Gardening is healthy! Gather your garden supplies now to beat the rush

Bob Dluzen
Special to The Detroit News

The plan for our garden this year is to put more emphasis on the food production portion of our garden and somewhat less on the flower garden. We decided to do that last fall, well before this virus crisis developed. The health crisis just solidified our decision.

Health officials are saying things may not settle down until July or possibly August. That, they say, is their longest prediction. If that is the case, that timeline would take us well into the gardening season, even possibly into the harvest season.

It is a well-known fact that fresh vegetables are the basis for a healthy diet. And the freshest vegetables are those you grow and harvest yourself.

Adequate skin exposure to sunshine causes the human body to produce vitamin D in amounts needed to maintain health and boost our immune system. Gardening is a productive way to gain sun exposure. You may get plenty of sun exposure laying out on the beach, but you won’t get any vegetables.

Fresh air is good for health in general. It’s so much better than breathing someone else's previously exhaled, recirculated air inside an office building or even inside your home.

Moderate exercise strengthens your immune system as well, among other things.

All of these positive things happen when you garden making it the absolute healthiest pastime you can do.

Garlic is an antiviral food. It’s best planted in the fall. Ours is up and growing fine.

I suggest you start making plans for your garden now. The 30-day weather outlook is for normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures. That means there’s a good chance that there will be conditions conducive to early planting, something we haven't had for a few years.

If soil moisture conditions permit, it is a good time to prepare your garden beds so you can get a head start on the growing season -- before things get really busy.

If you don’t have access to land to grow a garden, try looking for a community garden in your area. This is the time of year community gardens are offering garden plots, reserve your spot now.

Will greenhouses and plant sellers have enough plants on hand to meet the demand this spring? Probably, but you may not find your first choice for vegetable plants. Maybe you’ll have to settle for cherry tomato plants rather than a slicer variety. This happens often enough during a normal year. The same thing may happen with seeds as inexperienced, prospective gardeners buy more seed than they could ever use in a season.

Purchasing seeds now either at your local gardening center or online will help you beat the rush. If no rush materializes, then you are still ahead of the game.

Long season plants such as tomatoes or peppers need to be started indoors right now, ASAP, so they can be ready for transplanting at the optimum time. If you are growing your own transplants this year, why not grow extra in case family or friends need plants later on?

If you plan to garden this year, don’t get caught short and get your stuff together now.