NDSU Extension - Sargent County

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Horticulture as Therapy

Horticulture as Therapy“You should check out the high tunnel to see everything that’s growing there,” my friend Matt Olson said to me earlier this week.  Matt works for the Wild Rice Soil Conservation District.  He, and others from that office, are high tunnel enthusiasts. 

He didn’t need to twist my arm.  During my lunch break that very same day I headed out to the high tunnel to take a look.

Sure enough, little green plants were pushing their way up through the soil, ready to play catch up with the bedding plants that were already well established, green and growing.  The smell of the soil and the warmth of the structure itself were definitely therapeutic for me – it just simply felt good to be there!

Beyond just the good feeling that we can experience in an environment such as a high tunnel, horticulture therapy is a real, credible, and respected time-proven practice.  Working in a garden has positive effects on people. 

Horticultural therapy is recognized as being beneficial and effective, and it is widely used within a broad range of rehabilitative, vocational, and community settings.

Horticultural therapy techniques can be employed to assist participants in learning new skills or regaining those that have been lost. Horticultural therapy can also help improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization.

Within physical rehabilitation programs, horticultural therapy can help strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance, and endurance.

In vocational or occupational settings, horticulture therapy can help people learn to work independently, problem solve, and follow directions. 

Horticultural therapists are professionals with specific education, training, and credentials in the use of horticultural for therapy and rehabilitation.  Persons who have an interest in people and plants, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, could make a career of it here in our part of the world.

NDSU Extension offers a wide variety of print and video resources online for horticulture and gardening.  The gateway to many of the resources is this website:  https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/lawns_gardens_trees

Additionally, NDSU Extension in Sargent county is hosting a Spring Gardening Workshop on the evening of Wednesday, May 15.  Pollinator gardening, and identifying and controlling weeds in lawns and gardens will be the main topics at the workshop.  Call 724-3355 by May 10 for more information and to sign-up to attend.

SOURCE:  American Horticulture Therapy Association, https://www.ahta.org/horticultural-therapy

Photo Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Strawberry_greenhouse.jpg (downloaded 5/14/19)


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