Choose gardening – it’s a whole new world

Father and son gardening together in the back section of their proerty

Our world can rapidly change, and it has. How will it look in the new future? Who knows? Financial turmoil is happening in the stock markets and businesses, small and large everywhere. Who would have guessed that at the end of 2019, we, the global world, would be suffering from the COVID19 pandemic?

In New Zealand, the government has set out a four-step alert level system for COVID19. Since then, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that New Zealand has moved from level 2 to level 3.  Level 3 indicates that Coronavirus may not be contained. And limits travel, so businesses need to find alternative ways for employees to work, mainly from home. Because the COVID19 situation is moving at pace with Level 4 imminent, which means that people will have to stay at home and non-essential business will close.

We need to unite against COVID19 to win the fight of our lives for many people. For many self-isolation will be difficult, this does not mean that people cannot leave their homes and go for a walk at the beach or down the street. Still, if you do so, it needs to be done in a solitary environment situation and at least two metres from another person.

More to life than movies

There are many good movies on demand, choose one at IMdb
There are many good movies on demand, choose one at IMdb

For many of us, we will need to find different ways to be active or be entertained. Being a movie nut, I have read many articles on the best movies to watch, and a lot of them have good value, but I also have a great list at the IMdb.com website. The majority of the film or television series on this list is available on your favourite on-demand provider. IMdb.com also has multiple listings of great movies to watch, just click here. However, we all need more to do than watch movies. So, let’s get outside and into the garden. In my previous article,  I feel alive – the health benefits of gardening there are great benefits of getting out in your garden and keeping fit, so choose gardening as an outside activity, after all, it’s a whole new world, and we should all be experiencing new activities for our positive mental health wellbeing.

Choose gardening activities

March is the beginning of Autumn or Fall in New Zealand, so many jobs can be done in the garden. Autumn is a time that we should be looking forward as to what our garden will look like in the coming months and in spring. Here are a few activities that can be done:

  • Fertilise the lawn: Your lawn should be fertilised twice a year and fertilising it in Autumn will protect it during the winter months. Use a rake to reinvigorate the lawn from the dead grass clippings.
  • Prune your trees: By pruning your trees of dead or dying branches, it can improve the appearance and health of your trees in the coming months. For fruit trees, it can promote crop growth.
  • Cut back flowers: Start cutting back summer flowers that have finished blooming and deadhead roses. Don’t forget to look at those hanging baskets to see what can be done to reinvigorate, pansies, daisies and violas may be the right choice.
Flower seedling grown inside in their own humidity container
Flower seedling grown inside in their own humidity container
  • Sow seeds: There are a vast variety of seeds that can be sown in March and April. Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage and Collards are a selection of some that can be started undercover. Go to Gardenate.com for a bigger list of what seeds can be sown now and in the coming months. Gardenate covers vegetable growing in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. An excellent website for vegetable gardeners.
  • Start a Compost: March is a great month for starting a new compost heap, and it is easy to do. It does not have to be fancy but remember the 50/50 rule, 50 per cent browns and 50 per cent greens. The carbon part of the compost or the browns include twigs, leaves, bark etc. and the nitrogen part of the compost are green leaves, lawn clippings, fruits and vegetables. Layer the browns and greens.
  • Plant Bulbs: Autumn months in New Zealand of March and April are the months for planting bulbs, so look at your garden and what spring colour you would like. Decide where to plant, based on the right conditions for the bulb and if there is no garden start one. NZ Bulbs is a long-established business and has useful information fact sheets to read. I purchased my bulbs from this company.
  • Plant shrubs: Autumn is an ideal time to plant some shrubs. There are great online stores like Kings Plant Barn or Wairere Nursey to undertake some research and consider what should be purchased to brighten up your garden. Some of these stores may not be able to supply for a while due to the COVID19 outbreak and following the New Zealand COVID19 alert system and being forced to close.
  • Light up your garden: The days getting darker earlier, so find an exciting way to brighten up the garden with lights.

I hope by reading this article, you get the garden bug. The ideas above are just some of the many garden activities that you can do. Take time to research, dream and plan your garden and what your endeavours will bring to your garden for the future, in this time of self-isolation and social distancing. You never know at the end of self-isolation you may have an excellent community talking point.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

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