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Planting Hope with a Container Garden

June 28, 2021

Bobbie Mabe - Horticultural Therapist 

Gardening and Mental Health

It is that time of year when people start freshening up their outdoor planters and working on their gardens, but did you know that these simple home improvement projects can also improve your mental health? Research shows that working with plants improves mood and decreases stress and anxiety. Also, being outdoors raises Vitamin D levels, which helps negate depressive symptoms.

Horticultural Therapy has been a part of HopeWay’s therapeutic model since opening in 2016. You will often see clients tending to the gardens and harvesting vegetables to use in the Learning Kitchen. While it is nice to utilize HopeWay’s greenhouse and raised garden beds, you don’t have to be on campus to reap the social & emotional benefits of working with plants. Luckily, everyone has access to the great outdoors!

One easy way to engage in a horticultural activity is to follow the steps below to make your very own container garden or watch the video here.

Container Garden Supplies:

  • Lightweight container with drainage on the bottom
  • Potting soil
  • Seedlings

How to make a container garden:

  1. Fill a large container with potting soil.

  2. Dig holes for each of the seedlings.

  3. Transfer the seedlings by squeezing the container they come in, titling it to the side and pulling the plant out.

  4. Loosen up the root system (which tells the plant it can spread out in the new space).

  5. Put the seedling in the hole. Then fill the space with soil so the soil levels are equal, but you do not want the plant to feel strangled.

  6. Water the container about every other day. A good trick is to put your finger in the soil, and if it is damp to your first knuckle, it does not need to be watered.

Your container garden will not only provide a tasty, healthy addition to your cooking, this activity allows you to practice mindfulness, helps release serotonin, and in turn, elevates your mood!


Learn More About Horticultural Therapy


Editor’s note: This blog post is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.