18 September 2009

Teaching the homeless gardening myths...

I just saw this story in the New York Times about a community center in the Bronx teaching the homeless gardening skills. Either the reporter didn't understand what was going on, or the "skills" being taught are fairly useless. First, they're dusting all their cuttings with Vitamin B1 shows up in this list of gardening myths to beware of. The reporter also quotes the teacher telling them how to root cuttings and telling them not to tear the bark... Um, okay. But you know, wounding is a key step in cutting propagation. Some studies have found actually crushing the stem with a hammer works wonders.
I love the idea of teaching people down on their luck how to garden -- gardening is the best therapy. But how about actually teaching them to garden not spreading myths?

1 comment:

Misty said...

The Life Skills one learns from gardening go beyond what vitamins to nurture the plants with. Some studies (e.g., Hoffman, Trepagnier, Thompson, & Cruz, 2003; Myers, 1998; Zimmerman, 2000) suggest participation in gardening has positive effects on self-esteem and self-efficacy. "An increase in positive feelings about oneself" (Miller & Keys, 2001, p. 349) promotes a sense of dignity among homeless individuals. Participation in gardening has positive effects on psychological well-being (Gauvin & Spence, 1996). It also improves memory and concentration, reduces stress and anger, teaches responsibility, eases emotional pain due to bereavement or abuse, encourages social interaction, cultivates nurturing feelings, and enhances productivity and problem solving (Worden, Frohne, & Sullivan, 2004).