The coronavirus pandemic continues to grow in severity and more people are being asked to self-isolate at home. Panic buying has stripped supermarket shelves of all but non-essential items and the Government is strongly advising people to avoid crowds and public transport, which makes food shopping very difficult for many people.
Amongst some of the older generations there is a rekindling or that wartime spirit that so many people have heard of, but never experienced. The attitude of many is that they’ve been through worse, and many joke that there’s still more food available than there was during the 1940s, and with regular bombing raids up until 1945, people tended not to go out much anyway! Everybody hunkered down, and made the most of what they had.
But one lesson that all children still learn in history lessons is the government war time advice to Dig For Victory! During the war and post-war years, nothing went to waste, and everybody would grow a little food, even if they only had a windowsill.
Even though supermarkets will soon improve the food supply chains and food will be back on the shelves very soon, if you are in isolation for the next 12 weeks then growing your own food will keep you occupied, active and help save some money, as well as taking the pressure off the shops.
Being in isolation does not mean you can’t go outside. The government advice is to stay withing 2 metres of your boundary if possible, and being in your garden is considered not only safe but advisable for good health, fresh air and exercise.
If you have a garden, balcony or even just a windowsill, it is possible to start growing staples, salad vegetables and fruits. We have a range of Gardening Aids that will help you dig for victory. The weather is getting warmer and late March / early April is the perfect time to start sowing some seeds in pots, or direct into the ground – so long as the last frost date has passed. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a greenhouse either, you can get small plants started on a windowsill in your kitchen or bathroom, then move outside when it is warmer.
The easiest, and best, crops to grow in the UK are generally considered to be:
- Onions and garlic
- Salad leaves
- Chillies and peppers
- Broad Beans & Runners
- Cress and Mustard
Growing food takes time and you need to attend your plot daily to keep weeds and pests away, but time is something that many of us have if we’re in isolation. So start preparing the ground, sowing some seeds and planting some seedlings.
There are many websites where you can order seeds online in the UK, here’s a list of some of the most popular at the moment – please make sure you only purchase what you will use:
There is a huge amount of information online on how to grow food, we recommend websites such as the RHS’s Grow Your Own. Thompson & Morgan, one of the seed suppliers listed above, have produced a guide to the Top 10 easy to grow vegetable, fruit & salad seeds and plants for beginners. Seed packets also come with instruction on the best time to sow and when to harvest. For advice on specialist tools for those with mobility issues, see our Gardening With CareCo article, and discover our range of CareCo Long Reach Gardening Tools.