Most of us have a good deal of time on our hands just now and why not make the most of this by working in the garden or whiling away the hours in your outdoor space?
It is a fact that being outdoors is good for our mental and physical health and if you are unable to undertake the physical aspects of gardening then merely spending a short time outdoors every day is very beneficial, even if only to observe a strawberry plant which is ready to fruit or a bunch of sweet peas ripe for picking.
There are many joys to be experienced, including the smallest aspects of gardening such as admiring a blooming hanging basket or awaiting the prospect of a small harvest of potatoes, all of which can be nurtured from this point in the gardening calendar.
This is the perfect time to prepare our gardens for the coming months, to ensure both colour interest and a supply of fresh fruit and vegetables well into the autumn months.
Plant a herb garden
Why not plant up a herb garden this year – it doesn’t have to be in the garden itself, you can use an old tub or even an old sink or tyre. Most garden centres will be increasing their stocks of herbs and grow-your-own products this year so there will be plenty to choose from.
One word of warning – don’t put mint into a constricted space with other herbs, it will swamp everything else. Put it in a pot by itself, use a multi-purpose compost for planting and remember to keep watering during dry periods.
Another couple of easy ideas which can involve the children are hanging baskets planted with strawberry plants or Tumbler tomatoes – or what about growing salad crops in a growbag, lettuce, radish, spring onions, beetroot and the small round Chantenay carrot would all be ideal.
These projects are something to keep the little ones occupied and are also educational.
There are always packets of seeds available to order online, and some crops are fast growers. You will be enjoying a fresh, crunchy, home-grown salad within weeks – a delicious prospect!
Seed potatoes in pots
Don’t forget to grow some seed potatoes in pots for an early crop. Most garden centres will have all these as small plants and if they’re sold out there are always packets of seeds available.
If the vegetable garden isn’t your thing, there is plenty to do in the flower borders. The weeds never stop growing so try and keep on top of them when the weather is good. In warm weather hoe them off and leave to droop onto the ground before collecting them up. Dead-head bulbs once the flowers finish and allow the foliage to die down before cutting it off, this sends sufficient food back to the bulb for next year’s flowers.
The lawns have suffered badly this year with all the rain we had last autumn/winter. This has created a lot of moss and the best product to treat this is MO Bacter which is a slow-release organic fertiliser for lawns. This feeds the lawn over a 12 week period and contains bacteria which are naturally found in the soil and which (when added to fertiliser) will consume material like thatch and moss, making it unnecessary to rake or scarify after treatment.
Make up your hanging baskets, there will be plenty of plants including geraniums and fuchsias around for planting up. Also consider using the pre-planted containers of mixed basket plants that can be dropped into the top of a hanging basket or tub for instant gardening.
Making deliveries easier
Many garden centres are arranging to make deliveries easier for their customers by reducing minimum order values and the cost of delivery. Also, many like ourselves are putting together phone orders which can be picked up from collection points on their car parks, observing strict social distancing guidelines.
Over the next few weeks, I’m sure many of us will think up ways of keeping people engaged in the garden. One idea we have is to make up kits for hanging baskets, to include the basket, liner, compost and a selection of plants, possibly with a range of colour themes. These could be available for delivery or quick collection.
At Lealans Garden Centre we have established a long-standing and trusted relationship with our customers of which we are very proud. We expect to continue to provide our high level of service despite the difficult times we are going through.
Please stay in touch via our Facebook page or contact us by telephone for offers.
I wish you a very healthy and productive season of gardening,
This issue’s tips were provided by Ann Winwood of Lealans Garden Centre, Shipley