Updated: May 16, 2022
By Dr. Rachel Rosenberg Goldstein , Jon Traunfeld , Emily Healey , and Cameron Smith
healthy garden healthy you logo

Mental health and food insecurity are two of the greatest public health challenges facing our nation.

Gardening provides access to fresh, healthy produce and can also improve mental health. In this project, we are combining health information with gardening tools for community members in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County Maryland, including a large number of racial and ethnic minority populations and individuals below the Federal Poverty Level. Community members will learn how to start their own garden, how to choose the safest water sources for their garden, and how gardening can improve their mental health. For more information about this project please visit the NIH National Library of Medicine funding page

Small-Space Gardening Toolkit

This toolkit is designed for those who wish to start a garden in an urban setting or small space. It includes a variety of videos, articles, and research papers that focus on gardening tips, how to start a garden in a small space, and the benefits of gardening on your mental and physical health.

Gardening Tips

Reading a Seed Packet PDF
This University of Maryland Extension resource shows how to read the front and back of a seed packet for two different vegetables. It includes detailed notes on where to find information on requirements, planting instructions, and how long vegetables take to grow among other helpful information.

Growing Healthy Futures
This series of videos by Rainbow Community Development Center (RCDC) Montgomery County Master Gardeners provides step-by-step instructions on planting seeds, harvesting leafy greens, cilantro, and radishes, and how to maintain your container garden.

How to Start a Vegetable Garden
Learn more about the 6 basic steps to start your own vegetable garden including how to plan, choose a site, prepare soil, plant, maintain your garden, and harvest from the University of Maryland Extension.

Planning a Vegetable Garden
Learn more from the University of Maryland Extension about what to consider when selecting a location for your garden and how to arrange the vegetables in your garden.

Starting a Vegetable Garden
Learn about how to plan and prepare for your garden and how to successfully plant and produce your vegetables from this video by the University of Maryland Extension Baltimore County.

Growing Vegetables in Containers
Learn more about how you can grow vegetables from a container garden from the University of Maryland Extension. This article focuses on the location of the container garden and what you can grow in the garden.

Baltimore City

Baltimore City Master Gardener Container Vegetable Gardening PresentationLearn about how to successfully start your own container vegetable garden and about the advantages, requirements, maintenance, and soil options.

University of Maryland Extension Baltimore City Office
This University of Maryland Extension Baltimore City resource provides information on classes, events, and Master Gardener programs among other important resources.

Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks City Farms
This Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks website provides information on local garden beds that can be rented. This program provides a way to be mentored and learn more about gardening.

Baltimore City Department of Public Works Baltimore GROW Centers
This resource provides more information on the Baltimore GROW Centers such as their mission and how to get involved with this program.

DPW Launches Food Waste Drop-off Pilot Program
This Baltimore City Department of Public Works website provides information on the food scrap collection program for composting and discusses the importance of the program to the community.

Baltimore Compost Collective
Learn about how you can be involved in this Baltimore Compost Collective program. This resource discusses their mission and how you can become involved in the program.

Prince George's County

How to Garden with Ranger George
This video will show you how to maintain and water your vegetables with the help of Ranger George from Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County.

University of Maryland Extension Prince George’s County Office
This University of Maryland Extension Prince George’s County resource provides information on classes, events, and Master Gardener programs among other important resources.

Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation Community Garden Plots
This resource provides more information on community garden plots in Prince George’s County, including how you can find these community gardens and how you can be involved.

Curbside Organics Collection
Learn more about composting and food scraps collection at Prince George’s County including why this is important, how you can be involved, and what the organics composting facility does.

Gardening Health Benefits

Healthy Gardens, Healthy You Factsheet (PDF)
Download this printable infographic on the positive impacts of gardening on mental health.

Why gardening is good for your mental health
This video by Johnsons of Wixley, a large European commercial nursery business, focuses on the potential mental health benefits from gardening.

Plants, the microbiome, and mental health
This video by Christopher A. Lowry from TEDXMileHigh focuses on important species of bacteria and microorganisms in different types of vegetables and how consuming a range of these vegetables and increased exposure to nature can improve mental health in addition to providing benefits to physical health.

Mayo Clinic Minute: Benefits of tending a garden
This video by Mayo Clinic Minute discusses the benefits of gardening such as lowering stress levels and increasing physical activity as well as a few examples of what vegetables you can grow in your vegetable garden.

Plants: Partners in Health- Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, and You
This story from NIH News in Health explains the health benefits related to eating more fruits and vegetables and starting your own garden for gardeners of all ages.

Better Nutrition Every Day- How to choose healthier foods and drinks
Learn more about the importance of including healthier food options in your daily diet for families and individuals of all ages from this story in NIH News in Health. Access to a local garden is one way to provide easier access to healthy foods providing an improvement in the nutritional value of food consumed.

Home gardening and urban agriculture for advancing food and nutritional security in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
This research paper focuses on the topic of food insecurity and the need for “more resilient food systems” and stronger “local food production” and home gardens can be a major factor in improving these elements (Lal, 2020)

Gardening for Health: a Regular Dose of Gardening
This research paper focuses on the benefits of gardening on mental and physical health and the importance of local officials providing more open space for gardening which also provides positive benefits for the natural environment (Thompson, 2018).

Emotional Well-Being While Home Gardening Similar To Other Popular Activities Study Finds 
This fact sheet focuses on the positive effects of gardening on “people’s emotional well-being” and “providing food security in urban areas and making cities more sustainable and livable”. 

Why Garden- Attitudes and Perceived Health Benefits of Home Gardening
This research paper focuses on a group of individuals who garden in the UK, why they garden, their motivations to garden, and the overall benefits they experienced related to gardening on their physical and mental health depending on how much time they spent in the garden (Chalmin-Pui et al., 2021). This resource provides excellent input as to why the addition of home gardens is a positive addition 

Gardening is Beneficial for Health
This research paper focuses on the positive effects of gardening and “horticultural therapy” such as an increase in “quality of life” and a decrease in mental health concerns such as depression through this research (Soga et al., 2016).

Community Gardening Toolkit

This toolkit is designed for individuals who would like to create or start a community garden. It includes a variety of resources such as videos, articles, and research papers focusing on how to garden and the benefits of a garden for the overall community.

Gardening Tips

Reading a Seed Packet PDF
This University of Maryland Extension resource shows how to read the front and back of a seed packet for two different vegetables. It includes detailed notes on where to find information on requirements, planting instructions, and how long vegetables take to grow among other helpful information.

Growing Healthy Futures
This series of videos by Rainbow Community Development Center (RCDC) Montgomery County Master Gardeners provides step-by-step instructions on planting seeds, harvesting leafy greens, cilantro, and radishes, and how to maintain your container garden.

Planning a Vegetable Garden
Learn more from the University of Maryland Extension about what to consider when selecting a location for your garden and how to arrange the vegetables in your garden.

How to Start a Vegetable Garden
Learn more about the 6 basic steps to start your own vegetable garden including how to plan, choose a site, prepare soil, plant, maintain your garden, and harvest from the University of Maryland Extension.

Community Gardens- University of Maryland Extension
These resources provided by the University of Maryland Extension provide information on how to create a community garden and how to find a local community garden.

Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation Community Garden Plots
This resource provides more information on community garden plots in Prince George’s County, including how you can find these community gardens and how you can be involved.

Growing Vegetables in Containers
Learn more about how you can grow vegetables from a container garden from the University of Maryland Extension. This article focuses on the location of the container garden and what you can grow in the garden.

Community Gardening Health Benefits

Building Community One Garden at a Time
This video by TEDXNewBedford from Zoe Hansen-DiBello focuses on the benefits of having a community garden and/or school garden and how it can create stronger communities.

Nurturing Healthy Neighborhoods- Communities Affect Health
This story from NIH News in Health  focuses on a variety of ways that individuals can live in a healthier environment in their neighborhood through more green space access, healthier food options, and how starting a community garden can be just one of many ways to improve you and your community's health.

Gardening for Health: Using Garden Coordinators and Volunteers to Implement Rural School and Community Gardens 
This research paper shows the potential health benefits related to starting a community or school garden. This includes the gardeners experiencing several benefits that they reported due to participating in community gardens and an increase in collaboration within the community (Stluka et al., 2019)

Youth Gardening Toolkit

This toolkit is designed for youth and parents who are interested in gardening and includes a variety of resources such as videos, articles, and research papers focusing on how to start a garden, what to grow, resources for youth gardeners, and the benefits of gardening for youth.

Gardening Tips

Reading a Seed Packet PDF
This University of Maryland Extension resource shows how to read the front and back of a seed packet for two different vegetables. It includes detailed notes on where to find information on requirements, planting instructions, and how long vegetables take to grow among other helpful information.

Growing Healthy Futures
This series of videos by Rainbow Community Development Center (RCDC) Montgomery County Master Gardeners provides step-by-step instructions on planting seeds, harvesting leafy greens, cilantro, and radishes, and how to maintain your container garden.

Planning a Vegetable Garden
Learn more from the University of Maryland Extension about what to consider when selecting a location for your garden and how to arrange the vegetables in your garden.

How to Start a Vegetable Garden
Learn more about the 6 basic steps to start your own vegetable garden including how to plan, choose a site, prepare soil, plant, maintain your garden, and harvest from the University of Maryland Extension.

Growing Vegetables in Containers
Learn more about how you can grow vegetables from a container garden from the University of Maryland Extension. This article focuses on the location of the container garden and what you can grow in the garden.

Youth Gardening and School Gardens Resources

Youth Gardening- University of Maryland Extension
These resources provided by University of Maryland Extension focus on how to create, promote and support youth gardening programs.

Guide to Starting a School Garden
This video from the UMD Extension Home and Garden Information Center provides information on how a school garden can be created as described by a former Garden and Nutrition Educator at Baltimore's Hampstead Hill Academy

Baltimore Compost Collective
Learn about the Baltimore Compost Collective program. This resource discusses their mission and how you can become involved in the program.

Youth Gardening Benefits

Plants: Partners in Health- Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, and You
This story from NIH News in Health explains the health benefits related to eating more fruits and vegetables and starting your own garden for gardeners of all ages.

Be a Green Kid
Learn how you can be a “green kid” by being in nature and making a difference for the environment. This resource focuses on a variety of topics that youth can learn to participate in including gardening, recycling, and much more!

Benefits of Gardening for Children
This fact sheet from the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center shows the many benefits that children can experience from participating in gardening such as improvements in diet, nutrition, social skills, and overall attitude.