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Starting and sustaining a backyard vegetable garden
Published: 1/31/2022
With the recent surge of interest in home vegetable gardening, more adults, seniors, and families with children are exploring how they can grow their own vegetables.

MSU Tollgate Farm’s Homegrown Gardening series hosts Extension Educators from across the state to share their knowledge and equip participants with research-based ideas and methods for growing veggies. Over 230 households joined Tollgate for the 2021 series which featured topics such as getting started growing vegetables, seed-starting, growing in small spaces, season extension, and veggie harvest and storage. 
 
Growing Healthy Soils Together
 
Did you know every teaspoon of soil is home to millions of microorganisms and all of them play an essential role in your soil's health? The Tollgate Farm 2022 Homegrown Gardening series kicks off our second Saturday series on Feb. 12 with a session called Healthy Soils for the Backyard Vegetable Garden.

Tollgate’s Sustainable Agriculture Instructor Darby Anderson will explore the inner workings of what goes into healthy soil and dig deep into the soil as an ecosystem, soil testing, organic matter, cover crops, and mulch in the informative virtual offering. Following that session is one on composting for the smart garden with MSU Extension Master Gardener State Program Coordinator Sarah Rautio and MSU Extension Educator Rebecca Krans.

Adaptive Gardening for Health and Wellbeing
 
Studies have shown that gardening is therapeutic in and of itself and growing one’s own food is as healthy as it is satisfying. According to the study Gardening is Beneficial for Health: A Meta-analysis in Science Direct, “gardening can improve physical, psychological, and social health, which can, from a long-term perspective, alleviate and prevent various health issues facing today's society.”

Gardening combines physical activity and exposure to nature and sunlight with positive outcomes for the gardener. A special request from one of last year’s participants spurred the design of a special workshop on adaptive gardening. On July 9, the Michigan Horticultural Therapeutic Association will lead a morning hybrid workshop on Adaptive Gardening for Health and Wellbeing. This special hybrid session will explore adaptive gardening and tools and the positive effects gardening has on social, physical, and mental health. The proper use of tools, posture, and other adaptive resources and the beneficial activities used in horticultural therapy can help individuals benefit from plants and gardening.
 
The 2022 session will once again bring the experience of MSU Extension to gardeners of all ages with sessions on sustainable methods for the home vegetable garden, seasons in the garden, edible landscapes, garden pests, adaptive gardening, and how to safely preserve homegrown produce. All sessions are virtual, but some are in a hybrid format where participants can choose to zoom in from home or attend the farm for an in-person presentation. Explore the joys and benefits of vegetable gardening with inspiring Homegrown Gardening workshops designed to be fun and engaging.

Click here to learn more or to register. Email koehle43@msu.edu with questions.