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Garden through the coronavirus crisis

The natural world is still there -- get out and enjoy it. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Reasons why getting outdoors is good for you

At least you can still garden.

During the coronavirus crisis, people are re-evaluating what they can and cannot do. The list of “cannots” seems to be getting longer by the minute.

But gardening is a relatively solo activity. Plants are not coronavirus carriers. We can be safe while tending our flowers and vegetables.

Here are some reasons to keep gardening during the coronavirus closures:

1. Gardening relieves stress. The current atmosphere of crisis has been extremely stressful. Our immune systems are more vulnerable when we’re stressed out. Less stress; we’re automatically healthier.

2. Gardening is good exercise. Getting outdoors and doing something physical helps keep us healthier, too.

3. Our garden needs us. Its care is our responsibility. Go out and see how things are growing, especially during this ever-changing almost-spring weather. What’s sprouting? What’s about to bloom?

4. Gardening feels normal. We need some normalcy during such uncertain times. In gardening, we (almost) have a sense of control that’s lacking in everything else right now.

5. Our garden can feed us. (Especially if we concentrate on growing edibles.) We may need those fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs.

6. Gardens lift our spirits. Bring some flowers indoors to enjoy. Share a bouquet with a friend. It will bring some much-needed joy.

7. Gardens help us focus on the future. Gardeners are always planning ahead – what to plant, when to harvest. By looking ahead, we help assure ourselves that there is a positive outcome, that life will get back to normal and we will have time and reason to smell the roses.

So, be healthy, stay safe and keep gardening! We’ll be there to help.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Oct. 1:

Make the most of this cooler weather. Get to work on your fall garden:

* October is the best month to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. Plants become established – sending down deep, strong roots – faster in warm soil.

* Divide and replant perennials. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to the planting hole, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

* Clean up the summer vegetable garden and compost disease-free foliage.

* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.

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