Edulis Nursery

Gardening you can do in isolation

As the nation prepares to become a little more isolated in response to the coronavirus, here are things you can do with plants to keep calm and keep occupied

As the coronavirus spreads, the nation is preparing to undergo a lengthy period 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?

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Lemons
© Andrew Montgomery

Here’s a selection of garden-related ideas that may help you pass the time faster.

1

Read those gardening books

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? Tom Stuart-Smith shared his with us last year and Penelope Hobhouse’s list features a host of classics. Don’t miss our top 15 of last year too.
2

Make a garden plan

An illustration showing the plants used in a bold design for a late summer border by gardener Andrea Brusendorf
A bold design for a late summer border by gardener Andrea Brusendorf

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.

3

Get sowing seeds

A photograph of vegetable seed catalouges

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.

4

Prepare your soil for outdoor gardening

Gardener adds a forkful of manure to a bed being prepared for spring planting

One of the key tasks for March 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.

5

Think big about what you’d like to do to your garden

Adolfo Harrison's London small garden
Adolfo Harrison’s London small garden
© Richard Bloom

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.

6

Tend to your houseplants

Brushed copper seedling tray for house plants

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. 

7

Build an arbour or support for your beans

arbours and tunnels using natural materials

Here’s our guide on how to create a bean pole support that uses coppiced willow and looks, frankly, lovely.

8

Plan and make a spring container

Kristy Ramage's choice for a Spring wild-like pot
© Andrew Montgomery

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.

9

Sharpen and clean your tools

Clean your rusty tools with wire wool
© Britt Willoughby Dyer

The perfect time to get your tools shipshape. Here’s how to sharpen tools and clean rusty secateurs.

10

Create a compost heap

Composting household waste
© Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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.

11

Make some gardening resolutions

POSIpots from Edible Culture
POSIpots from Edible Culture
© Edible Culture

Avoid peat compost, plant for pollinators, reduce your plastic use in the garden. Think about the things you’ve always wanted to do but have never quite had the moment to set it in place.

12

Make your own origami seed packets

We suggest using the old pages of Gardens Illustrated magazine!

13

Build a bug hotel

Chris Packham CBE and Jamal Edwards MBE have joined forces to show how people can do their bit to help wildlife
Chris Packham CBE and Jamal Edwards MBE have joined forces to show how people can do their bit to help wildlife
© John Phillips/Getty Images for National Lottery

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. 

Big projects

For those of you with an eye on a huge project, why not learn how to build a garden studio, or even plant an edible garden. You could come out of this with an entirely new garden.

Here’s what you should be thinking about over the next few months in the garden.

Monthly gardening tasks

MARCH TASKS
•Prepare soil for outdoor sowings and begin weeding.
• Begin sowing seed of flowers and vegetable crops.
• Plant summer-flowering bulbs.
• After flowering, lift and divide congested snowdrops.
• Divide overgrown perennials.
• Tidy up roses, removing dead, damaged or diseased stems.
• A good time for transplanting evergreen shrubs and conifers.
• Take hardwood cuttings of shrubs, and root cuttings from dormant plants for propagation.
• Protect peaches, nectarines and apricots from peach leaf curl by covering with an open-sided frame covered in clear polythene.

APRIL TASKS
• Continue sowing seeds. Prick out and pot up seedlings.
• Keep on top of weeding and mulch soil to conserve moisture.
• Plant summer-flowering bulbs.
• Divide late-flowering perennials.
• Put in plant supports so that plants can grow around stakes.
• Many shrubs benefit from hard pruning in April to keep them tidy and encourage new growth.
• Scarify lawns and begin mowing. It’s a good time to level out lumps in the lawn.
• Watch out for pests, particularly snails and slugs.
• Feed soil (especially around trees, shrubs, new hedges and fruit bushes) with a general fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure.
• Remove the spent flower heads of daffodils and tulips.
• Start ventilating greenhouses and begin monitoring for pests.
• Put out nesting material for birds, such as pet hair or sheep’s wool.
• Start putting in plant supports.
•Check labels and replace where necessary.

MAY TASKS
• Continue sowing seeds and potting up seedlings.
• Watch out for late frosts and be prepared to protect young growth with fleece.
• Water plants as required, paying particular attention to young plants or those newly planted.
• Keep on top of weeding.
• Continue feeding soil.
• Mulch to conserve moisture.
• Look out for pests, and use biological control on vine weevil.
• Divide perennials.
• Clear spring bedding and compost discarded plants.
• Lift and divide overcrowded spring-flowering bulbs.
• Stake plants in need of support.
• Prune spring-flowering clematis after flowering to maintain shape.
• Plant dahlia tubers outside.
• Provide shade for greenhouses and cold frames on sunny days.
• Feed birds with protein-rich live food, which is good for fledglings.

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 and many other gardens around the country.

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And more than anything, stay healthy!