Guest written by Becca Van Den Boogard, Vocational Skills Instructor in the Workbridge Garden Centre.
Spoiler: There’s loads of hints and tips to get you gardening at home without venturing out!

Hello everyone! My name is Becca and I'm a vocational skills instructor in the Workbridge Garden Centre. I’m currently self-isolating for the next 12 weeks at home so I thought I'd share with you some of my tips to help you carry on gardening...

Why do I love gardening?

I love gardening and I am lucky enough to indulge my passion at work. For me, I firmly believe that gardening is good for your mental and physical well-being. It is heartening to see so many people taking an interest in growing and nurturing plants and connecting with the natural world during these unprecedented times.

Gardening under “lock down”

Gardening under lock down is challenging to say the least. With garden centres closed and many catalogue and online seed companies trying to keep up with orders at the moment, you may face a long wait if you are lucky enough to place an order…. So here’s some hints and tips on what you can do from home!

My Hints and Tips

Here’s how to make the most of your garden, balcony or even windowsill, to enhance your space, grow some vegetables or simply attract wildlife….

Now is the perfect time to sow seeds!

1. Procuring seeds

Getting hold of seeds is not nearly so simple. One thing you can do is to ask your friends if they have any seeds to spare. Ask too on social media if need be.

Luckily, as the postal service is still running, I have been able to send and receive seeds with friends and it has really brightened my day!


2. Sowing seeds

Follow the instructions on the packet and put your freshly sown seeds on a warm sunny windowsill at home. If they recommend a propagator, note that a clear plastic bag will do. Check your seeds daily and keep them watered.

3. Upcycling your household objects

Necessity is the mother of invention as they say. If you can't get your hands on seed trays, no problem, raid your recycling! Disposable roasting tins, fruit and veg containers and take away containers, can all become perfectly adequate seed trays.

Toilet roll tubes, yoghurt pots and… tea bags?

For sweet peas, peas and beans use the inner tubes of toilet rolls, assuming you've been able to get any! If not, try yogurt pots. If you want to be really inventive re-hydrated, used teabags can be used to grow your own plug plants, that you can pop into your garden once they are fully rooted.

PS. Remember to make some holes for drainage so you don't drown your seeds.

4. Compost

Obtaining compost at the moment can present a huge challenge. Some hardware stores and supermarkets are selling compost but not necessarily good quality compost or peat free. If you are self-isolating, chances are you won't be getting to the stores any time soon! Again, don't be afraid to ask if anyone has some compost spare. I bemoaned my lack of compost to a friend one evening only to find she had dropped a bag at my front door on her way to work the next morning.

Tip: If you can't get any then you can use garden soil. Just remember that as well as seedlings you are likely to get some “weedlings” coming up and you will need to pull them out.

5. Sow seeds outside

Another option is to sow your seeds directly into the ground. I'm a great fan of this method as it's relatively fuss free and there's a huge variety of flowers and vegetables you can sow over the coming weeks, too numerous to list on here.

A few of my favourite annual flowers are love-in-a-mist, night scented stock, cornflowers, sunflowers and poached egg plants (limanthes douglasii).

Easy veg I always sow direct are lettuces, carrots, beetroot, radishes, perpetual spinach, dwarf french beans and kale.

Just enjoy it!

For those of us who are lucky enough to have a garden and are well enough to get out in it the most important thing is… to enjoy it! Take time to watch the wildlife, make plans for your post coronavirus projects such as building a wildlife pond, a new border or planting a tree. Learn the art of pottering. Weeds will grow and if you don't want a jungle you will need to keep on top of them. Do the weeding in small sections and ignore the odd dandelion and red dead nettle. These are fabulous forage for bees and will reward you with visiting pollinators.

For those who don't have access to a garden you can still get great satisfaction from growing herbs, rocket and salad leaves on your window sill or in pots. Don't be afraid to experiment, it's part of the fun!

Guest blog, written by Becca Van Den Boogard, Garden Centre Vocational Instructor for Workbridge. Instagram: @beccaboogard

Workbridge’s Garden Centre is currently closed and we are unable to fulfil deliveries at this time. We look forward to re-opening again soon.

Find out more about our garden centre.

Follow Workbridge on Instagram for all the latest gardening updates.

Happy Easter from all at Workbridge

Workbridge’s Garden Centre is currently closed and we are unable to fulfil deliveries at this time. We look forward to re-opening again soon.

Stay safe at home, stay connected with family and friends and enjoy your garden.

Follow Workbridge on Instagram