Make The Most of Your Garden During Lockdown

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( — April 10, 2020) — Spring finally arriving heralds a welcome burst of positivity during these particularly challenging times.

So, if you’re spending a lot more time in your home and garden right now, maybe you’re wondering how you can get started in the yard if you’ve never tried growing anything before.

Well, don’t rush in. We’re all likely to be hunkered down for a while longer so turn your attention first to assembling some essential kit.

Essential Tools and Materials

Luckily, you only need a few basics to get started gardening.

Although you might find many garden centers closed right now due to lockdown requirements, you can likely find anything you need online. You might also find that your local garden center is offering a delivery service so why not give them a call?

  • Compost
  • Compost bin 
  • Fork
  • Hand fork
  • Hand trowel
  • Mulching materials (straw, cardboard, grass clippings)
  • Rainwater butt
  • Seeds and seed compost
  • Seed trays
  • Small pots
  • Spade
  • Watering can

With that equipment in place, you’re ready to roll even if you’ve never dabbled in the garden before.

What Do You Want To Grow?

Now, it might seem like an obvious question but what do you want to grow?

Keep things personal and you’re likely to have a far more rewarding experience when you press your green fingers into action.

Examine your motivation and ask yourself some questions.

  • Do you want to grow food?
  • Are you looking for a new form of entertainment and relaxation?
  • Do you have any interest in growing flowers?
  • Is your garden large enough to consider growing vegetables in one area and growing some vibrant flowers in another area?

Once you’ve decided, here are some ideas for both edible plants and flowers.

Edible Plants

You should keep uppermost in mind the foods you most enjoy eating when you’re thinking about what to grow.

The other thing to focus on is foods that taste markedly better fresh. We’re thinking salad in general and tomatoes in particular. Eat a home-grown tomato freshly plucked from the plant and you won’t look at those sorry specimens in the supermarket in the same way again.

As with all elements of gardening, there’s no right or wrong answer so double down on what makes you happy.

Flowers and Ornamentals

You’ll be limited to some extent with the flowers you can grow according to the garden environment.

There are many other variables beyond environmental conditions, though.

The color and smell of plants both play a significant role. Ease of growing may or may not be important to you depending on your level of expertise. Equally, you might be interested in plants that attract other wildlife or you might not care for that.

Many plants you could grow offer a shower of benefits. Lavender, for example, draws in bees while giving your garden a welcome shot of scent and color. The plant also has medicinal and aromatherapy properties. Opt for something striking like sunflowers and you’ll get a splash of color along with a great way of adding some height to the back of the border.

Don’t Skip The Research

OK, with a list of plants you’re interested in growing, you should continue your research. If you can’t get out and about right now, you can still find plenty of resources online to help you.

You should establish whether or not you can provide the right conditions for the plants you have in mind to grow healthily. Knowing what to grow is part of the secret of great gardening. You’ll become more confident with this over time.

If you need a little extra assistance, why not put your kids to work and ask them to help you unearth the information you need?

For each plant, think about the following basics:

  • What soil does it need?
  • What band of temperatures does it thrive in?
  • Does it require full sun to grow or is it tolerant of some shade?

Find The Perfect Spot

With a curated shortlist of suitable plants and the equipment you need in place, it’s time to scout for perfect placement.

Once you get to know your garden, you’ll find it has various microclimates depending on the direction it’s facing, the gradient, the water table, and the prevailing wind.

Note when the sun hits different areas of the garden. Different plants call for varying amounts of light and shade.

What can you do if your whole garden is extremely shady? Where else could you ensure your plants get enough sunshine? You can easily grow a mini herb garden in boxes on sunny window ledges. 

Start Digging

You’ve got your plants and flowers in place and you know where you’re going to grow them. You have all the gear you need so it’s time to get down to business.

Healthy plants call for healthy soil so you’ll need to prepare this properly. Get rid of any weeds first. Use some mulch immediately afterward to lock in the moisture and prevent further weed growth.  Cardboard, straw, grass clippings, and bark chips all work well as organic mulch. Your soil needs to be nice and crumbly with the right balance of nutrients for the plants you’ll be growing.

Do you already have beds and borders in place? If so, feed them with compost and you’re all set.

If you’ve never tried growing plants before, you’ll need to create some growing areas from scratch.

To prepare new ground, grab your fork and spade. Start digging. Ensure you remove all perennial weeds by the roots. Add plenty of compost or rotted manure to the soil.

Now, it’s time to get planting so get down to it!