As we collectively continue to battle coronavirus, the nation is facing more time in isolation. But many of us have access to green space, plants and gardens, so why not spend that time you would usually be in the pub, on growing, nature and your garden - however big and small. Here's another thought: if you're spending less through going out, perhaps a donation to all those excellent gardening charities and local nurseries might be an idea?
Here's a selection of garden-related ideas that may help you pass the time faster.
Read those gardening books
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We have a host of brilliant gardening people pick their favourite gardening books. Perhaps it's time to finally buy them online and start getting through them? Here's our favourites and Penelope Hobhouse's list features a host of classics. Don't miss our top 15 of last year too.
Make a garden plan
This can be as simple as sketching out where you'd like things to grow - whether that be in pots, raised beds or in the ground. We have a series of excellent planting plans available to use, from our herb planting plan, to our spring border planting plan. The more you think ahead and plan for your garden the better it will be be for you.
Get sowing seeds
It's a great time to start sowing seeds. Use the suppliers on this list (a lot of them will deliver), to get them to you and start planting.
Prepare your soil for outdoor gardening
One of the key tasks over winter is to prepare the soil. If you have a series of seeds and seedlings that will be germinating soon, make sure your soil is ready for them. Here's our mulching guide.
Think big about what you'd like to do to your garden
There are easy tips and tricks for how to transform your garden in simple ways. Use our guides on ten ways to improve your garden to inspire you. It can be very simple.
Tend to your houseplants
Pay attention to where they are. Is there a better houseplant spot? Spend a bit of time thinking about where each of your plants might be better off. They'll thank you for it. Here's our tips for the best kit for house plant gardening. Plus don't miss Jane Perrone's advice on how to look after your house plants over winter.
Build an arbour or support for your beans
Here's our guide on how to create a bean pole support that uses coppiced willow and looks, frankly, lovely.
Plan and make an autumn container
We have a series of brilliant container displays you can make yourself, all designed by some of the top plantspeople around. Choose one and get planting.
Sharpen and clean your tools
Create a compost heap
As the Land Gardeners say: 'a healthy garden starts with the soil'. Take the opportunity to set up your composting system, for whatever sized garden, so you can reduce waste and create a happy eco system. Here are our tips on how to compost for tiny gardens, and don't miss our advice on the best compost bins.
Make some gardening resolutions
Make your own origami seed packets
Build a bug hotel
This is one of the key ways of promoting insects, bugs and pollinators in your garden. Follow Chris Packham's advice and make space for bugs.
Here's what you should be thinking about over the next few months in the garden.
Monthly gardening tasks
NOVEMBER GARDENING JOBS
Check out Aaron Bertelsen's tips on November gardening jobs.
• Plant tulip bulbs: don't miss our guide on how and when to plant bulbs.
• Start digging any bare areas, forking in well-rotted manure or compost. Continue mulching.
• Protect plants from frost.
• Tidy garden, clear fallen leaves and compost organic matter. Looking for the best leaf rakes?
• Sow green manures, such as field beans and rye, to enrich bare soil.
• Improve lawn drainage by spiking and filling holes with grit.
• Inspect stored tubers, corms and bulbs for signs of rot.
• Order and plant bare-root trees, shrubs, hedging and roses. Don't miss our reader offers here.
• Use grease bands on fruit trees to prevent winter moth damage.
• Put out food and water to help birds survive the winter. Put up nestboxes for the spring.
• Hedgehogs will be hibernating now. Before you light your bonfire, check one hasn’t made itself a cosy bed there. And why not build your own hedgehog house?
Don't forget: nature is all around us. You can get out and go for a walk, especially with the help of the National Trust, the RHS and many other gardens around the country: there are gardens that are still open.
And more than anything, stay healthy!
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