright yellow-gold. The fragrant purple lilac blooms are opening up. The buttercups are standing at attention. The raspberry and blackberry canes are waking up from their long winter’s nap. The grass is greening up. The cherry, magnolia, redbud and Bradford pear trees are in full bloom. The dogwoods are starting to wake up. The azaleas and rhododendrons are coming alive. You can smell the sweet fragrance of spring onions as the lawnmowers start to get fired up the neighborhood. In the woods behind our house, there is starting to be a very light splash of light green as the new growth begins in the forest. Our Meyer Lemon and Banana trees, our Bougainvillea bush and Frangiapani plant that spend the winter in our sunroom are longing to get outside for some fresh air. It’s springtime in Middle Tennessee. It’s time for some garden therapy!

I’ve always enjoyed watching things grow. In the years past, it was our children. Now it is our grandchildren. Turning the soil and setting out seeds and plants has always had a therapeutic effect on me. Not only mentally and spiritually, but also physically. I consider myself physically and mentally strong and I take no medications with the occasional exception of ibuprofen once in a while for an ache or pain. I contribute that in part to my “garden therapy” and the wonderful organic vegetables that the therapy helps produce. Tilling the soil, loading the compost in the garden bed, pulling the weeds in the bright sunshine with a slight breeze? There is nothing quite like that feeling – Mother Nature at her finest.

We do not have a farm, but I recall fondly of going to our grandparents farm in the summers while growing up in Iowa. I guess this is where my love of gardening came from. I loved picking the fresh vegetables as a kid and eating them for dinner the same day. We have less than an acre but make the best of it with a small raised bed plot that provides just enough vegetables for our small family during the growing season.

Most of Middle Tennessee is in gardening zone 7. Most seed packets will tell you the correct planting dates for your zone. It’s not too early to plant cool season plants such as potatoes, greens, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, peas, carrots and beets and radishes. Radishes come up in a matter of weeks.

I have set cauliflower and lettuce transplants out, planted seed potatoes beets and carrots in the garden. I started celery, broccoli and shallot seeds in the compost bin because conditions in there with the lid on seem to be ideal for sprouting seedlings. By the time the cool season crops are harvested, it will be time to set out tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and corn for a summer harvest.

We use only GMO free and organic seeds and transplants and garden organically using natural fertilizers like compost and pond water. We have just a small 30 gallon pond that has been full of leaves and clippings and lots of natural organic bacterias throughout the winter. For insect control, we make natural insecticidal soap from red pepper, vinegar , garlic and soap.

From now until fall, I look forward to my daily “garden therapy” routine of watching the young plants grow and blossom while keeping them watered, weeded and fed.

How do you get your daily therapy? I highly recommend this approach. Try it – you’ll like it!

Now if I could just figure how to get rid of those damn pesky moles in our yard!

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Husband, Father, Grandfather, foodie. I have worked in various capacities of food service for 50 years. Baker, cook, manager, restaurant owner, personal chef and food sales / consulting. Recently retired. I love to cook and photograph food. My other hobbies include organic gardening, fishing, bicycling, reading, music and golf.

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