Your next COVID-19 hobby: Gardening

During the coronavirus pandemic, many people have had to spend a lot of time in isolation, and realistically, staying indoors the entire time would not be the best approach for anyone who wants to remain healthy emotionally, mentally or physically. Getting outdoors to soak up the sunshine or taking long walks in nature are great ways to break up the monotony and recharge. Otherwise, new hobbies are always a good idea. If you are not sure what hobby to take up, and you are not scared of a little DIY, gardening is a great option. The scope of your new project can range from just a mushroom grow kit or, a few flower pots to turning your backyard into a cozy, get-away-from-it-all space.

The true benefit will come from spending time in nature. The late neurologist Oliver Sacks in his essay The Healing Power of Gardens, elaborates on “the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens”. He found that gardens can have a surprisingly powerful restorative effect on people who are neurologically disabled. Actually, research shows that people who get in contact with the soil and plants experience positive health outcomes, including stress relief.

Beyond that, gardening can even be a good way to ease any grocery shortages that happened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of persons may have resorted to panic buying, but having your own backyard garden can be a backup not just for you but also your close neighbors.

The community approach is common in the U.K. The South-West Counties Allotment Association, a not-for-profit organization, promotes allotment use, and they note that during the pandemic the demand for allotments went up. 

Miriam Dobson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield is studying the resurgence of allotment use and she suggests that people are now so fond of the practice because it gives them a space that is outdoors but still semi-private and does not conflict with social-distancing rules. It also gives people a chance to do practical work, grow food, relieve anxiety and stress and also socialize with others.

Jesse Stuver, the owner of Stuver’s Riverside Nursery in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, agrees with her. He adds that adopting gardening as a hobby might even be giving people a new perspective on life, and he believes that persons who take up gardening as a hobby might still continue even after the pandemic has passed. 

If you are interested, but not sure where to begin with this hobby, you can start by taking a walk into your backyard. Scope out any possible natural spaces you can utilise. If you need any assistance clearing up you can find one of the best tree service or landscaping companies in your area to get started on preparing your lot for .

If you are interested in short courses, then a short gardening course might be attractive to you. Because of COVID, many university courses went online and this 3-part winter tree identification webinar and this Four Seasons Gardening Series course are available online from the University of Illinois.

However you choose to set things off, gardening is something anyone can benefit from. It just might be the right fit for you.