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DOUG’S GARDEN BLOG – Using Gardening For Quality Family Time

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

NORMAL. SUCH A SIMPLE WORD BUT WHAT DOES THIS MEAN ANYMORE WHEN IT COMES TO PLANTS AND GARDENING?

As I write this blog, Virginia and the entire U.S. is in the process of trying to re-open from the Great Shutdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems that our local, state and national news tells us something new or different every day. If you are like me then you are left wondering what and who to believe and whether an end is in sight to bring us all back to NORMAL. Off my soapbox now.

So, how have these past few months affected horticulture and gardening? It has affected us a great deal but in some very positive ways. Before this pandemic, a family’s lifestyle was hectic and left many families disconnected with nature when it came to learning to garden. With this pandemic shutdown and with so many families spending more time at home’ plants and gardening have experienced a renewed interest this year.

Being outside, as a family, provides opportunities and activities for family time in the garden. Just because the fall season is just around the corner does not mean that it is now too late to think about gardening and planting. Actually, the fall season provides some valuable gardening opportunities.

Here are some ideas to do together as a family:

PLANT A FALL VEGETABLE GARDEN

Fall is the time to plant our cool season Cole crop vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, etc. These vegetables can tolerate the cooler temperatures that we have in the fall.  The rewards of a vegetable garden can be exciting and rewarding for a family activity. Vegetable gardening is one way that allows us to get back in touch with nature.

PLANT A SHRUB OR TREE

With so many people staying home during this challenging time, many have turned to be safe at home and doing some additional landscaping. You can plant a shrub or tree as a celebration whether it is for a birthday, anniversary, or remembrance. And, fall is a great planting season. Plant roots develop in cooler soils. So, a plant planted this fall will have nearly nine months to get acclimated and established before the heat and dryness of next summer.

LEARN PLANT NAMES

Spending time in the garden can be a valuable learning experience. This can be fun for both grownups and kids. In addition to learning about food crops and beautiful flowers, this time is a perfect opportunity to learn about plant parts, the plants’ growing habits, and their history.

THE LOVE OF SHARING

Giving plants or vegetables to neighbors, friends, relatives, or needy organizations is extremely satisfying. I have never met anyone who was not delighted in receiving fresh produce from a vegetable garden, or new starter plants that you rooted or divided to some freshly cut flowers. Sharing is an opportunity to show that you care about others.

So, in conclusion, now and this fall continues to be a great time for families to grow together and learn together. It offers the opportunity for family members to share thoughts, ideas, to talk, to listen by working and playing in the gardens together. Appreciate and respect the outdoors, listen to the natural sounds of the wind, the birds, and animals, and you will be a better person for doing so.

“Be glad of life because it gives you a chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars”

— Henry Van Dyke

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