Grow Your Own Home Recovery Garden: Peace, Prosperity, Happiness
Keeping on from our discussion on how the mere presence of plants reduces anxiety, pain, discomfort, and facilitates a positive atmosphere and happiness, I want to show you a glimpse into gardening therapy for addiction. As a time tested facet of effective healing during rehabilitation and post-treatment, tending your own garden is an effectual path to continued sobriety and emotional fulfillment.
I live in Florida where our sunbursts never end. Literally. It’s annoying. A saving grace of this is year-round gardening is possible. But if you don’t live in a tropical climate, keeping a garden all year round may seem like an impossible feat– but it’s not.
The advent of the current mason jar gardening trend is alive and well, and growing everyday. (Don’t hit me.) Now more than ever it’s possible for you to benefit from the healing power of plants and grow your own practical food. If you’re so inclined, you may plant herbs and flowers with specific therapeutic value to augment your recovery further. A few of them are Hawthorn, Dandelion, Valerian, Passion Flower, Chamomile, and Ginkgo. (When Natural Remedies for Addiction comes out, you’ll have a full list.)
The thing with post-rehabilitation is, it isn’t enough to complete treatment and then lock yourself away from the temptations of the world. You have to learn how to live again; gardening has facilitated reconciliation with the earth, family, and the self since the beginning of time. It’s lucky for our purposes then, that innumerable programs offer gardening programs for recovery. But if you don’t have access to a farming program, you can resort to the following:
- Attend town meetings and request a community garden
- Gather up your recovery buddies and start gardens in each others’ yards
(Here’s a mini guide on making your own recovery group.)
- Plant a few herbs on the sidewalk medians close to your home
- Grow a desk garden at work
- Suggest gardening therapy to your counselor and see what resources they can muster up
- Make your own at home!
I believe in the spirit of DIY, because if you don’t do it right now you may lose your steam. Obviously, you can always cultivate your own garden in your backyard– which is probably self explanatory after your seeds have sprouted and are in the ground. But if you don’t have a backyard or a suitable plot of land to lay down some crops or flowering plants, you are not banished from the enchantment of gardening.
You can start your own sustainable garden in your home.
DIY Mason Jar Gardens for Addiction Recovery
Everyone has been going crazy for mason jars for awhile now, and I have to admit I also have a strange affinity for jars. Thankfully, mason jars are inexpensive, and serve as excellent starting grounds for your indoor home garden. You can pick up mason jars (or any glass jar/container) from any department store like Walmart or Target (in their discount section), many craft stores (Jo-Anns, Micheals, Hobby lobby), and even the dollar store– don’t forget the lovely collection of glassware most thrift stores have.
Once you have your containers you have to decide whether you want to grow your plants from cuttings or start germination from seeds. Both have their perks and cons:
Growing Herbs & Plants from Cuttings
In a recovery sense, tending to any plant will help ease cravings, depression, anxiety, and negative feelings- so it may be beneficial to begin with cuttings, as they are already plants you can enjoy, while watching them grow larger.
There are many types of plants you can grow from cuttings by planting their stems into potting soil, and others who will sprout roots while submerged in water. Either way, you can use mason jars for that!
To plant cuttings in your indoor garden place pebbles, large beads, rocks, or something on the bottom of your jar to create a filtration system, protecting your delicate to-be roots. Fill with soil, and then stick your plant friend in. That’s it. Place the jar by a window for sunlight, and you’re done! That is, until your plant needs a larger pot.
If you like, you can buy a pack of chalk labels (about $2-$4) and a chalk marker ($3) to label your jars.
Easily Grown Cuttings in Soil:
- Mushrooms (cut off the top bulb)
As an alternative method of planting glory, instead of starting out with soil, you can help cuttings and sprouts grow while submerged in water; once their roots have grown about an inch, replant them in soil, while remembering to mist often.
Easily Grown Cuttings in Water:
- Swedish Ivy
- Wandering Jew
- Purple Passion Vine
- Sweet Potato Vine
- Bok Choy
Remember when preparing a cutting for planting to snip the end of the plant at a 30 degree angle. Clip leaves close to the bottom of the stem, and keep only a couple of leaves at the top. This will give the plant a chance to grow unencumbered by keeping the rest of its leaves alive. I promise, they’ll be plenty when she blooms later on.
This also applies to plants you attempt to root in water.
How to Germinate Seeds Quickly
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as watching seeds turn into seedlings and bloom into beautiful plants- but for recovery purposes, I’m not sure seeds have the same therapeutic benefits- specifically as they relate to reducing anxiety and the like.
Don’t mistake me: there’s nothing quite like germinating your seeds- but if you want to feel better now– I’m not sure solely waiting for seeds is going to cut it. Here’s my suggestion: start growing cuttings and seeds at the same time. That way you glean the immediate benefits from your plants right away, but you also get to watch your tiny seeds sprout– and in turn, reward you with new, baby plants!
I learned a new trick from A Piece of Rainbow earlier on today on how to germinate seeds 70% faster! Grab any kind of container (Tupperware works just fine), moisten a paper towel and place it on the body of your mini seeder greenhouse, place your seeds on the towel and close it up! You should have sprouts within a few days. Remove seeds with roots quickly and stick them in soil, or they will almost fuse with the paper towel.
You can buy packets of seeds from your local hardware store, venture to a plant nursery (they usually sell cuttings inexpensively), or raid your fridge for seeds. Yes. There are probably seeds in your refrigerator that you’re going to throw out. Clean off the following seeds, dry them, and enjoy growing them.
Secret Seeds in Your Fridge
- Green/Red/Yellow/Jalapeno Peppers
- Pineapple Top
- Sweet Potato
There you have it. What will you grow in your recovery garden?
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.