Starting a garden: A hedge against excess grocery shopping
A century after Americans first planted Victory Gardens, the wartime concept is making a comeback, said Tejal Rao in The New York Times. Though the federal government isn’t promoting home vegetable gardens this spring—and the nation is in no danger of running short on food—families who’ve been advised to stay home and minimize visits to stores are suddenly turning over soil in their yards and rushing to nurseries for seeds or seedlings. Whether the enthusiasm can be sustained is another question. “Gardening is hard work,” after all, and “growth is slow.”
Even so, “gardening is a perfect way to turn anxiety into calm productivity,” said David Priest in CNET.com. To join the fun, start by testing your soil’s pH levels, using simple test kits sold at nurseries (which are classified by most states as essential businesses). Building raised beds or planting in pots is a simple way to control soil quality, and if you want quick results, begin with herbs or leafy greens like arugula, which can be started indoors.
To start from scratch, said Joan Morris in the San Jose Mercury News, plant seeds in paper cups indoors and keep the soil warm and moist until you see sprouts (covering the cups with plastic wrap can help). Some fresh produce, including onions, potatoes, ginger, basil, and lettuce, can germinate on its own. Put lettuce leaves in a bowl with water in a sunny space; mist regularly until they sprout roots. If you focus on herbs, said Matt Keightley in TheGuardian.com, “keep drought-loving herbs like rosemary and sage separate from more water-hungry herbs like basil.” And give mint a separate pot, because mint plants can take over an entire bed.
The Washington Post, Media Bakery ■