The UK Coronavirus lockdown has forced us all to stay at home. Many of us can spend more time in the garden, getting on with the growing season and enjoying the flowers, shoots, birdsong and buzz of insects, that spring brings. But what if you don’t have a garden?
How to garden without a garden
Gardening is a great way to destress. Being around plants and nature has been shown to lower stress levels and improve our mood. If you don’t have a garden you can still ‘do gardening’. You can create beautiful houseplant displays, and grow herbs and some vegetables on a windowsill. You can buy seeds, plants, pots, tools and compost online, and get everything you need delivered to your door.
We’ve put together some fun gardening activities you can do at home, even if you don’t have a garden. Find out more, below.
Chillies are a great way to liven up store-cupboard meals and they’re easy to grow in a pot on a sunny windowsill. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, from flaming hot to mild and fruity. Be careful when buying chillies, as some varieties can grow to 2m tall. Choose a compact variety such as ‘Numex Twilight’ or ‘Demon Red’, that will suit your growing space.
You can grow chillies from seed, sowing in January-March, or you can buy plants online. Many online retailers and specialist chilli nurseries will have chilli plug plants for sale.
More on growing chillies:
Fresh herbs add so much to home-made dishes, and are easy and cheap to grow. Annual herbs such as basil, coriander and parsley are easy to grow from seed, thriving in a bright, sheltered spot such as a windowsill. Buy perennial herb plants online, including mint, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and chives (chives also grow easily from seed). You can plant them up singly or together in a large pot, such as a window box.
More on growing herbs:
Now’s the perfect opportunity to pot on your houseplants. Spring is the ideal time to repot plants, and a larger pot with fresh, peat-free compost will keep your plants healthy. Choose a new pot that’s slightly bigger than the previous one and fill around the rootball with fresh compost – keeping the surface of the rootball at the same level it was previously. Firm the compost in with your fingers and give it a good water.
More on repotting hosueplants:
Take houseplant cuttings
Propagating your own houseplants is usually easy and always fun to do. If you don’t have any houseplants yet, you can order plants online.
How to propagate houseplants:
- How to take cuttings from houseplants
- How to take cuttings from cacti and succulentsh
- How to take streptocarpus leaf cuttings
- How to take stem cuttings from dracaena
- How to take begonia leaf cuttings
Plant a hanging basket
Think hanging baskets are just for outdoors? Think again. Fill a hanging basket with houseplants for an eye-catching indoor display. Streptocarpus, spider plants, string-of-beads and donkey’s tail all work well. Or for a contemporary take on a hanging basket, you could make a kokedama. This Japanese method involves wrapping the rootball of a plant in moss, before hanging it up.
More on indoor hanging baskets:
Loved by chefs for their intense flavour, microgreens are easy to grow indoors on a windowsill. Microgreens are the seedlings of vegetables and herbs, and they pack all the flavour of the adult plant into their tiny leaves. Growing microgreens is so quick and easy, it’s a great thing to do with kids. You don’t need any special equipment, you can sow the seeds in a margarine tub or yoghurt pot, and you’ll have fresh pickings within a few days.
More on growing microgreens:
Sprouting seeds and pulses are ready to eat in as little as three days, are packed full of nutrients and make a great addition to salads. Kids will love seeing the shoots emerge inside a glass jar. You can sprout mung beans, lentils, chick peas and a host of other seeds and pulses.
Make a terrarium
Even if you can’t go outside, you can still make your own tiny garden by planting a terrarium. These miniature landscapes under glass let you exercise your creativity, and planting one is a great activity to do with kids at home. You can encourage them to add little toy people, dinosaurs or fairies to complete the feeling of a magical, miniature world. You can buy everything you need online.
Grow carnivorous plants
Carnivorous plants are fascinating, grow well indoors and are a great way to get kids gardening. Specialist nurseries have a dazzling array of weird and wonderful plants for you to choose from, and many offer home delivery.
- Carnivorous plant pot display
- 10 tips for growing carnivorous plants
- Caring for carnivorous plants – Golden Rules
Grow cacti from seed
Cacti make the ideal indoor plants, but did you know you can grow your own from seed at home? Spring is a great time to sow seeds. You’ll need to be patient, as cacti are slow growing, but they’re fun and rewarding to grow.