Thanks to generous donations from Millcreek Gardens, Barebones Living, ZAGG, and BioGrass, Salt Lake County Youth Service’s Learning Gardens got a new lease on life last year. Beautiful garden boxes, garden soil, compost, mulch and a drip system allowed us provide our clients with a wonderful gardening experience full of plentiful harvests and low maintenance.
This year the Recreation Therapy program is already getting started with the first steps of spring garden preparation. We are looking to increase our efficiency even more by mulching the entire garden space with a newsprint base layer with organic matter on top. Youth Services employees are pitching in by bringing in their used old newspapers to give us a great base layer to further discourage weed growth and evaporation, thus conserving our precious water resources for the fresh vegetables we plan to be serving up all season long.
Not only does our garden program provide fresh veggies for our clients, and a pleasing attraction to our grounds, but it also creates a space for personal growth, learning, and healing. Clients can gain new skills and lead their peers in gardening tasks, or they can reconnect to the familiar if they have gardened with previous caregivers. Gardening offers constructive diversion from stressors, and fosters community as group homes work together to care for and harvest their crops. As Minnie Aumonier, 18th Century poet, put it, “When the world wearies, and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.”
You can enjoy the benefits of gardening by creating some green space in your life wherever it makes sense for you–from a potted plant on your desk to a full scale landscaping project. Conservation Garden Park offers a multitude of free classes covering topics such as vegetable gardens, water-wise landscaping and container gardening. They are a great resource in our community! Wasatch Community Gardens is a great program to participate in if you’d like the experience of working a patch of land alongside fellow community members. However you choose to engage with the green world, you’re bound to reap enhanced well-being, so respond to that spring fever that’s been building inside you and get outside!