It’s been a tough past year. Many of us have experienced quarantine, social isolation and great uncertainty. Amidst all of this, gardening has become a soothing tonic. There’s something about spending time with plants that changes the way we look at the world. We begin to appreciate peacefulness, natural beauty and complex organisms outside of ourselves.
For those living in urban areas, indoor gardens have become a way to enjoy plants all year round. For those with outdoor gardens, spending time in the fresh air is a great way to practice mindfulness. There’s no doubt about it, gardening is an activity that benefits us in a variety of ways. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, here are a few ways we can all make the new year a happier, healthier one:
1. Enjoy more homegrown food
Growing food takes a little bit of patience at first but the outcome is well worth it - fresher, tastier, healthier produce. To start growing at least some of your own food, you don’t need a large plot of land. Click & Grow’s indoor gardens make it very easy to grow your own fruits, greens and herbs at home on your windowsill or kitchen top. Using an indoor garden means your produce doesn’t have to be harvested too early (as is often the case with supermarket produce) and won’t be exposed to any pollution from transportation. It also means you can grow and harvest just as much produce as you need, helping you cut back on food waste.
A lot of indoor gardeners find it useful to create a harvesting cycle so they always have some food growing. Let’s take basil, for instance. Our plant care info shows that basil plants last up to 12 weeks and their first leaves can be trimmed off 4 weeks after planting. So, if you’d like a regular supply of fresh basil growing at home, wait at least 4 weeks before planting new basil pods. Another option is to plant 1 new basil pod each week in a Smart Garden 9 or Smart Garden 27. This way you'll have basil plants at all growth stages and always have something to harvest.
2. Grow a plant you’ve never grown before
We all have favourite plants. It’s easy to fall into the habit of planting the same plants every time but why not try something new? If you’re an indoor gardener, Click & Grow has over 60 plants to choose from, with more being added frequently. If you have an outdoor garden, why not grow some exotic looking plants outdoors that will inspire your neighborhood? Gardening should be a creative and fun experience.
If you’re in need of some inspiration when it comes to plants and landscaping, check out the websites of some of the world’s most beautiful gardens such as ‘Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England’, ‘Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado, USA’ and ‘Singapore Botanic Garden’. Growing new plants is an exciting, confidence-boosting activity that helps us appreciate the diversity in nature.
3. Plant a tree
In a world where so many things are cheap and disposable, there’s something refreshing and permanent about planting a tree. After planting one, you feel like you’ve made a positive mark on the planet. Ideal trees for small gardens include magnolias, hardy palms, ornamental cherries, peach trees, sorbus, acer and many more.
Here at Click & Grow, tree planting is very close to our hearts. Every year the company plants as many trees as indoor gardens it has sold. Why not start a tree planting tradition in your family this year? By planting trees, you’re providing a future habitat for wildlife, as well as fighting climate change. If it’s not possible to plant trees where you live, you can enlist the help of non-profit organisations such as One Tree Planted who plant trees in North America, Latin America, Asia, Australia and Africa.
4. Start composting
If the idea of composting has always appealed to you, now’s a great time to start. It’s an inexpensive process that converts your garden and kitchen waste into nourishing food for your outdoor garden. Compost is made up of decomposed biological material. When added to soil in your outdoor garden, it can actually help your plants to grow. Compost helps soil retain water and nutrients by giving them something to latch onto. It also makes it easier for plant roots to penetrate and find moisture.
Composting reduces food waste and prevents garden and kitchen waste from ending up in landfills where they take up precious space and release methane into the atmosphere. Another great benefit of composting is that it reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Furthermore, compost helps attract microorganisms that benefit the soil.
5. Start a plant journal
Sharing your living space with plants can be a calming experience. As you watch your plants grow, keeping a journal is a fun way to stay in tune with their progress. It will give you a fresh perspective on plant care and what it means to be a plant parent. You can jot down important tips you’ve learned, list what works and what doesn’t work and write down your gardening ambitions.
A journal is not something you have to show anybody. Do it for you. In a few years’ time you’ll be able to look back at your journal and smile about the progress you’ve made on your gardening journey.
6. Be kind to wildlife
Around the world, native birds and bees are on the decline. This year, you could help them by turning your outdoor garden into a wildlife friendly space. This means making sure your garden has enough water, food, nesting sites and shelter. A regular source of food is especially important during the winter months. Installing a birdfeeder is a great option. It will attract more birds to your garden and they’ll be sure to sing their thanks to you.
Wildlife will really make your garden come alive. In addition to having a birdfeeder, you can invite wildlife into your garden by growing wildflowers and installing a water feature. Bees and butterflies will be drawn to the wildflowers. The water feature will give your garden a more diverse ecosystem and attract beautiful insects such as dragonflies.
7. Subscribe to a gardening podcast
Podcasts are a great way to zone out and spend some relaxing ‘me’ time. Grab your headphones, kick back and spend an hour or so indulging in some gardening wisdom. Podcasts are similar to radio programmes. You can download them online and listen to them wherever you want. These days, gardening podcasts are able to provide more personal and specialised content than what you would find on television or radio.
Specialised podcasts won’t always appear in ‘top 10’ lists, so you’ll need to do some digging to uncover these gems. It’s easier to find them by typing your search term into google, followed by the word ‘podcast’. If you’d like to listen to some more popular gardening podcasts, check out our recommendations here. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own gardening podcast in the future.
8. Treat yourself to a gardening book
Dr. Seuss once wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” It’s true in many ways. The benefits of reading are undeniable. Gardening books, in particular, are a great way to brush up on your knowledge during the colder months when you aren’t always able to step outside. In addition to being a stress-reducing activity, research even suggests that reading may add years to your life.
Start the new year by losing yourself in a good gardening book. Got kids? Involve them too. Reading opens the door to a wealth of knowledge from a young age. For inspiration, check out our blog posts: 8 Awesome Nature Books to Read With Your Kids and 12 Amazing Nature Books You’ve Probably Never Heard of.
What are some of your resolutions for the coming year? Whatever your plans may be, we hope your days are filled with happiness, health and lots of exciting gardening discoveries.