No surprises here:
[Dr. Jill] Litt’s research has shown that community gardens are affordable and accessible to people across the lifespan — regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status or educational background. She found that community gardeners cultivate relationships with their neighbors, are more involved in civic activities, stay longer in their neighborhoods, eat better and view their health more positively. In fact, 20 minutes of gardening a day translated to statistically higher ratings of health. Moreover, people who garden found their neighborhoods to be safer, cleaner and more beautiful, regardless of educational and income status. These differences were rooted in the cultural, social and ecological connections created within the garden setting. The co-benefits of gardens stem from their ability to support healthy eating and active living. More than 50% of gardeners meet national guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake compared to 25% of non-gardeners. Gardeners report they get 12 hours a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity, which is about 30% more exercise than non-gardeners get.
Even if you have minutes to yourself each day, you can grow your own lettuce. Nothing could be simpler. You will need:
1 window box with reservoir bottom
1 packet leaf lettuce seeds
1 bag of organic potting soil
Open a hole in the corner of the bag and pour dirt into the window box.
Open a hole in the packet of lettuce seeds. Lettuce seeds are very tiny; the packet may contain a smaller inner envelope. If so: open that too.
Pour about 1/4 of the lettuce seeds into the palm of your hand. Close that hand. Remember to keep it closed until I tell you to open it. NOT YET, WISEASS.
With your other hand, draw two parallel furrows lengthwise into the dirt in the window box.
Open your seed-containing hand, take pinches of tiny lettuce seeds and sprinkle them up and down the length of the furrows. You’re going to think, Uh, heads of lettuce need room. But leaf lettuce is mostly little leaves and need almost no room, so sprinkle away.
Gently turn the soil over a little until it’s flat. Now water the dirt. Stop short of making mud.
Leave the window box where sunlight falls on it and critters leave it alone. Water it every third day or so unless you’ve left it somewhere it gets rain.
If the bottom’s sodden, dump out extra water.
That’s it. Lettuce will grow if you do nothing else to this. It’ll take you about as much time and effort as moisturizing a packet of sea monkeys. And who doesn’t love those? – Just not in salad.