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This is a difficult time for us all with the uncertainties that lie ahead and restrictions that have been put on us and our friends and families. The key is not to let it get us down as we will get through this period.
One way of keeping busy and taking your mind off things is to garden. No matter the space you have, from a windowsill to an outdoors area, we can all plant, care-take and watch nature unfold.
Those with little or no garden space can make use of windowsills to grow herbs, or place hanging baskets of trailing tomatoes near a bright window. This is a great way to introduce children to gardening, where they can use small pots to plant quick growing varieties such as mustard or cress seed (these don’t even need compost - just place them on damp cotton wool). Chives are another quick grower that would suit the windowsill. There are lots of different pots or space-saving raised beds available now including those that hang on walls or fences.
Lettuce and chives are other examples of quick growing seeds that the kids can help with.
Those with garden space but don’t want to dig up areas can use raised beds for vegetables. This also makes gardening easier as there is less bending to ground level. It also means crops such as carrots can easily be grown (in deep beds) as they don’t like stony ground. We can make our own raised beds if you have any materials such as cement blocks, fencing, or old tyres lying around. The instructions written on seed packets are very easy to follow - some seeds can be germinated indoors (such as a conservatory) or greenhouse before planting outside, but others can be sown directly outdoors. Don’t be scared to give it a go, for all ages!
When planting we should encourage as much wildlife as possible which will, in turn, control pests such as aphids and caterpillars. To do this we should not spray with pesticides, but let nature do its job. Mix flowers in with the vegetable patch, such as marigolds. Butterflies will eat the aphids and can be attracted by planting herbs to flower and then the birds will eat the caterpillars. Feeding the birds over the winter will also encourage them.
Remember to look out of those windows and watch the blackbirds preparing for their chicks and those light nights stretching, and do enjoy the Springtime!