Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.
You might think of gardening as an outdoor activity, but actually there are a lot of really fun ways you can get your hands dirty inside, too.
Personally, I love nothing better than spending a rainy spring afternoon repotting my houseplants to get them ready for growing season, and if you’re stuck indoors for much longer than you ever expected due to quarantine, a little time playing in the dirt might be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe it’s the former farmgirl in me, but I think there’s something so grounding about having a little grit underneath your nails!
So, go ahead, crack open that window to let in a little fresh air, spread out an old sheet or some newspapers, grab a bag of potting soil, and dig into one of these fun indoor gardening projects. Even if you have a self-professed “brown thumb,” you might be surprised at how much fun you have and how well your projects turn out.
Just because you don’t have an outdoor space to sow a garden doesn’t mean you can’t grow fresh produce and herbs—or really any other plants your heart desires. Container gardening allows you to grow all types of plants indoors, and all you need to get started is a few pots, soil, and fertilizer. You can start with seeds if you’re feeling ambitious (more on that in a minute), or repot some seedlings from your local nursery to give yourself a head start.
In addition to a few tomato plants and herbs in your container garden, why not try your hand at growing microgreens, too? Not only do they grow quickly and with minimal effort, but these miniature greens are a delicious addition to salads, sandwiches, and other culinary adventures.
To start growing microgreens, grab an old casserole dish, soil, and some vegetable seeds—any variety will work, but beets, peas, and radishes are popular. You’ll want to plant the seeds in a thin layer of soil, then place the dish in a warm, humid location until they germinate. When the little plants sprout, just water, harvest, and repeat!
If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, a Japanese moss garden would be the perfect spring centerpiece for your dining table. Called kokedama, these beautiful arrangements are essentially a bulb wrapped in a piece of sheet moss and secured with twine. You can use a spring bulb—like a tulip or daffodil—or get creative, using the ball to hold an orchid, fern, or fun succulent variety.
While some plants seem hell-bent on dying (like the ever-trendy fiddle leaf figs), other ones will do anything to keep on growing. In fact, there are several items in your fridge that will keep growing if given the opportunity!
A lot of vegetable scraps will regrow roots and keep on flourishing if planted, allowing you to get more bang for your buck. One of the most common vegetables for this project is romaine lettuce—just give the butt a few inches of water, and it will start sprouting new leaves in a matter of days! You can also do this with celery, bok choy, and scallions.
These veggies all grow back quickly, but if you’re in it for the long haul, you can regrow potatoes, onions, and even pineapples.
Are you running out of surfaces to put your new houseplants? I frequently have this problem, and while you can often squeeze a few more onto a bookcase with some strategic rearranging, you could also just create a vertical garden. Items like ladders, pallets, and pipes can all be used to create vertical plant displays, helping you pack even more greenery into your home.
After I graduated college, I was living at home with my parents as I looked for a job, and one day (for reasons I can’t recall), I saved the seeds from a lemon I was cooking with. Later, I brought the seeds to my mom—the plant lady—and asked, “Do you think I could grow these?” Her response was, “I don’t know. Try it.”
Six years later, I can confidently report that you can, in fact, grow a lemon tree from seeds plucked out of grocery store produce. My lemon tree is one of my favorite plants, and I’m holding out hope that one day it will even produce its own fruit.
All that to say, if you have some seeds lying around—whether from a package or from fresh produce—it’s incredibly rewarding to grow them into plants. Try starting an herb garden on your kitchen counter, or see if you can get produce seeds to germinate like I did!
Personally, I like to use the paper towel method to get seeds started. Simply wrap a few of them in a damp paper towel and place it inside a sealed plastic baggie. Put the bag in a dark, warm place and check on it every few days, dampening the paper towel as needed. I’m currently trying to get an avocado seed to sprout this way.
As you can see, there are lots of indoor gardening projects you can tackle this spring, no matter your gardening skill level. The worst thing that happens is your plants die, but then you can simply donate them to your compost bin and start again.
What gardening projects do you have lined up this month? Tell us in the comments below!