Gardening has great therapeutic benefits. Attending to our plants for a few hours each week can do wonders for our mental health and well-being; especially if it gets us outdoors (even if this is just to our backyards or balconies!) With its many opportunities for fun and learning, it is great for both kids and adults.
Our grounds staff who are usually out taking immaculate care of your grounds also regularly turn their green fingers towards their own gardens.
We asked them for a few tips and ideas on what they’ve been planting.
Hopefully, these simple-to-implement ideas will inspire you to also give it a try.
Beetroot – A hardy and easy vegetable to grow, once you’ve tried it fresh from your garden, you’ll never go back to the tinned variety again. Truly versatile, you can bake, boil and eat beetroot raw, plus, the young leaves make a nutritious and colourful addition to salads. Beetroot takes three to four months to grow but is well worth the wait.
Rocket – Easily grown in a pot and ready in a matter of weeks, rocket (true to its name) is a popular choice for beginner gardeners. This quick-growing crop is known for its sharp and unique peppery taste. For a tangy bite, add rocket in your salad, sandwich or pizza.
Brassica Vegetables – Of the Brassica family, broccoli, cauliflower and kale are some of the easier to grow varieties. Don’t fret if you don’t have a garden bed as they can be successfully grown in pots and containers too. However, they are prone to bugs and pests, particularly the cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapae) and cabbage aphid (Brevicoryn brassicae) so be sure to take care and monitor your plants.
The very best way to protect your plants from cabbage butterflies and aphids is to sow your seeds in trays and place them under protective insect nets. This allows your seedlings to grow into strong plants. At around the five true leaf stage, they are ready to be re-planted out in the garden or in patio pots. Continue to protect them under insect netting. This avoids the need for pesticides while also keeping them safe from cockatoos and possums!
Lettuce, Basil and Spring Onion – Perfect for on the window ledge! When seedlings emerge in small trays place them on a windowsill where there is plenty of sun. Water and feed your plants regularly and watch them grow!
Growing cuttings indoors are just as therapeutic
No backyard garden? Don’t despair. Just pop clean cuttings from oregano, sage and thyme in a jar of water and watch them root. When a mass of roots has formed, plant them into a potting mix and you will have new plants for spring.
For more varieties that suit your region, check online what your local Bunnings, garden centre or other seed and plant suppliers have. Where possible, get these delivered rather than going out. If seeds are proving difficult to source, why not take cuttings from your favourite plant to propagate? Grow using cut-offs and stems from vegetables you buy. Lettuce, celery, lemon grass, mint, and bok choy are just a few. There are many YouTube videos for tips on these. You could also pick up some fresh potted herbs or replant micro herbs purchased from the supermarket.
To plant, reuse plastic containers, glass jam and pasta jars, egg cartons or the centres of toilet rolls as seed planters – pretty much anything that hasn’t held fresh meat would work as a planter. Most importantly, don’t forget to wash your hands after handling any potting mix!
So what will you be planting ? Whether you’re gardening indoors, on the balcony or out in the garden, we hope you’ll discover some green thumbs you never knew you had. For some more pointers, check out our April gardening tips or our guide on mulching.
Got a gardening tip you want to share? Or how about sharing some of the gardening projects and pictures of what you’ve grown with us? Post them in the comments below.