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Gardening in the lock-down

If youíve spent any time this week working in your garden while youíre staying at home and the weather has been sunny, you may be wondering how youíre going to get new plants this spring. Most garden centres are now closed, although some appear to be offering compost deliveries (at least at the moment). Many of the smaller nurseries are also closing their doors to visitors, but are still offering mail order and all the business they can get will make the difference between them surviving this situation and going under.

Spring is a vital time in the garden industry and the profits made now support the business throughout the rest of the year.

If youíre watching your spending, then this might not be an option, so this could be a good time to begin propagating the plants you already have and swapping them with your neighbours, from a safe distance, of course.

Just one thing: if youíre sowing seeds, donít be tempted to use home-made compost to sow them into. Itís not sterile, may be contaminated with all sorts of things from weeds to spores and the seedlings are likely to die, which is a waste.

The nights are still cold and it will be several weeks before we can say there will be no more frosts. Donít be tempted to sow seeds outdoors just yet, although if you have a greenhouse, cold frame or windowsill that will offer protection, you can get a head start with tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers, peppers and salad leaves. Some salad leaves can be grown on the windowsill indoors, as can pea shoots for fresh greens when you canít get to the shops.

When the weather is bad, remember that Twitter is a great place for gardeners and there is a big, friendly community on there who post pictures of plants and gardens, show their own progress and help out with advice. Start with me @valgardening and you'll find a lot of gardening folk to chat to. We also offer lots of entertaining and helpful garden information on this website.

Val Bradley

(Below: Seeds I am growing on my windowsill in an old sandwich tray / propagator)

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This story was published on: 28/03/2020

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