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Gardening is good for your mental health

Even if it is something as simple as a simple plant, or walking barefoot on the grass or going for a walk in nature, all of these activities can reduce stress and make us feel energised.

Scientists have found that spending 2 hours a week in nature is linked to better health and well-being. Even our health professionals are seeing the benefit and it is fast becoming the norm for doctors to give out 'green prescriptions' and organisations like the Whakatane Aquatic Centre are getting on board.

Research shows that gardening can directly improve people’s well-being and that taking part in community gardening can also encourage people to adopt healthier behaviours.

There are many great local gardening groups in our area, Pou Whakaaro has a sustainable gardening group that has been working on a great project of a Self-Watering Garden made from polystyrene boxes!

Pou Whakaaro's Self Watering Garden

Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog about our Sustainable Gardening Group and what sort of projects they have coming up.

We will also share how the Self-Watering Garden works and how you can order your own.

If you are interested in finding out more about our sustainable gardening group, and how you can join, contact Urs to find out more.

There are some other great community garden groups in the Eastern Bay of Plenty that might be worth checking out:

Although, community groups are very beneficial to your wellbeing, having a garden at your backdoor is also very handy. If you don't have a garden and are on a low budget, check out our great garden projects below and learn how to start your own salad garden. This project is not limited to just a salad garden, but you could also use non-edible plants as well.

How to start your own Salad Garden

If you would like to start your own garden, here is a great blog on the easiest way to start a salad garden, and with Christmas creeping up fast, they would make a great gift.

Come on into CReW or any of the OP shops we have in Whakatane for an array of baskets and cases for this cute project.

Check out the cool free workshop on how to start your own salad garden.

Step 1: Shopping!

Browse those OP Shops for cane baskets, cases, and anything else you can think of that would make a cool planter. Don't be limited to just baskets, check out this cool colander garden! The sky is the limit, there are also some DIY fabric bags. Do you ever feel like you have too many reusable shopping bags? Well, you can turn them into planter bags! There are also some pretty nifty planters made out of coffee bags too.

Need more ideas for containers? Visit her for some great ones.

Step 2: Purchase soil and seedlings.

Potting mix is very cheap from Bunnings where you can purchase a 40L bag for $6.75.

Bunnings also has a great range of seedlings and seeds. You can purchase a mix of lettuce and herbs, which is a good place to start for a simple salad garden.

Step 3: Planting

Firstly, it is important to line your baskets, you can use some black garbage bags and then fill the baskets with soil.

Now you are ready to plant your lettuce and herbs into your basket. Another idea is to plant pansies, they are edible and make both your salad and basket colourful. If you are making them for a gift, click here for some great ideas to add to your basket.

Step 4: Harvest

Now for the fun part, harvesting. This is where you get to pick your beautiful salad plants for your meal.

Firstly you simply cut or break off with your fingertips the salad and herbs you wish to use. It is important to keep the roots intact as your plants will keep growing. Once you have used all of the lettuce leaves, leave the roots in the soil as they add nutrients. Then simply plant more seedlings.

The vegetables will draw nutrients from the soil so it is important to replace those nutrients, you can do this with compost (click here to find out how to make your own), and/or with worm juice (you can purchase a 1litre bottle of this from CReW for only $3).

Be careful to work into the soil and not to get on your plants.

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