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  • Author or Editor: Chun-Yen Chang x
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There is a growing body of literature that explores the benefits of school gardening for children, but few studies have been conducted in Taiwan. Even fewer studies have examined which factors influence the benefits that children derive from these activities. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the benefits of school gardening for children in Taiwan and also identify the factors influencing these benefits. This study used qualitative research methods, which consisted of interviewing 43 elementary school students who had extensive experience with gardening, and used a general inductive approach to analyze the data. The study also used a quantitative approach to statistically compare gender differences, which found that there were some differences in preference for gardening between boys and girls in Taiwan. The results also identify seven benefits children can derive from school gardening, including increasing life skills, producing pleasant feelings, improving relationships and having plants as companions, acquiring new knowledge, experiencing the aroma and flavor of fruits and vegetables, improving health, and increasing connection to nature. Some of these benefits of school gardening have not been mentioned in previous studies and can be considered to be new, such as having plants as companions. Additionally, this study found 20 factors that influence the benefits of school gardening. Of these, eight were about plants, seven about activities, two about outdoor environments, and three about other participants. Most of the factors provide more than one benefit. The factors with the greatest impact have the most number of benefits that influence children and include “appearance, odor and texture,” “hands-on,” and “outdoor natural elements.” These factors help us to realize the unique characteristics of gardening, highlight the distinctiveness, and increase the indispensability of gardening activities.

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Race 1 of Plasmodiophora brassica isolated from high altitude of vegetable production district induced clubroot on cabbage, and Chinese cabbage. Inoculation of race from northwestern coast of Taiwan resulted clubroot of Chinese cabbage neither in cabbage. The addition of bark slag or silica slag significantly decreased clubroot infection and increased the weight of Chinese cabbage in the infected field. The addition of 3 gram slaked lime +1 gram KC1 +1.78 gram ammonium sulfate + 1 gram calcium superphosphate at 500 gram soil 2 month after transplanting increased dry wight of cabbage and decreased infection root hair followed by inoculation of race 1.

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Nature and health researchers have often suggested that nature induces better psychological and physical health responses than urban environments, especially with healthy ecosystems in nature. However, research that has empirically documented the daily benefits of physical and psychological health in rural landscapes is scarce. This study explores how rural landscapes could provide better health benefits than the built environment in daily life. The research involved on-site data collection with a set of psychological indicators (e.g., restorativeness, preference, emotion) and physical indicators (e.g., brain waves, heart rate) to compare the rural and the built environments. A total of 169 subjects took part in the study. We analyzed health indicators through analysis of variance to show the difference in water landscapes in rural areas relative to the built environment after the participants experienced the environments. The results showed that subjects could release stress and felt a greater sense of restorativeness, pleasure, and arousal in rural areas than in the built environment. Subjects preferred the rural landscape more than the built environment. To conclude, this study explains the rural landscape and its health-related benefits in Taiwan.

Open Access

Research has confirmed that there are physical and mental benefits associated with performing horticultural activities, such as being in contact with soil and viewing plants. In addition, due to the rapidly increasing volume of affective neuroscience research, it is now possible to understand emotional processing in the brain through neuroimaging. The present study was conducted to explore subjects’ emotional responses after participating in horticultural activities, with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the Profile of Mood States used for physiological and psychological measurements, respectively. First, the subjects’ baseline brain activation levels were determined before any engagement in horticultural activities. A week later, the subjects participated in a 5-week horticultural activity. fMRI was used to detect physiological changes during the different stages of the activity—namely, preparation and sowing, fertilizing and weeding, and harvesting. The findings show that the functional connectivity of the brain regions was activated, including the emotional prosody network. Hence, this study provides evidence that gardening can stimulate functional connectivity, activation of positive emotions, and mindfulness in the brain. The findings provide a neuroscientific understanding of the types of horticultural activities that increase positive emotions, meditation, creativity, attention, and relaxation and reduce depression.

Open Access