But here’s the good news: if anyone is capable of hope, it is gardeners. Every seed sown and plant nurtured is rooted in hope. Hope that the gardener’s efforts will blossom into to something wonderful and worthwhile. And most often, it does.
If you are staying at home like most Canadians are, there are plenty of gardening activities you can do to keep busy and lift your spirits even if there are patches of snow still on the ground outside. If you live in an apartment and are without a plot of land, that’s ok. You can garden in containers. Here are five garden-related things to do now with links to my articles for those who want more ‘how-to’ information:
1)Plan a veggie garden
It isn’t too late to sow seeds of tomato, eggplant, pepper and other warm season edibles so they are ready for planting outdoors in gardens next month. If you have a cold frame, a raised bed or if you garden in containers, you can even sow seeds of leafy greens, onions, beets, chives, parsley and other cool weather crops outdoors now that the risk of frosty weather is unlikely. If you don’t have seeds in storage, look for them online, in neighbourhood grocery stores and from other local sources that have remained open during the pandemic. Sow only enough seeds that you have the space for or this task can quickly get out of hand. Also, carefully read individual seed packets for maturity dates and directions.
Heres the link to my article on avoiding common pitfalls when starting seeds indoors
2)Turn your compost
Who needs a gym when you have a garden to work in? If you have a home compost in your yard, turning the pile is a terrific workout! (but watch your back!) Our household practices composting throughout the year even during winter and by springtime when contents are defrosting, it needs a good turning. I use a pitchfork to move the stuff on the outside of the pile to the centre. Remember to top off any ‘green’, nitrogen-rich materials (e.g., kitchen scraps) with more ‘brown’, carbon-rich materials (e.g., dead leaves) at a ratio of approximately 3-1(browns to green). Turning the pile and maintaining the right carbon to nitrogen balance will speed up decomposition so that home-made compost is ready to feed your vegetable plants and flowers to help them thrive. Making it yourself also means you won’t need to rely on expensive, commercially produced compost which may be difficult to locate right now.
3) Refresh your planters
Ditch the winter holiday decor (please!) and make a new arrangement for your door-side planters. You can order spring flowers online from local nurseries offering online purchases and deliveries. Now's the time to get creative and use materials found on your property such as forsythia branches or crafts you may have lying around in the basement. (see my last post for a photo of my spring bulb planter)
4)Pot up dahlia tubers
If you have dahlia or begonia tubers either newly purchased or stored from last season, now is the time to pot them up so they are ready to be planted outdoors at the same time as your tomato plants.
Here is the link to my article on growing Dahlias:
5) Create a terrarium
Creating a terrarium is easy and fun to do with kids. Teach kids about the water cycle by using a cleaned out pop bottle.
Here's the link to my article on terrariums:
There are many signs of hope around my neighbourhood. I saw hope in the crocus blooms emerging from their winter slumber, in the rainbows and the Easter decorations adorning home landscapes, in the flitting about of birds and squirrels oblivious to the world’s perils, and in the drawings on the driveways of children eager to return to playdates with friends. There is also hope in the way essential businesses are adapting to this crisis. Garden centres for example, are adjusting their services to include online purchase and delivery of plants, soil and other gardening materials right to your door so you can remain at home. Call your favourite one to see if they offer online delivery and check the garden centres listed in my links page.
What gardening activities have you been doing at home lately? I’d love to know.
Until next time, please stay safe and stay hopeful.