We've all been rediscovering old hobbies and gardening is a firm favourite. The glorious spring weather has got us all out in our gardens!
The health and wellbeing benefits of gardening have long been known, and with the current situation, it’s even more important.
There are many benefits to be had from gardening including great all-round exercise, improving strength, endurance, flexibility and burning calories, also getting vital fresh air and vitamin D. Gardening is a great stress reliever, reducing depression and anxiety symptoms and generally making you feel happier. It’s a great way of including the whole family and community in an activity.
So even if you have a small yard, a balcony or just a window box, getting your hands dirty in your urban garden will create a calm, green environment to enjoy all year round.
1. Nothing is better than growing your own food so start with something simple and easy to grow.
Choose a pack of seeds that you know you can handle such as salad leaves and herbs inside on the windowsill, tomato plants in a grow bag, strawberries in hanging baskets or runner beans and potatoes in big pots.
2. Be thrifty, you don’t need to spend much money on your garden.
Reuse a container, an old bread bin or set of drawers make an ideal home for plants. Share and swap your seedlings and plants with a neighbour, there are only so many runner beans one family can eat!
3. Get the whole family involved.
Growing cress, sunflowers and tomatoes in a paper cup is quick and easy. Decorate the garden with painted pebbles, make a fairy door, paint a bird box, make a scarecrow or make a wildflower crown out of daisies, twigs and leaves.
4. Encourage wildlife into your garden as this will help keep down pests.
Make a bee hotel, log pile or a hedgehog box and avoid using pesticides and slug pellets in your garden if possible. Butterflies and bees are drawn to wildflowers so dedicate a small area for low maintenance wildflower seeds to encourage wildlife.
What to do now
Plant out your young plants into larger containers or plant out into your veg patch, ensuring they are supported and protected from frost.
Sow seeds directly outdoors. Carrots, beetroot and lettuce, wildflowers and sunflowers can go directly into the garden.
It’s a busy time for wildlife, make sure you keep your bird feeders and bird baths topped up and leave some food out for hedgehogs.
Earth up your potatoes.
Keep on top of the weeds.