Whether you are a green fingered gardening guru or trying it out for the very first time, we’ll be sharing vieos, ideas and useful tips to help people grow veg at home during lock down through our #GrowingTogether campaign.
If you have a windowsill, garden or access to an allotment - we’ll be keeping it varied so that’s there’s something for everyone to try out. They are designed to be very family friendly, and fun to do with children.
Gardening is great for the body and mind and a connection to the natural world is proven to benefit wellbeing and mental health. Growing Together is a celebration of life and growth at this difficult time,and a chance for us to connect and support each other.
Many of our videos feature our very own Conor O'Kane from Social Farms & Gardens Northern Ireland, whose weekly Facebook videos have been featured on BBC Radio stations across Northern Ireland. The charity is running a Big Lottery project called ‘Growing Resilience - Digging Deeper’, which increases social capital and resilience in the community growing sector in Northern Ireland.
Buying seeds, compost and plants
This article by Gardener's World has a list of all online suppliers who are still selling during the pandemic.
If you don't have an outdoor space you can still grow. Here are a collection of our favourite ideas.
How to grow pea shoots
This has to be one of our favourites and is a great place to start if you are new to growing. It's easy to do and very rewarding. The pea shoots start showing in the first few days after planting, and you'll be eating them in 2-3 weeks. Not only that, but you can grow them in an old box or seed tray on your windowsill. The dried peas ('Marrowfat peas') can be purchased from supermarkets and wholefood shops. We like this helpful blog and video by Vertical Veg
Grow veg from scraps
Did you know you can regrow many vegetables from the bits that are normally chopped off? We love this idea from 'Don't waste the crumbs'
Lettuce, Green Onion, Celery, Carrots, Leeks work best. Try it out by placing the root in a shallow dish of water and see what happens.
Create a sensory garden
Create a 'sensory garden' out of recycled materials and bits and pieces from around the house and garden. A sensory garden can be everything from a window box to a space in the garden.
Even a windowsill garden can create a feeling of closeness to nature.
Growing in pots
You can grow most veg in pots, whether you have a balcony, patio or garden, these are all fun to try.
Hugelpots, Carrots, and Solar Gain
Conor shows how to build a Hugelpot (a mini hugelculture container, that reduces the need for feeding and watering), then takes us through the seed sowing process for carrots and how to improve your chances of good germination using old plastic.
Visit the SF&G Northern Ireland Facebook page for more.
The team in Northern Ireland are encouraging members and others to make short 3 min videos of whatever they are doing in their garden that would be useful for other gardeners and new gardeners to try out. Email [email protected]
Grow potatoes in an old shopping bag
Visit our Northern Ireland facebook page to see Conor showing how easy it is to plant potatoes in a shopping bag. Also a handy way to use up sprouted potatoes from your kitchen veg basket!
Sunflower growing - free seeds and prizes to be won
Able Community Care have kindly invited us and our members to take part in their 'Tallest Sunflower' competition!
Great for wildlife, sunflowers make people smile, and Able Community Care is hoping to bring a bit of sunshine in these difficult times. The competition is open to all ages, children under 16 receive a £100 amazon voucher, and adults receive bouquets of flowers for you or a loved one for 6 months.
If you would like to take part in the competition - email [email protected] to register that you are taking part and request your FREE sunflower pack. If you have any questions you can call them on 01603 764 567.
For tips on how to grow sunflowers from seed check out this article by Gardener's World
Easy growing activities with children - strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes and carrots
Kids Country, the East of England Agricultural Society's education initiative, is posting a schedule of daily activities that can be carried out at home for little or no cost. The activities are designed for doing with children, but anyone can follow their step by step activities on their website or by viewing their videos on Facebook.
Growing in a garden
Leeks are one of the best crops to grow in colder conditions. Conor explains how they tolerate the sometimes 'foul weather' in Northern Ireland and can cope with the rare heatwaves we experience too. An outdoor crop that you can start picking as a baby crop from July or August, that stands until the following April for late varieties it adds fresh flavour right through our long wintry weather season.
Conor here shares some tips on sowing leeks and shows how easy it is to start off a large crop of leeks (200+) in an ordinary seed tray.