Recently we looked at 10 projects to tackle in your home during the coronavirus outbreak, now as the weather warms up we’re encouraging you to head outside and give your garden some love.
These 10 jobs can be started now and will help you pass the time in a productive and purposeful way. Getting green-fingered is good for the body, the mind and the soil – there are many studies that show getting out in the garden benefits our mental and physical well-being, which is more important now than ever.
With plenty of gardening sites still delivering supplies, now is an ideal time to start planting and preparing your garden for those upcoming summer months.
Here are 10 ideas to draw you down the garden path.
A perfect activity for homeschooling parents and their children, sunflowers are easy to grow and produce wonderful results. Order some seeds online and sow into pots, leave these on the window sill then plant them once there is no chance of frost. Get the children involved in a height competition to sneak in a bit of maths, and once your sunflowers bloom you can have lots of fun observing all the pollinating insects that pay a visit.
Don’t stockpile – sow!
There’s no better time to start growing at home; herbs, salad leaves, spinach, beetroot, dwarf French beans, potatoes and dwarf carrots are all ready to be planted now. If you don’t have access to outdoor space, window sills are great for spinach, chillies, radishes, garlic and microgreens. If your window sill is particularly sunny you can even grow tomatoes in a window box.
Tackle that to-do list
You really have no excuse to face those jobs you keep putting off! Now’s the time to tackle the garden to-do list, be it weeding your beds, cleaning the greenhouse, pruning overhanging branches or painting a shabby gate, now is the time to get to those forgotten jobs.
Feed the birds
Setting up a feeder and watching the birds is a great way to entertain yourself and the kids while self-isolating. Hang feeders in front of a window where you sit regularly and enjoy the variations that pay a visit. You can try Bird Bingo if you have children, and encourage them to tick off the species as they see them. You can buy feeders online, or even make your own.
Refresh your lawn
There are a few simple things you can do that instantly improve the look of your garden, and giving your lawn some love is one of them. Re-edge your lawn to instantly give a smarter appearance. You could also order grass seed online to repair faded patches, giving your lawn a whole new look ready for the summer.
Make a bee hotel
Bees are facing a real crisis- they’ve lost much of their natural habitat over the past 60 years and are under assault from climate change and pesticides. Making a bee hotel will help to restore some of their lost habitat and help the population boom.
Bee hotels offer a cosy habitat for solitary bees, such as red mason bees, which are around between April – June. Solitary bees lay eggs in cells, unlike their bumblebee counterparts who form large nests. You can make your own bee hotel using lengths of bamboo, another great project to get the kids involved with.
Build a brick BBQ
A homemade, permanent brick barbecue should last you a lifetime. It will by far outlast a small metal model that’s prone to go rusty and will save you money on disposable, shop-bought BBQ’s. They are amazingly easy to build – start building on Saturday morning and you’ll be ready to get the sausages sizzling by Sunday lunchtime.
Prepare for summer dining
We’ll likely be spending a lot more time in our gardens than usual this summer, so take the time now to create a beautiful space for you and your family to sit out, eat dinner and enjoy the weather. Why not get the power washer out and clean your decking and garden furniture? You could even build a pergola and train climber plants up it to create a dappled sanctuary that will provide shade on those really hot days.
Build raised beds
If you are feeling inspired to grow your own, why not build a raised bed to house your new veg patch? Raised beds are brilliant for boosting drainage, and can be used to introduce a different type of soil to your garden, so you can create the ideal space to grow your favourite fruit and vegetables. They are also helpful if you have kids, or for those with mobility issues, and can be made with a few simple items, some of which you may already have access to.
If you don’t have the luxury of a large outdoor space, then container gardening is for you.
Be it a window box or hanging basket, container gardening is suitable for all garden designs and shapes (whether a small garden, balcony or patio) and most garden plants, it’s a great way to create beautiful outdoor displays for seasonal interest, whether you want to brighten up a corner of the garden or make the entrance of your home look welcoming. Why not plan and plant a beautiful Spring planter this weekend?
As we adapt to the ‘new normal’ that involves us spending most of our time in our home, gardening is a great way to focus on a task, feel a sense of accomplishment and keep our bodies and minds active.