Whether you need a hobby, a survival skill or a way to help flatten the curve, gardening may be the perfect solution.
With many items going out of stock at local grocery stores and the need to respect social distancing, Salt Lake Community College students can turn to gardening for help throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alison Arndt-Wild, an assistant professor in SLCC’s Communication Department, believes now is the perfect time for students to get involved with gardening.
“It is a great project to get you away from the screen, keep you home and connected with nature,” said Arndt-Wild. “And, if all goes well, [gardening will] help keep you from being at the grocery store as much.”
According to the National Gardening Association, 35% of all U.S. households participate in food gardening. More millennials are growing their own food than ever before, showing a 63% increase in participation over the last five years.
Nellie Diaz, an SLCC sociology student, has recently begun gardening again and is excited to have some extra time to dedicate to her hobby.
“I started gardening when I was young,” said Diaz. “I’ve always been interested, seeing my parents do it, but I’ve never been good at it.”
Gardening can provide both mental and physical benefits to one’s health, such as reducing stress and aerobic exercise.
By having that hands-on experience of growing your own food, you become more aware of the food you consume, how much you consume and the nutrition it contains.
Gardening is capable of teaching students about the basics of agriculture, which may help them to better understand concepts in college courses like math, science, art and physical education. It can also teach valuable life lessons about responsibility, patience and disappointment.
“You have to wait and care for your plants, and it can kind of feel like you will never get anything, then, all of the sudden, there is a payoff and you get lots of veggies,” explained Arndt-Wild. “Or, like this last fall, there is an early freeze, and despite the fact that you still had tons of tomatoes, in an instant, they are all gone.”
Anyone can become a gardener, regardless of the amount of space or knowledge you have.
“You don’t have to have a house and a yard. You can have a container garden or a terrace garden,” said Arndt-Wild. “There are lots of things you can do and lots of online resources to teach you how.”
However, it’s important to remember that some things are more difficult to grow than others and you won’t always be successful.
“Just jump in and do it, because it doesn’t have to be perfect,” said Diaz. “Aside from creating something beautiful, being in the soil is grounding and therapeutic.”