Gardening at Hope Springs Farm
April 17, 2019; Elyse Erdman
Horticulture, the art or practice of garden cultivation and management, provides a connection between Growers’ efforts and results of growing something here at Hope Springs Farm. They gain a sense of accomplishment and pride when they grow something they can eat and share with their family and friends. We have an exciting new horticulture therapy program being integrated into our programming, run by Nora Palmer from Delaware Valley University. Horticultural therapy is proven to improve cognitive abilities, socialization, language skills, and task initiation within adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism. In the physical sense, horticultural therapy can help strengthen muscles, and improve coordination, balance, and endurance. Growers learn to work independently and as a team, problem solve, and follow directions through this form of therapy. Many different varieties of flowers and herbs grow around the property that the Growers can cut and take home. Apple, Cherry, Pear, and Peach trees provide fall fruit for cooking and canning crafts. Horseradish, Garlic, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries and Strawberries comeback year after year and provide the Growers plenty of summer fruit for crafts and snacks. Our Growers learn how to care for all the plants and even start most of our vegetables from seeds over the winter in the greenhouse. Lettuce, Parsley, Dill, Radishes, Cherry Tomatoes, Cabbage, Arugula, and Spinach are just some of the vegetables grown in the greenhouse over the winter and in early spring. Carrots, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Celery, Beets, Squash, Broccoli, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Onions, and Peppers are germinated into plants in the greenhouse to be transplanted to the raised beds in late spring. We also grow sweet corn during the summer. We have over 40 raised garden beds, dozens of blueberry and raspberry bushes, and several different types of fruit trees, as well as hundreds of varieties of flowers all around the Farm. Some horticulture activities designed by Palmer for our Growers are plant bingo, garden notebooks, fall scavenger hunt, and nature sun catchers. She has lots of activities planned for every different season aimed at helping the Growers improve different skills.
Donations of gift cards from local home and gardening stores or nurseries are helpful in providing Growers the opportunity to grow plants and flowers here at the farm. We do a lot of shopping at Lowes, Home Depot, Stauffers of Kissell Hill, and Ashcombes. Or you can CLICK HERE to donate to the program.
Thank you for your support of gardening at Hope Springs Farm.