Winter gardening: say aloe to my little friend

CONTRIBUTED IMAGE / THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Last Tuesday, January 21 marked the darkest day of the year. 

 

We are in the thick of winter and now more than ever students are struggling with their mental health. 

 

Winter is often associated with poor mental health, sadness, and even depression. This phenomenon is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

 

During winter there is less sunlight, greenery and people tend to stay indoors. This leads to less serotonin, the happy hormone, which might explain why mental health suffers during winter.   

 

Contributed Image / The Sputnik Photography

 

To combat the dark winter days and SAD, students have turned to gardening in winter.

 

Gardening in winter may seem like a paradox, however, many students have found creative ways to grow gardens in their limited space and budgets. 

 

Jaeda Brefo, a Laurier Brantford student, has recently started growing a Cat Palm plant and a Dumbcane plant. 

 

Contributed Image / The Sputnik Photography

 

Both plants are easy to grow as they require minimal sunlight and to be watered whenever the soil is dry. 

 

“I enjoy taking care of my plants, they are like my children […] they bring me peace,” said Brefo.

 

Another student utilized their extra closet space with an Areogarden.

 

Contributed Image / The Sputnik Photography

 

Areogardens claim to be foolproof, dirt-free, indoor gardens that make it easy to grow all year round.

 

Although Areogardens are pricey, the return on investment is high because students can save a lot by growing their own herbs and vegetables. 

 

Common herbs and vegetables grown in Aerogardens include dill, mint, thyme, peppers, parsley, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and much more. 

 

Others find growing cactuses, succulents and aloe plants to be easy as they require bare minimum effort. 

 

These plants thrive with little sunlight and water. A window ledge would be perfect for them. 

 

For those who want a plant with a story, they should consider buying a money tree. 

 

The folklore story behind money trees is that a poor man prayed for money but instead found the tree. 

 

Contributed Image / The Sputnik Photography

 

The man then sold the tree’s seeds for money. As a result, money trees are said to bring fortune to the owner—what student could not use some extra cash? 

 

Another plant favourite of many students is Bamboo. This plant is infamously known for purifying the air. 

 

The Journal of Environmental Horticulture claims that access to greenery and green spaces does reduce psychological distress, depression symptoms, clinical anxiety, and mood disorders in adults

 

If students are dealing with similar issues perhaps having plants might be a way to bring some light into their life.

 

Walters Greenhouse, located on 363 Governors Lane, is a local nursery that students can turn to for beautiful and affordable plants or trees. 

 

Diane Hutchinson, a Walters Greenhouse representative, emphasizes patience when it comes to gardening in winter. 

 

“The biggest thing to know is that it is ok if the plant doesn’t work out, even us professionals kill plants sometimes,” said Hutchinson. 

 

She recommends contacting them for curbside pick up and asking questions so that students can find the right plant for them.

 

 

Contributed Image / The Sputnik Photography

 

“When you buy your plants ask, does this like the amount of light I have? What type of watering does it like? Also know what type of plant parent you are, do you like to forget about it, or do you want something that needs a bit more work, plants can easily be killed with kindness. With this knowledge you can start small and eventually grow your own jungle,” she said.

 

Plants can be really rewarding to owners because it shows them that they are capable of keeping something alive. 

 

You might start out thinking you are nurturing your plant, but in the long run you will find that your plant is nurturing you. 

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