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Budding Sheffield gardeners get green-fingered for National Gardening Week
People across the city have been showing off their horticultural talents by spending more time tending to their gardens and house plants during lock-down.
With many of us at home and a period of good weather, Sheffield residents are nurturing their love of the outdoors by showing their gardens some extra love.
And it’s not just our outdoor spaces that are being spruced up. Our trusty indoor plants are suddenly getting extra attention as we start to appreciate them more than ever before.
Social media has been awash with people showing gratitude for their greenery since lockdown measures came into force, with many finding simple and fun ways to get all the family involved.
From using loo rolls to spare egg boxes, planting seeds and veggies has never been easier and it’s a great way to keep the kids entertained as well as giving them a sense of responsibility during this period.
Ian Turner, Parks and Public Realm Manager and Curator of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens, said:
“Growing fruit and vegetables can be really simple and a fun and cost-effective way to get fresh produce, whilst also keeping the little ones entertained.
“Seeds from chillies, tomatoes, lemons and oranges can all be used to start growing plants. And whilst it may take oranges and lemons some time to appear, you could get fresh chillies and tomatoes this year.
“For the best chance of germination, pick the fattest looking seeds and try sowing them in a small pot of compost on a windowsill. Don’t forget to put holes in the pot for drainage.
“We’re all looking for ways to add some excitement at the moment so if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not try growing lychee, avocado and even a piece of root ginger, all from the vegetable section of a supermarket.”
And there’s no need to go out and buy new plant pots. Everyday household waste items can provide a suitable starter home for most seedlings.
With summer on the horizon and the warmer weather making a very welcome return, it’s the perfect time to start preparing our gardens, creating veggie patches or digging out those forgotten packets of seeds in the kitchen drawer.
Tidying up your garden in the next few weeks by pruning roses, dead heading pansies or violas or cutting down your own daffodils will get your garden set for the summer as well as helping to brighten up your home.
This all makes way for new buds to form and an array of colours to return later in the year.
Evidence shows that going outside, getting some vitamin D and using your hands can benefit your mental health. Not only that, but it can also make putting food on the table that much easier during this period of lock-down.
Whilst we’re unable to visit garden centres to purchase our usual items, starting a vegetable garden can be achieved both indoors and outdoors, by using everyday items from your fridge.
It also comes hand in hand with starting a compost pile, using leftover vegetables and unwanted cardboard.
“If you’re new to gardening, start small with just a few pots of plants and look after them. Make sure they have good drainage and don’t over-water them. There’s lots of advice on the internet to help but also, just try things out!”
Check out Sheffield PlantSwap - a great local Facebook page for plant enthusiasts, offering handy tips and advice.
With green bin collections now continuing as normal across the city, it’s a perfect time to tidy up your plants, spruce up your seedlings and get creative with a variety of veggies.
Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust have recently launched ‘Nature Natters’ a new initiative to help people feel less lonely and more connected to nature during social distancing.
Cabinet member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Mary Lea said:
“Nature, wildlife and gardening can be a real morale booster during difficult times. It gives us something to focus on and is a great way to take our minds off current worries.
“With social distancing and lock-down measures remaining increasingly important, many of us are having to spend more time at home and so, improving our environment with foliage can be really valuable.
“Sheffield is renowned for its green spaces and for very good reason. But whilst many public places are off limits for the time being, we could all use this period to tend to our own plants, whilst simultaneously looking after our well-being.”
National Gardening Week runs from Monday 27 April to Sunday 3 May 2020 and is the biggest celebration of gardening in the UK.
The annual event has grown in popularity every year with thousands of people sharing their ‘passion for plants’ around the country and talking about what they've grown on social media.