Almost all of us now have at least three weeks of staying at home ahead of us.
And with only a few reasons we’re allowed to go out and about, our gardens are going to be even more vital.
Whether you’ve only got a window box or a huge back garden, there are lots of things you can do to brighten up your outdoor space.
So, to stop you climbing the walls during the coronavirus, here’s the fourth day of our great guide to keeping busy and learning new things.
And whether it’s learning to appreciate public spaces during your daily exercise or transforming your garden, there are lots of things to try.
52. Set up an obstacle course in the garden
Kids might be struggling with being cooped up indoors – so why not set up an obstacle course for them in the garden?
Dig out those old toys from the shed and get them to dodge or jump over them. Place a ladder on the ground and get them to balance their way across. Just make sure they are supervised! Getting outside and getting some exercise is vital in these times.
Personal trainer and nutrition coach Vicki Marks (www.vickipt.com) says: “Get outside in the garden – we need fresh air for our mental health. Being cooped up inside limits our vitamin D exposure and can lower the mood. The weather is allowing us to do so right now, so let’s do it! Get outside as much as possible.”
53. Learn how to orienteer
Although we might not be able to stray far from our doorsteps right now, we could still use this time to develop a new skill such as orienteering.
An exciting outdoor adventure sport, it involves walking or running whilst navigating around a course using a detailed map and sometimes a compass.
The aim is to navigate between a set of points and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. To start, you could use your garden to practise, even get the children to design the route. For help and advice, visit the British Orienteering website, www. britishorienteering.org.uk.
54. Learn the constellations
If the sky is clear at night, wrap up warm and get out into the garden – or if you’re in a flat, just look up from your window – and do some stargazing.
The skies have never been clearer, with most aircraft grounded. This is something young and old can do and little ones will find it exciting being outside at night.
The Sky at Night magazine website – skyatnightmagazine. com – has lots of help and advice and there are numerous free stargazing apps.
55. Learn how to sow seeds in pots
In his book, Grow Fruit & Vegetables In Pots, Aaron Bertelsen explains: “Spring is the peak seed sowing time, but some individual crops have specific recommendations. I sow most things into 7.5cm/3ins pots and the first step is to make them clean. Next is to buy a bag of good seed compost.
“Fill the pots almost to the top with compost and tamp it down by tapping the pots firmly against a hard surface, or lightly pressing it with your hand. Be careful not to compact it to too much, as this will interfere with drainage and also make it harder for roots to develop.
“The aim is to get rid of the air holes and make sure the compost doesn’t sink too much when you first water the pot, leaving the seeds exposed.
“One way to ensure against this is to water the compost and allow water to percolate through before sowing. This is a useful thing to do anyway when sowing seeds such as beans, peas, sweet peas, courgettes and squashes, which are prone to rotting if left sitting in too much water.
“Once the surface is level, sprinkle the seeds over it sparingly. Remember that each seed is a potential plant and if they are too closely packed, they will start to strangle each other and you will find it difficult to thin them out without causing damage.
“Finish with a thin covering of seed compost – ideally about twice the depth of the seed itself. Then water the pots, ideally outside on the ground.
“Put them somewhere that will get plenty of light – the windowsill is perfect.
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March 26, 2020