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    Clicking on this link  takes us to an AHRQ "Guideline Summary", Best Evidence Statement...Horticultural therapy for children and adolescents in residential treatment for mental health". Scroll down to the highlighted JUMP TO box, and click on whichever category you like, such as "Recommendations", and after reading that section then explore for further information, such as what added detail there may be that we might be able to apply it practically.

     Of course, these Guidelines are usually (not always) oriented for healthcare professionals with extensive grounding in the topic and skill at using this kind of material, so there may be less how-to than there is confirmation of what's the level of confidence and evidence that the discussed treatment actually helps the problem.

     What I take from this Guideline, 'tho I'm not adolescent nor in residential

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treatment, is that growing what little tomatoes, onions, potatoes (and dandelions) I've managed in my little patch'O'dirt may be helping my depression as well as my grocery budget. Cities with community gardens agree!

     When reading in professional material, I like Wikipedia alongside, for explanations of unfamiliar words and phrases, in this case . The footnotes of sources and external links at the bottom of Wikipedia articles often lead to pretty useful other sites.

     One reason really readily useful health and disability info can be hard to find is the myth that the internet made libraries and librarianship obsolete, resulting in even worse tax support for libraries, less library materials, and fewer and lower paid librarians (tough to make a living workin' for 'the people') who were, among other inestimable capacities, the key to "shortening the road" for ordinary folks needing unusual information and education. So, until western civilization becomes more civilized again, support your local public library, and if you live near a college or university, it may be worthwhile to ask there what use of their libraries and materials a non-student can make: many allow the public to read in the materials there, get research help from staff, make photocopies, etc., even if we can't borrow materials to take home.

     For a first horticulture therapy experiment, 12" patio pots of thyme, basil, and oregano are good. No need to cook for fine aroma therapy, either: crinkle a leaf or two each time you water them and...ah, sniff lovely! Let'em go to flower and seed.  Then when they dry up on their own, snip flower spears off, stick'em in a nice bottle from the thrift store and put on the bookcase or bedtable, or jam dried green into a spare sock, knot the end, and voila - instant spicy-fresh sachet. Even if you kick them around in a temper (or especially so - I used to make little cushions for exactly that), they reward with soothing refreshing fragrance. Even for guys! In winter, clump the pots together so they'll hold up an old mop in a sunny spot, drape a thin clear plastic (sorry) dropcloth over the empty mophead, secure to outer pot edges with old clothespins, and snip 2 or 3 one-inch holes in the plastic half-way up so you don't end up mold-farming. Lift a loose edge of the plastic to pinch-harvest a couple of leaves from your clump'0'horticulture therapy now'n'then across the winter, and inhale!

Originally posted to KosAbility on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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