Gardening and Health

  1. A Beginner’s Guide to Allotments

    A Beginner’s Guide to Allotments

    You’ve had your name on the waiting list for months, you get the phone call and – yes! - you are, at last, an allotment holder. Now you need to plan. 

    The Small Print 

    The first thing is to check over your assigned allotment to ensure all is good. Ask the council (if council owned) or site representative if any extra services are available. Some will rotavate plots free of charge - but only do this if the plot is weed free. Otherwise you will be propagating mare’s tail, bindweed and couch grass. 

    Check the local rules and regs. There won't be anything too daunting but they should answer questions regarding bonfires, water use, upkeep and any discounts at local shops. 

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  2. Looking After Your Garden in A Heatwave - Take Care, It’s Hot Out There

    Looking After Your Garden in A Heatwave - Take Care, It’s Hot Out There

    Hotter than Tahiti, Brazil and Cor-phew! Headlines scream ‘heatwave’ as gardens plead for help. It is warm and dry so here's what to do to keep things happy in the garden: 

    Water, obviously, is required and in the absence of rain your hosepipe will be on red alert. Use water wisely and only water plants that need water! Established trees and shrubs will be fine in the dry weather but baskets, containers and anything newly planted will need your help. And leave your lawn alone as, yes, it will turn beige but equally, yes, it will turn green when it rains again. 


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  3. Pop Veg – Creating a Veg Patch with a Raised Bed

    Pop Veg – Creating a Veg Patch with a Raised Bed

    Who would have thought that a major hit in 2005 by pop-combo Westlife could be attributed to your back garden veg plot? Oh yes, I can exclusively reveal that the song ‘You Raise Me Up’ (you know the one - big ballad type affair perfect at weddings and maybe even funerals?) was inspired by the grow-your-own movement and the use of raised beds. I know it’s hard to believe, and may even shatter many emotional memories, but in these days of fake news, anything goes.  And apologies if the song is now in your head or you’ve had to look it up.  

    vegetable patches in raised beds

    And cue piano…

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  4. How gardening can boost your serotonin levels

    How gardening can boost your serotonin levels

    There's been quite a lot of discussion regarding depression and serotonin levels in recent years. Serotonin, the chemical in our brains responsible for mood regulation and overall emotional balance, is often linked to depression when levels fall out of a healthy range and can sometimes require chemical boosting in order to restore more healthy numbers. However, there has been promising research suggesting gardening can help boost these levels naturally.

    Mycobacterium Vaccae

    Mycobacterium vaccae are a family of harmless bacteria that live within the soil. These bacteria are responsible for normal soil functioning and ensure vegetation is able to grow within their conditions. However, studies published in the Neuroscience journal of March, 2007 suggest that being exposed to these bacteria can help alleviate many common ailments and trigger serotonin production to help combat depression.

    However, arguments exist on how exactly these bacteria are

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  5. How to reduce stress by gardening

    How to reduce stress by gardening

    Gardening is a productive hobby to have and can lead to your outdoor areas looking spectacular, plus it can also be very good for your health. It has been found to act almost like a type of therapy and it can be very useful in reducing stress. This is a relatively well-known phenomenon, but the extent to which it can improve people’s lives is generally underestimated.

    The paper ‘Health, well-being and social inclusion: therapeutic horticulture in the UK’, by Joe Sempik et al., sets out the results of a study into the effect of gardening as a form of health and social care. The study found that a lot of the people participating in the social gardening projects appreciated having a routine and a structure to their day and they also enjoyed being able to spend time outside, taking part in a physical activity. Part of this was attributed to the f

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