Tag Archive | horticultural therapy

If They Grow It……They Will Eat It! (How To Grow Baby Greens With Your Kid)

Ben seeds

I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to gardening. I actually get a buzz when there is a sale on potted perennials, and I believe that there is no such thing as “too many “ seeds. I also love counseling, especially when it comes to working with kids. Imagine my delight when I discovered that there is a way to combine my two passions through an intervention called Horticultural Therapy. Several years ago I enrolled in an online program and now that I am a Certified Horticultural Therapist, I can legitimately engage in my favorite pastime while at work. How cool is that?

I have been gardening with my autistic son, Ben, since he was big enough to hold a seed. If you want to learn more about the many therapeutic benefits of gardening for kids with autism, click HERE to read an article I just had published in Rustik magazine. (BTW, that is Ben in my garden pictured in the magazine article!)  I could go on for hours, maybe even days about how gardening is great for promoting healthy bodies and healthy minds, but I will try to restrain myself. (You don’t want to get me started on that.) However, I will share just ONE of the benefits. From years of gardening with kids, I have learned this: If they grow it, they will eat it. So today, I would like to share with you a simple gardening activity that you can do with your child, niece, nephew or grandchild (or just some random kid you find on the street.)

Baby Greens


Here is all you will need:

-A growing tray (I buy mine at Canadian Tire, less than $2 each).

-Seed starter mix (also at Canadian Tire, less than $4 a bag)

-Lettuce seeds (Get them at a Dollar Store….I buy mine at Dollorama, 3 packs for 99 cents)

-A spray bottle (re-use an old window cleaner bottle, make sure it is WELL washed out!)

Fill the tray with seed starter mix, about 7/8’s full. Sprinkle 1 package of seeds evenly over the soil, use your fingers to even them out. Cover lightly with more seed starter mix (not too much!).   Spray with water until soil is moist. Set on a sunny windowsill and wait. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, and turn the tray daily, as the plants will grow towards the light. In a few weeks, the lettuce will be 4 to 6 inches high, and you can cut it and eat it! Let your little gardener try it in a smoothie, a wrap or a salad. Then start another pack of seeds!

In addition to promoting healthy, organic eating habits, you have given the child a sense of accomplishment, improved self-esteem, a form of stress relief…….I told you not to get me started!



Perk # 88: A Good Reason To Spend More Time In My Garden

Flo’s Garden in May

Gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow.
– Author Unknown

A few years ago, on a sunny day in June, my friend Sherry dropped by for an unexpected visit and found me in my favourite place: my garden.  As I glowed with pride, she commented on my perfectly manicured flower beds, and profusion of healthy  shrubs and trees.  “I don’t know how you manage it all!” she exclaimed.   Then she had the misfortune of coming inside for a cup of coffee and the mystery was solved.   While my flower beds were perfectly made, my beds inside were not.  I couldn’t help but notice the look of shock on her face as a dust bunny the size of a tumble weed rolled across the hardwood floor in front of her.  I could have sworn I heard the strain of old west music, and would not have been the least bit surprised had a cowboy popped out of the closet and challenged us to a shoot out. (I had seen stranger things fall out of that closet!)  In my state of embarrassment, I made a vow to myself that never again would I be caught in this situation.  I would ration my gardening hours to be used only as a reward for completing housework.  That was working out pretty good;  I could walk across my floor without sticking to it (most days), the kids had clean clothes to wear, and I rarely ran out of bread or milk. But then I got cancer.

Cancer gave me a great excuse to once again ignore the housework  and hang out in my garden.  This time however, it is totally legitimate.  You see, I no longer garden for my own selfish pleasure, or even as a means of housework avoidance.  Now gardening is therapeutic, and Horticultural Therapy happens to be a critical component to my recovery plan.   So if you happen to drop by and find my house in a mess while I am happily puttering around in my garden, feel free to throw in a load of laundry.  Hey, it’s no different than when I was on chemo!

Flo’s Laundry Room in May

Tip:  Houswork can wait!