Sprouting seeds of good health while socially distancing

“Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners” – George Washington

I don’t know about you all, but for me, 2020 has started out to be an eventful year with many unexpected twists and turns!  I’m sure many of you are thinking the same thing; how surreal and unbelievable this experience is with the COVID-19 virus.  While it’s probably an understatement to say this is devastating, no one word can convey the emotion of what is happening in our world right now.

With all this uncertainty and instability, I find a great sense of comfort turning to the things I can choose and control for myself and my family. 

Having this extra time at home, as unexpected as it is, has offered me an opportunity to try something I’ve been wanting to do for a about 10 years; start a garden.  I actually began the planning process back in December. My cousin Aron is an avid gardener and I decided to tap into his expertise. We met in January to talk in detail about the design, as there were a number of considerations. A big one, because I live in an area that has a lot of wildlife: deer, bunnies, raccoon etc., we knew we would need to build a fence in order to protect the vegetables. Once we settled on a design, we discussed what I wanted to plant and grow. It seemed as though, by the time we had our plan in place, BOOM, the virus was upon us.  So, turning lemons into lemonade, this turned out to be the perfect project to tackle with all this new-found time on my hands.

In the early days discussing the project, we had to decide whether to plant directly in the soil or create raised beds. We opted for directly in the soil and in December, Aron placed a black tarp over the area which would become the garden. This is a technique called “smothering.” Basically, it blocks the grass from natural elements such as rain, sun and oxygen.  Smothering helps to kill the grass we can see, but more importantly the roots as well. I learned this would make it easier to till and maintain the natural dirt once it was time to start planting the garden. 

I learned placing a tarp over the ground is a technique called “smothering.”

Like so many things in life, I am discovering every day what works best.  Some issues and a few challenges have come up, but I remind myself to stop, listen, be patient and a solution will present itself. A particular joy for me, as this new garden has taken shape, is Maci’s interest in it. She is right there with us, helping and learning what we are doing.  It offers a wonderful outdoor experience and education for her, especially now with generally being confined to home.

All of us are finding new ways to occupy our time and hopefully focusing on the positives in our world. I look forward to sharing the progress of our garden over the coming months.

I hope you are all taking care and staying healthy. You probably know by now that I’m very passionate about good nutrition. I believe it is so important, not just for good physical health, but mental health as well. It may be difficult to start a garden this particular spring, but you can choose to focus on creating a better nutrition plan for you and your family.

Some of my favorite places to get ideas, inspiration and motivation are these sites:

  • Unbound Wellness  – a great place for meal planning and recipes.  All organic and whole foods.  Focusing on gluten free, paleo and kept diets. 
  • Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain  – focuses on wellness recipes and has nice ideas for kids.  Also has cookbooks if you like more tangible option.  Gluten free, vegan and other diet restrictions.  Easy to make. 
  • Fit Foodie Finds  – more of a lifestyle and wellness site.  Great for recipes, ideas and inspiration.  Easy to make and great for family. 
  • Dr. Axe.com  – one of my favorites for information, ideas and supplements.  Great site for understanding wellness and overall well being.

These are just some of my favorites.  I have many more you can see at my website maciandpebble.com


Marikay Cuthill is mother of Maci, a vibrant, curious 14-year-old on the Autism Spectrum, and the founder of Maci And Pebble, a community dedicated to helping people navigate autism by finding answers, direction and peace of mind. Learn more at www.maciandpebble.com


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