No matter your personal tastes and lifestyle, there is usually a way to enjoy gardening at home. Whether you and your family have a house in the suburbs or you're living alone in an apartment, everyone can make it work.
So to give you some inspiration, we at Bored Panda put together a list of creative gardening ideas for Spring. We included building a pallet planter box for cascading flowers. Setting up a bucket for growing tomatoes indoors. You name it! Just continue scrolling and check them out.
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We contacted a few avid gardeners to learn more about how to help your plants blossom. "Some consider autumn to be the start of the gardening year but for most people, it's spring," Dan Cooper aka The Frustrated Gardener told Bored Panda. "The soil is warmer, the sun is brighter and plants naturally want to grow. We all feel a sense of renewal and optimism in spring, this year especially. It feels natural to get outside and help nature along. Right now, garden centers and nurseries will be brimming with healthy plants. Spring is when you'll have the most varieties to choose from."
Catherine Hughes, the creator of home & garden blog Growing Family, said that spring is also an ideal time to tackle any garden projects you have planned, so that you're ready to sit back and enjoy your outdoor space once summer arrives. "Once the chance of frost has disappeared, you can sow seeds outdoors and plant tender plants in the garden. It's a good idea to try and stay on top of weeds too, because they can quickly take over at this time of year. You should mow your lawn regularly once it starts to grow again, and if the weather starts to get really warm, you might also need to water your plants regularly."
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The Frustrated Gardener agreed that the main tasks for the season are seed sowing and planting the bulbs and tubers of plants such as gladioli, begonias, and dahlias. "If you are planting new beds and borders, or even creating an entirely new garden, now is a good time to plant pot-grown perennials and shrubs," he said. "Planted into warm ground, they'll be growing away in no time. If you're planting half-hardy annuals, exotic plants or vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers, these should be kept indoors or in a greenhouse until any chance of frost has passed. In the UK, for example, that's normally late May."
Acknowledging the importance of planning ahead, The Frustrated Gardener added that it's also critical to watch the weather closely. "This spring has been unusually cold, so wise gardeners have adjusted their plans to avoid tender plants being damaged by frost and snow," he pointed out.
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Michael Perry, the man behind the gardening blog Mr. Plant Geek, said if you wait until the summer planting, it would be much more difficult to establish the plants, and you'd need to give them a whole lot more care. "During the spring, you can plant bulbs, you can plant out perennial and shrub plants, and prepare some patio containers. Make sure you wait until all risk of frost has gone for tender plants though."
Interestingly, more and more Americans have started gardening during the pandemic. According to Home Food Gardening: U.S. Market Trends & Opportunities by the market research firm Packaged Facts, 26% of surveyed American consumers noted that they are planting a food garden because of the pandemic. The Washington Post reported that seed companies were "shell shocked" by the huge volume of orders they experienced this year. For example, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds received 4,500 orders daily, twice the usual peak demand of spring, and was forced to close down its website and turn down new orders. Renee’s Garden usually receives a peak of 350 daily orders in the spring, but that number skyrocketed to 2,000 in 2021.
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Alison Levey of Blackberry Garden told us that spring is also a good time to divide perennials as they are stirring and ready to grow. But if you're just starting out and all of this sounds like a lot of work, don't worry. Remember what Bob Ross said—we don't make mistakes. Just happy accidents.
"A good mindset for a newbie or any gardener is 'let's try this and see what happens,'" Levey said. "Gardening teaches us something new every day: some things work, some don't. You just have to accept the failures and celebrate the successes as the successes are the best thing ever."
Pallet Planter Box For Cascading Flowers
Cut pieces of pallet slat to 40″ and attach to the legs for the front and 16″ for the sides. I originally used a brad nailer, but some of the wood started to warp when wet and I went back and used 1 1/4″ screws. Spacing the holes about every 6″ or so. Now the fun part, planting the flowers. These flowers are Wave petunias that I got at Costco, you can also rotate the flowers between regular, cascade and wave petunias. You need good potting mix and you need to add Soil Moist to help retain water. I put a layer of weed guard down on the bottom, because I had a few holes. You may have a little dirt wash out for the first little while, but once the plants start growing this will stop. Add the first row of flowers, then cover with soil. I realized that the box is kind of large and is going to use a lot of dirt (2 bags). I remember reading somewhere that you can use packing peanuts as filler, hope I remember that right. I put them in the far back where the flowers wouldn’t be planted. Then cover with more dirt. Add the third row of flowers, fill with dirt and plant flowers on top. You need to water the flowers everyday, the holes let the dirt get dry. I usually water until the water leaks from the lower holes. I also fertilize 1/week.
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To encourage you even further, The Frustrated Gardener reminded us of a universal truth: plants inherently want to survive and flourish, not die. "Some are tricky to grow, of course, so avoid these and start with easy, inexpensive plants that will reward you quickly, such as colorful annuals," he suggested. "Once you've mastered these, start to spend a bit more and explore different plant types which suit your environment. Don't buy expensive plants unless you are confident about how to look after them. If in doubt, ask an experienced gardener for advice; they will be flattered to be asked and will give you great advice."
Failure is part of the process, so don't be too hard on yourself—you might get plenty of benefits if you stick to gardening. "As well as being fun and good exercise, it is really good for your mental health too," Hughes said. "It gives you the opportunity to engage with nature and enjoy all the mood-boosting benefits that come with this. Gardening can also provide a calm space to organize your thoughts, or just escape from the world for a while. It's a pretty powerful tool to have outside your back door, and spring is a great time to take advantage of it!"
Incorporating Rain Into Your Garden
Even though there is increasing evidence that gardening provides substantial human health benefits, not much formal statistical assessment has been conducted to really test this assertion. However, a 2017 meta-analysis by M. Soga, K. J. Gaston, and Y. Yamaura found that participating in gardening activities has a significant positive impact on us. After going through 22 case studies, the researchers concluded that "the positive association with gardening was observed for a wide range of health outcomes, such as reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms, stress, mood disturbance, and BMI, as well as increases in quality of life, sense of community, physical activity levels, and cognitive function."
"Don't be afraid of failure. Remember that plants are living things just like people and may not always behave or perform the way you expect them to!" Mr. Plant Geek said. "Feel free to break the rules too. Do what feels right for you in your own outdoor space."
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We've Converted Our Pool Into An 80,000l Underground Rainwater Tank With Raised Vegetable Garden Beds On Top
The pool was in disrepair when we bought our property. It hadn't been used for ~10 years, the fence wasn't built to current standards, the tiles needed replacing, the pumps didn't work etc etc. We don't live in a great climate for a pool either - it's too cool most of the year and the size made it impractical to heat with solar (the previous owner used solar + a gas heater). Rather than spend money repairing and maintaining a pool we'd rarely use we decided to explore other options. We'd always wanted a large veggie garden, and the pool area looked like the perfect sunny spot for one. We originally considered just filling it in, but there's no access for machinery and doing it by hand would have been impractical.
We came up with the slightly crazy idea of putting a lid on it and using the space underneath as rainwater storage. I sketched up some ideas, we approached an engineer and before long we had a workable design.
Cleaning was lot of work. There was about a foot of accumulated sludge in the bottom.
After many hours of pressure cleaning it was starting to look better. It's a huge pool, about 10m long and 2.2m at the deep end. We thought about sealing it with a paint on sealer at this point, but we can always do this later if leaks are a problem.
The solution we used for the lid is called "Speedfloor". It uses steel joists spaced ~1m apart to suspend a concrete slab. It's commonly used in multi-story carparks in Australia.
You can also see the submersible pump feeding into the pool from what was originally the overflow point. The pump provides mains pressure and is plumbed to the house (via 2 filters).
I have two of these 500L tanks catching water from both sides of the house. Both downpipes have first flush systems and the tanks act as settling tanks to improve the water quality in the main tank. They both gravity feed into the pool via underground pipes.
At this point we had 80,000L of clean water storage and were running the whole house from rainwater. It had taken ~1 year to get to this point - about 6 months of effort getting the plans approved by our local council and another 6 months of preparing the tank and organising builders for the slab (and changing builder part way through when the first went bust!). We had a slab party and a well deserved break.
Back to work assembling the raised garden beds. We fit 9 total, each about 2.2m long and 1.2m wide. They each have a liner to stop soil washing out and gravel base to aid drainage and keep water off the slab as best we can (even though it shouldn't matter with the grade of concrete used).
We tried out wicking beds made from IBCs but were concerned about the extra weight the water reservoir would add.
We've grown almost everything you can think of - permanent beds grow raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb and asparagus. Other things we've tried include tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, squash, turnips, beetroot, broad beans, string beans, snow peas, various chilies, artichokes, spring onions, garlic, capsicum, kale, lettuce, spinach, loads of herbs etc etc etc!
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How To Regrow Romaine Lettuce From The Stem
1. Eat your purchased lettuce, cutting the leaves at about 1 inch from the bottom.
2. Place remaining stem in a shallow dish of water (about 1/2 inch).
3. Place on a window sill or under grow lights.
4. Change water in bowl every 1 to 2 days.
5. Watch your lettuce grow. It is truly remarkable how quickly the new shoots start. You may also notice that roots will start to grow on the bottom.
5. After 10-12 days, your lettuce is going to be as big as it will likely ever get. It’s not going to be a full head of lettuce, it’ll just be enough to top a sandwich or make a small salad. But how cool is that!
6. If you leave your lettuce beyond this point, it will become spindly and bitter as it attempts to produce seed. It won’t be pleasant to eat at this point. You’ll know it has reached this point when the leaves start turning a blue green color and/or the main stalk shoots up and leaves become less dense. Trust me, eat it when it’s like the photo below.