10 ways to garden during lockdown

Staying at home or self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak might be challenging, especially for people who live on their own. Stay upbeat and active during the coronavirus outbreak. Gardening can help us turn this situation into a positive – we can sow seeds or plant seedlings now and watch them grow and bloom over the coming weeks and months.
Here are 10 garden jobs you can get on with now. They’ll help you to pass the time in a productive and purposeful way, getting you outdoors to enjoy fresh air, bird song and a bit of exercise.

1.Sow seeds
Sowing seeds and watching the plants grow is a great way to relieve stress. You could sow anything you fancy – annual herbs to use in cooking, flowers such as cosmos and sunflowers to brighten up the garden, or vegetables to use in nutritious meals later in the season. Use a seed tray and propagator if you have one, but pots filled with peat-free compost and covered with a clear plastic bag or clingfilm will work just as well.

2.Plant up a container display
A pretty container display can really help to lift the spirits. Consider asking someone to go to the garden centre for you, or buy mail-order plants or seeds. Choose from perennial plants that are in flower now, which you can transplant into the garden when they’re past their best, or annuals for a quick, seasonal display.

3.Feed the birds
Feeding the birds is great way to entertain yourself while self-isolating at home. Hang feeders in front of a window where you sit regularly, so you can watch the antics of the birds from your sofa. Buy feeders and food online from a reputable supplier and avoid cheaper seed mixes if possible – these are less likely to attract garden birds. Sunflower hearts are a great all-round choice, attracting a wide range of species. Why not take the time to learn the different birds that visit the feeders while you’re at it?

4.Clean the greenhouse
For many people, there’s never a good time to clean the greenhouse. But doing so will bring more light to tender seedlings growing inside, as well as remove harmful pests and pathogens, which could be lingering on from last year. This is a great, active job that might help you to work up a sweat – get your scrubbing brush, sponge and hosepipe ready, for mini workout.

5.Install a water butt
If you’ve been meaning to install a water butt for a while then now’s the time to do it. You can buy whole kits online and simply follow instructions on installing it. Wall-mounted water butts are a great way to save space. It’s fairly straightforward to connect them to a downpipe from your house, shed or greenhouse.

6.Build a garden pond
A pond is one of the best garden habitats you can create for wildlife, attracting birds, amphibians, mammals and aquatic insects. Digging a pond is labour intensive but extremely rewarding – if you’re missing your gym then this is the job for you.
Buy pond liner online and see if you can source plants from your local garden centre – again, see if they will deliver. If not, there are plenty of online retailers that sell pond plants. Choose a mix of oxygenating, floating and submerged plants, to provide the best variety of habitats.
Once you’ve dug your pond, consider buying a book on freshwater life, and a pond net, then monitor which new species colonise the water. There’s a whole new world to explore beneath the surface.

7.Build a raised bed
A raised bed makes growing vegetables easier, particularly if you have heavy soil. It can also be useful if you have a disability or mobility issues. You can buy raised bed kits or make your own using old scaffolding planks. Then simply fill with topsoil and start planting.

8.Make a bee hotel
A bee hotel provides nesting habitat for solitary bees such as red mason bees, which are on the wing from April to June, and leafcutter bees, which are flying from June to August. Rather than forming large nests like bumblebees and honeybee, solitary bees lay individual eggs in cells, stocked with nectar and pollen for the grubs to eat when they hatch. They don’t sting. Fix your bee hotel to a south-east facing wall or fence, and keep an eye out for bee activity throughout summer.

9.Grow houseplants
If you don’t have a garden, or can’t get into the garden, you can bring a touch of the outdoors, in. Houseplants have been shown to clean the air in our homes, as well as lift our spirits. Planting up a few containers of choice houseplants will not only keep you occupied, but will provide you with a long season of interest. There are plenty of online houseplant retailers, and you can buy pots, compost and decorative pebbles online, too.

10.Design a new border
Have you been putting off revamping that garden border? Now is as good a time as any. Whether you’re after a prairie look, a woodland border or a gravel garden, we’ve got all the inspiration you need. Take on the project wisely – plan beforehand, carefully choosing which plants to grow and working out where to grow them. Buy your plants, and any other resources online, and – a new look for your garden.

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