The Optimist View: Spring into Solutions

“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own.” – Charles Dickens

BY AMELIA BUCKLEY

Stepping out of my house last week I was greeted with the ambrosial smell of blooming jasmine –  a sure sign that spring had sprung in my little neighborhood. I spent an extra minute in the soft morning sun, taking deep inhales of the lovely scent around me. After February’s chilling temperatures, I think most of us are breathing a sigh of relief that spring is right around the corner.

With longer days, warmer weather, and blooming flowers, spring carries with it a certain feeling of hope. As Robin Williams once said, “Spring is nature‘s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” For those of us growing weary of our indoor pandemic hobbies, springtime also offers the exciting potential for new activities and projects. Gardening, hiking, cleaning, and refreshing are most definitely on the agenda after a long winter hunkered down in the coziness of our homes. In today’s Best of Spring Optimist View, we’re sharing some of our best solutions for stepping into the season with optimism and inspiration. 

Getting into gardening

First things first, spring means it’s time to dig up those garden beds and plant your summer harvest. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or trying your hand at cultivation for the first time, there’s always room to try new things and diversify our gardens. If you’re a beginner, check out our tips for anyone starting a garden for the first time. It can be daunting to take on a new project like a home garden, but if you start small, stick to the basics, and do your research, you’ll have a flourishing garden in no time. 

If you’re a gardening veteran looking for more of a challenge, check out our guide to growing a garden to feed your whole family. Not only will you get to flex your gardening skills, but you will also save money on groceries and reduce your carbon footprint by eating the most localized food possible. Planning out crops that produce all season long, calculating your yield, and keeping track of how much your family eats are all key components of growing a garden to satisfy even the picky eaters under your roof. You’ll also want to brush up on your canning and drying skills to save some of the goods you grow to enjoy in the winter months. 

Speaking of drying, did you know that drying your own herbs can save you money and reduce your food waste? Best of all, it’s way easier than you may think. All you need is an oven! 

Protecting our Pollinators

Growing produce is deliciously rewarding, but your own backyard is also one of the best resources you have for helping to protect pollinators. If you want to lend a helping hand to bees and bugs, start with this guide from the Xerces Society on identifying native plants in your area and strategies to support pollinators, like harvesting wildflower seeds for redistribution. The biggest thing you can do to protect pollinators is planting flora they love. This guide on pollinator plants is a great place to start with everything from milkweed to support monarch butterflies to large-leaved lupine for the bumble bee. 

If you’re passionate about helping out the local fauna, you can even take on the spring project of transforming your yard into a certified wildlife habitat. By meeting certain food and shelter specifications, your home can officially become a habitat haven for neighborhood creatures. 

Don’t have a yard to cultivate? For our urban dwellers, houseplants are a great way to purify the air in your home, reap the mood-boosting benefits of plants, and use that green thumb. We’re such fans of houseplants here at The Optimist Daily, we created an entire guide to becoming a houseplant master. Check it out for details on plant choice and care. 

Sustainability and Spring Cleaning 

Spring is the time to get your hands dirty in the backyard, but when it comes to dirt inside, we’re a little less enthusiastic. Fortunately, the new season is a great time to conduct a clean-up of your indoor space. If you’re clearing out your closet and coming across old clothes that are too run down to be donated, consider sending them to this fashion brand that repurposes worn goods rather than sending them to the landfill. They’ll even pay you for the items you send in!

We love creative solutions for repurposing clothing, but as spring is the season for growth and change, it’s also a great time to take a good hard look at your sustainability habits as a whole. Small changes around the home are the easiest way to start adopting a greener lifestyle, so check out our guides on sustainable bathroom and kitchen switches that are good for your home and the planet. In the bathroom, some of these include using bamboo toothbrushes, washing with shampoo bars, and taking a look at the potentially hazardous ingredients in your cleaners. In the kitchen, you can green up your routine by composting, avoiding disposable utensils, and joining a CSA program. You can also download this app which tracks your purchases in real time to let you know what goods and activities contribute most to your carbon footprint. 

Growing up, spring time was always a flurry of activity around my home. The farmers market reopened for the season, my mother let my sister and I each pick out a seed packet of choice to sow in the garden, and afternoons were spent collecting the torrent of plums that cascaded down from the tree in the front yard. After a winter of rainy walks and short days, spring was the time of enticing possibility. 

Spring is the season of regrowth and renewal, so whatever projects are on your agenda for this spring, we hope these solutions offer some guidance and inspiration for the months to come. 

About the Author:

Amelia Buckley is a staff writer for the Optimist Daily based in Santa Barbara, CA. As a lover of the outdoors, Amelia is passionate about crafting stories that focus on critical global issues that impact our environment and natural spaces.

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