When the world feels like it's hijacking your mind--bills showing up that demand to be paid, BREAKING news, that is pitched with a catastrophic tone, family demands, work deadlines; the list goes on; there is always the option to escape into nature. We may want to bring a camera with us, as many of us now have one at our disposal in our phone. Once outside, stop, just be, and allow yourself to focus on the scenery around you.
Watch for wildlife that may come out to meet you.
The more still we become, the more we may see.
The more we may discover.
Before long we may not even be aware that our minds have left all our worries behind, and went on a mini vacation to the present moment. Life may take on a new perspective. We may feel connected to something greater, that moves at a peaceful pace.
If we want to take this practice further, maybe we want to consider leaving our camera behind as we venture outdoors. Yes, aghast, leave our phone at home. I can hear some of you shriek, "But what if (fill in the blank needs me)"? Trust me, there was a time when we all survived without being connected to a phone. Maybe you call any dependent people, let them know you will be unavailable for the next hour, and refer them to someone else to call if something urgent comes up. Or maybe you just take small steps-literally just step out onto a balcony, a patio, before venturing off into a park or a forest.
Once outside, just sit and just be. As you sit and be, become aware of all the magnificence nature is surrounding you with. Imagine if you had a fancy camera, one that had a high power zoom lens, what might you try to capture in a picture? Take a picture in your mind and archive it there. Savor it. Enjoy just knowing that you experienced it and maybe someday in the future, you will retrieve it and relive the moment.
Want to share what you find in nature? Post your picture on social media with the hashtag #WowNature. If I see it, I may share it.
Air plants are a great option for people living in small spaces because they don't use soil and require little care. There are many varieties. Many people collect them. Let's take a look at what care they need:
Light: Their preferred light is bright, filtered sunlight. Direct sunlight may burn your air plants.
Water: The more light they receive, the more water they will need. So if you have them close to a light source, you may need to water them twice a week, otherwise, once a week will probably be fine. You can either soak them in water for a few minutes, then allow to dry thoroughly; or mist them with a spray bottle. Do not allow them to sit in water.
Other tips: When they grow in the outdoors, they will attach themselves to other plants. They prefer temperatures between 60-90 degrees. They thrive when there is ventilated air.
There are a lot of creative ways to display air plants. Maybe do a search on pinterest for more inspiration!
Learn more about growing food and other plants in small spaces in our special issue of Healthy Green Thumbs: Link.
It's a new year and the realization that taking care of ourselves is essential to optimizing our health and well-being is growing. One strategy that we may want to integrate into our lives, to achieve this goal, is to grow plants.
Growing plants engages us in nature in many ways. Research shows that 120 minutes a week in nature is required for our physical health and cognitive function. In addition, who doesn't love the taste of a sweet, juicy, pesticide-free tomato picked right from the vine?
So, if you are ready to deepen your relationship with nature, how about starting by growing seeds? Spring is around the corner. Let's talk about which seeds you may want to start indoors in order to get a head start.
First, it is imperative that you identify the last frost date where you live. According to the Farmer's Almanac, "A frost date is the average date of the first or last light freeze that occurs in spring or fall. Note that local weather and topography may cause considerable variations. The probability of frost occurring after the given spring dates and before the given fall dates is 30 percent."
To find out the date specific to where you would like to plant your seeds visit, The Farmer's Almanac Frost Date page.
Now that you know your frost date, let's take a look at some common vegetables and herbs that people like to grow from seed, and when is the best time to start them. Please note, you can also start flowers and other plants indoors, but today we will focus on vegetables and herbs. Always check the instructions on each of the seed packets for specific start times.
Indoor Sowing Guide For Vegetables and Herbs
(Sowing dates noted are before the last frost date that you identified for your area)
10-12 Weeks Before Last Frost Date:
Artichoke, Celery, Eggplant, Rosemary
Dill, Endive, Escarole, Leek
Chives, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Swiss Chard Tarragon, Thyme
Basil, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chamomile, Collards, Fennel, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Okra, Sage, Tomatillo, Tomato, Watercress
Broccoli Raab, Cucumber, Melon, Pumpkin, Squash, Watermelon
Starting plants from seed can be fun and help us connect us to nature's cycle of life, which often reflects our own. To learn more check out our Healthy Green Thumbs™ Videos for more specific details on how to grow seeds indoors:
Starting Tomato Seeds Indoors
Grow Plants From Seed
Order Your Favorite Organic Vegetable, Herb and Flower Seeds Now:
Decorations and costumes will generate tons of waste this year. We can help ease this burden on Mother Nature by consciously decorating and celebrating Halloween in a greener way. Here are four blogs to help spark some ideas for your holiday:
Unplastic Halloween Blog 1.
Unplastic Halloween Blog 2.
Unplastic Halloween Blog 3.
Unplastic Halloween Blog 4.
What ideas can you share that will help eliminate plastic from our Halloween this year?