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Debbie Roland, Master Gardener

This is a stressful time for all of us. Worries about our jobs and our health, our children’s and parent’s health, our finances. Over the last four months I have been struggling with a back issue that has not allowed me to garden or have much social interaction. All of that suddenly seems minor and unimportant.

When I was growing up, my Dad was Postmaster in Midland. It was a time of great change in the post office and he was busy and stressed. Everyday he came home, ate and spent time in his 8’ x 12’ tomato and bell pepper garden. He watered by hand, picked off tomato worms and spent leaves. He received great joy in what that garden produced and loved sharing it with his many friends. As an adult, most days I stopped by after work and he showed me what was growing. I later tried my hand at tomatoes and we had a yearly bet on who would have the first tomato. I now understand what drew him to gardening. I am certain he would be surprised to know that I am now a Master Gardener. It was a seed that he unknowingly planted.

When you are struggling, being outside in the sun, putting your hands in the warm soil, and watching a seed or plant grow, can help you calm down and get you through life’s struggles. There are things we cannot control or predict but gardening can give you peace of mind.

The best thing is that it can be right outside your backdoor. As long as you are home, why not give it a try? Getting exercise in the garden is a good way to lower anxiety, improve your muscle tone and have an overall feeling of well being. The movements all vary which is a great way to lower repetitive use injuries.

Take your kids outside and let them help you while you have their undivided attention. They will get a lesson in nature and biology. For tips, log on to the Texas A&M website listed below and get ideas for teaching your kids while they are out of school. Maybe you can plant that seed in your child’s mind like my Dad in mine.

Master Gardeners have, in the interest of the public we care about, cancelled classes and activities for the immediate future, including the Plant Sale. Please be safe and take care of your families.

If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at and


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