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Gardening as therapy

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Gardening as therapy

Post  Old Hippie on 9/19/2010, 10:40 am

What is it about gardening that is so therapeutic? Is it some inborn primitive need to till the soil and produce something that is aesthetically pleasing or pleasing to the palate?

It seems that no matter what is going on in my life or how tired I am at the end of a busy day at work gardening soothes my soul and energizes me physically and mentally. And there is just something so incredibly satisfying about eating the produce you have grown with your own hands.

Perhaps it is just me but I think therapists and doctors might have more success with treating a lot of their patients if they gave them seed packets and sent them home to plant them rather than being so quick to hand out depression meds.

If only people on Facebook who send me invitations to play Farmville knew what they are missing!

GK

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  Megan on 9/19/2010, 11:53 am

+1 !

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Gardening as therapy

Post  tishadw74 on 9/19/2010, 12:22 pm

I play Farmville and have a SFG, the SFG is far more therapeutic!

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  sceleste54 on 9/19/2010, 12:25 pm

Absolutely !! Whenever I'm in a grungy mood, diggin in the dirt always makes me feel better !!

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  martha on 9/19/2010, 12:26 pm

I have refused to even look at Farmville. I am positive it is a complete waste of time, and if I checked it out, I could get sucked in, I am sure.

But I am so with you! I used to have horses. I had a passion for the horses themselves, but I loved doing barnwork. It was very calming and peaceful and Zen-like.

When my horses left (they went to the Rainbow Bridge) I didn't think anything could replace the passion. Certainly, nothing can or ever will replace them personally, but gardening is such a wonderful, soothing, joyous activity.

I agree with - I think it was Boffer who said it - that the one thing I don't like about SFG'ing is that sometimes there is not enough to do!

Thanks for giving me today's opportunity to reflect on the gift of gardening.

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  LaFee on 9/19/2010, 12:30 pm

I play Farmville when I can't play in my SFG...which aggravates my "neighbors" to no end, because I don't tend my farm half the year!

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  martha on 9/19/2010, 12:35 pm

I apologize for calliing Farmville a complete waste of time. I tend to get very addictive to things like Free Cell or Spider Solitaire. I still spend a fair amount of time on my old horse BB, and I have not had horses for 5 years.

If I started to play Farmville, I know it would be a horrible time-sink for me, because I would spend hours playing it, and then not have any time to spend here - and I don't have nearly enough time here as it is!

So, forgive my previous judgmental statements.

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  Megan on 9/19/2010, 12:39 pm

@martha wrote:I apologize for calliing Farmville a complete waste of time. I tend to get very addictive to things like Free Cell or Spider Solitaire. I still spend a fair amount of time on my old horse BB, and I have not had horses for 5 years.

If I started to play Farmville, I know it would be a horrible time-sink for me, because I would spend hours playing it, and then not have any time to spend here - and I don't have nearly enough time here as it is!

So, forgive my previous judgmental statements.

I don't think it was judgmental, Martha. We all have to pick and choose where we put our time. Goodness knows I waste too much of mine. I have a few time-sinks online, but they all involve good friends... which to me is no waste at all! (And yeah, I played farmville for a while, til I got sick of it. I am fairly well addicted to some of my iPhone games, though!)

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  martha on 9/19/2010, 8:15 pm

thank you! I would be very sad if I was offensive, especially when it wasn't intended! Now if I do intend it and it doesn't work, that's an entirely different problem!

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  Megan on 9/19/2010, 8:26 pm

LOL....I think you'd have to work very hard to do that, my friend. Very Happy Have a great evening!

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  janefss2002 on 9/19/2010, 8:32 pm

I so agree about the Therapeutic effect of SFG! It has also given Bob and I a team project now that we are almost empty nesters of our only child (daughter is in grad school about hour away, engaged, but lives there).

But it is even more for me on a personal level. I grew up on a dairy farm that my dad and his brother and father built. My dad had a degree in Chemical Engineering and Electrical Engineering but the draw of the land was too much. As my Grandmother used to say about my dad, "no one loves the Good Earth like Grady does!".

So my dad actually read Mel's book years ago and tried to coax me into SFG about 20 years ago for our daughter. So I did a modified version in containers. Dad said "you can do better" and built me 3 2X4 boxes. Those were good times and our daughter learned to love all kinds of veggies.... she remembers those times even now.

My dad passed away and our gardens fell into neglect. Work got in the way and took away time. Life went on.

But that Therapeutic effect that I felt when growing was there nagging at me. Also, I felt I needed to try SFG "by the book" as dad always wanted me to try.

So, a year ago last fall, Bob and I plunged into it with a 3X12. It was fantastic! So, this January we built a 3X15. We are now hooked. This spring we started an arbor and have added to it recently.

Since last year, I almost hear Dad saying "more, more, you can grow more!". And I have. Our daughter became vegetarian almost 5 years ago, so she is thrilled with our harvests. She has made suggestions on veggies to grow that I would never have thought of, and they were successful.

So, for us it has been therapeutic, it has been bonding within a family and bonding with the family of our past.

Thank you, Mel, for a fantastic, yet simple concept that anyone can do!

Jane

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  Old Hippie on 9/19/2010, 8:35 pm

How absolutely cool! Thanks for sharing that.

GK

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  middlemamma on 9/19/2010, 10:06 pm

Chopper and I have touched on this a few different times in different threads. I agree whole heartedly with the OP especially about handing out seed packets instead of meds. LOL No offense intened for those who have scripts of course!

I have struggled with depression all my life, it is very genetic and runs on both sides of my family. At 8 I had ulcers and at 14 my grandmother, god bless her, as my guardian was advised to put me on meds and she refused. I thank the lord every day. I have fought the good fight my whole life...33 in December, and until June of 2009 I had ALWAYS been able to find my metephorical bootstraps and heave my fat %@# up out of the dirt and plug along.

2007 marked the beginning of a spiral downhill and the beginning of a LONG string of just plain bad luck for my family and by June of 2009 I just couldn't take another thing. Joe being in construction, me being in Real Estate..our financial world collapsed around us, lay offs and then an industrial accident that left Joe (DH) with less than a whole left hand, then another lay off due to his company moving out of town, the decision to make a long distance move, more financial ruin, and then my ex husband...a dear dear friend and the co-parent to our son Caleb died in a car accident this March. After that has ensued an insurance nightmare that I cannot even begin to describe, on top of our grief and a 9 year old son that misses his dad very much.

In June of 09 before the accident that changed our lives but unemployed, facing bankruptcy, knowing no one in our new town and lonely, I began to play Farmville...and then Farmtown....and then other FB games that suck you right in. My depression was getting worse and worse and worse as March came and we were hit with the train of Josh's death.

I have never had a garden, never grown a thing from seed in my life...I went to Lowes for something...I don't even remember what...and came home with Mel's book. And I can honestly say...MY HAND TO GOD...I picked up Mel's book because Farmville had made me wish I could grow stuff, food, flowers IRL.

I have always loved my copius houseplants and had had a tomato plant or two on the porch in the past. I read Mel's book in one night and I wanted to do it but my depression had my feet in concrete shoes.

DH took me, by the hand, feet dragging, head to the ground, and bought the wood, soil ingredients etc etc and built my boxes and then like a kid placed me to mix the soil, fill the boxes, only coming out to help me as I asked. And people I swear to you this process pulled me out of a depression I didn't even know how deep it was until I was out and looked back at the hole I was in.

Even though our road has still been rough I think I am still here because of this garden and Mel's book...and its an instand cure on a blue day. I am doing 100% better even though our battles are not over...and honestly they won't be as long as we still breathe in an out right? ...I love my garden and I odn't htink I will ever not have one for the rest of my life.

Thank you Mel. Thank you SFG forum....Thank you sun...soil....seeds...and water.

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  janefss2002 on 9/19/2010, 10:39 pm

Amen, Middlemamma!

SQFgardening has given us all purpose, blessings, bindings in love and life for the future. My next season garden will be better because I have learned from everyone here. You may not not know it, because I don't always have time to post, but yet I have learned... everyday from you and everyone here.

Middlemamma, we are all better because we know each other and learn, and yes, love "the Good Earth". You are so on the right track! Keep on Keepin On. My dad would encourage you to grow more, expand yourself for you and your family and learn.

Stuff and bugs happen. That is a fact and beyond our control. But when we can make "it" happen (like our first and only Small Wonder Spaghetti Squash, sad SVB hit Sad ) life is mountaintop. We learn we need to prevent that nasty bug next time (more on that success next year!).

You are so on the right track for you and your family! Life is up and down, bugs and mildew, but we deal with it and move on.
Jane

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  Old Hippie on 9/19/2010, 11:05 pm

Oh Jennie, Big, big hugs to you. Life really is beautiful, but sometimes it can really suck.

My DH and I have walked in shoes similar to yours.....more than once. The last time we lived in a duplex with a postage stamp sized yard. On the one side I made a tiny garden about two feet wide and 10 or 12 feet long. I had read my mom's copy of SFG several years previous and figured I could use that idea. It was a very rough version of SFG as I didn't use boxes or a grid system. I also had a few planters on the balcony. Mostly, I grew flowers, but tucked in some lettuce and herbs in small spaces.

Perhaps it is just the fact that gardening helps you focus on something other than your physical and emotional pain. But I think that the business of working and planning for the next planting or harvest stage helps to give a person hope that "this too shall pass."

GK

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  miinva on 9/20/2010, 12:12 am

Gardening has been a wonderful experience for me, a suburb-raised girl Smile Before last year I'd had house plants and I planted a butterfly garden over the pet cemetary, but I hadn't tried veggies at all. My husband grew up in rural New York and his mother canned every year and his father kept a huge garden, although it was traditional row gardening. I love my husband dearly, but due to various factors we'd grown apart. We were comfortable together, but we didn't have a shared passion other than our two kids, whom we love dearly, but a marriage needs more than that. We have 16 acres and a couple of years ago I discovered that I have a pinched nerve and bulging disc in my neck, so my horseback riding days are over, and it seemed like such a waste to have all of this land and just let it go back to wild. We'd always planned on half of it going wild because I think that's important, but growing food in our backyard has been wonderful on every level! I actually stuck my hands in the dirt this year! I know that sounds silly, but I hadn't done that before Smile

I'm really grateful to Mel for his book too! flower

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  Chopper on 9/20/2010, 12:57 am

Wonderful story, mininva.

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  martha on 9/20/2010, 3:21 pm

really great stories from everybody. I love threads like these when we can share a small piece of our vulnerable selves and be safe and warmed and know that we are not alone no matter where we go.

Peace and joy to all of us.

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  Old Hippie on 9/20/2010, 6:47 pm

I enjoy the blogs that people post too.

GK

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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  CarolynPhillips on 9/21/2010, 5:57 pm

I am assuming that Dirt (soil) has brought you and your hubby closer together?


I agree that gardening can be great therapy in many cases.





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Re: Gardening as therapy

Post  miinva on 9/21/2010, 7:20 pm

Yes, I should have been more clear Smile Gardening has definitely brought my husband and I closer together.

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Re: Gardening as therapy

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