The New Normal – Gardening

Like almost the entire global population, I am in some form of lockdown, a government imposed restriction on movement in order to slow the spread of Covid-19, a form of coronavirus. As someone not working in the NHS, social or community care, teaching, pharmacies, farming, supermarkets and other key worker areas, I have found myself spending 23 out of 24 hours each day at home. This has become the new normal. It’s an unusual time, and we are all experiencing it together, so I wanted to log some of the activities that have become part of the new normal.

Chilli on the left (not grown from seed) and fingers crossed we see pumpkins

I am lucky enough to have access to a garden (I am one of those who fled to their parents for financial security during this period, and let it be known publicly that I am unbelievably grateful) and in that garden I have discovered a greenhouse (they only recently moved, so this was a new find for us all!). With some hefty cleaning, the glass was clear of its green film, the moss was confined to just a few select corners and the spiderwebs had been relocated to one end. I then set about deciding how to turn this space into an opportunity.

Some of the green bean seeds I got for great value from Bolly Bulbs

Many months ago, I made a then flippant remark to a friend that really, we should aim to be as self sufficient as we can because if anything major happened, we at least then would have some food. He then, as a joke, presented me with a huge pile of seeds for various fruits and vegetables he knows I like. Well, didn’t they come in handy?!

We had a little bagged compost in the garage, and I sifted through what I could find in the flowerbeds and in the compost bin that would suffice, as well as grabbing as many small pebbles as I could and began planting the many many dozens of seeds.

The tiny signs of courgettes!

We are a week post sowing and only just starting to see the signs of life, but as a distraction from the outside events, and a way to feel slightly more like we are doing something helpful, this has been a great activity. I hope that some the end of the summer I will be able to pop a little box of fruit and veg on our neighbours doorsteps. I might be thinking too far, we’ve only seen the odd thing begin germinating so far!

We have sowed seeds for courgettes, pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots, green beans and watermelon (a curveball there from my friend but we figured why not try?!) so I will keep a log of their progress! Alongside these, we had a sunflower seed kit knocking around the house that was a gift not too long ago, so that has gone in as well!

Picked up a big bottle of tomorite online for cheap, justto be prepared once we see some flowers!

The key thing I wanted to say in this post is – planting things can be hugely therapeutic. I’ve pilfered sunflower seeds from the bird food, I’ve ordered some extremely affordable seeds online from companies like Bolly Bulbs (who have free delivery) and I am hoping that in some small way this greenhouse can be a source of comfort for my parents and I as we focus a little energy each day on something as healthy and full of life our tiny vegetables.

You don’t need anything fancy to get started – some yoghurt pots with a small hole cut into the bottom work great as initial seedling pots. Or, if you are able to use loo roll tubes or empty egg boxes then once your seedlings are ready to be planted into the garden you can just plonk the whole thing in there and the egg box/loo roll tube will decompose into the earth.

I’ll look up some easy home compost recipes too, and share what I find and what works!

Hope you’re staying safe and keeping well. x



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