By Melanie Ayotte, Boomerang staff writer
Gardening has become a popular new form of play for kids of all ages. It is hard today not to turn on the TV, go online or read a newspaper or magazine without seeing an article, story or advertisement about gardening. Across the nation and around Ohio, people are getting dirty for all the right reasons. Gardening is great exercise and gives you inexpensive access to fresh fruits and vegetables that are so important to your health.
If you think you don't have the know-how or the room to put in a garden, think again. Container gardens on a balcony or patio can produce enough produce to keep you with fresh veggies for the summer. A window box full of herbs and flowers make a wonderful living painting for you to enjoy as well as eat. You also can create table top gardens anywhere you have the space. Hanging bags or vertical gardens are another alternative if you are short on land and flat surfaces.
If it's been a while since you gardened, you'll find that there is a whole new crop (pun intended) of tools, gadgets and gizmos that can make the job easier, whether your green thumb is just sprouting or is well-seasoned. Some of the most popular options include:
- Garden gloves with padding that allows you to improve your grip on tools;
- Ergonomic hand tools to fit hands that aren't as strong as they used to be;
- Kneelers and seats on wheels; and
- Long-handled tools to save your back from such chores as weeding, edging and planting bulbs.
If you have a little more dirt to play in, consider getting a lightweight tiller. Some even have removable attachments to be more versatile. A raised garden bed allows those who have difficulty bending, getting back up or in a wheelchair to benefit from gardening, too. If you don't want to garden alone, ask a friend to share a plot or container or two. Or, ask them if you can join them and you both can enjoy the benefits of good food and good company.
When you grow your own fresh fruits or vegetables, you tend to eat a wider variety than you would get from the grocery store. Lots of gardeners feel some of life's stresses disappear as they dig in the dirt. And, since most of us will grow more than we can eat, there's a social aspect as well.
Gardening is exercise, too, and teaches patience, which makes it a great activity to share with younger generations. Remember how exciting it is to see the seeds break through the ground or the first strawberry ripen? Pass that along to youngsters and teach them that it's okay to get dirt under your fingernails from time to time.
Your county extension office can answer your questions about gardening or help you become a master gardener.
Read more Boomerang...