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Houseplants and veg patches

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Monday, 1st March 2021, 08:00

It’s March already and things are definitely starting to move in the garden. You will be seeing bulbs appear that you have forgotten about, adding to the feeling of optimism and renewal that nature gives us.

Cacti as houseplants are becoming very popular, as they suit a contemporary home and demand little attention, but can need a bit of TLC by the end of the winter. Don’t just leave them to get dusty and forgotten on a windowsill, but put them in some fresh soil (you can get cactus compost from the garden centre) and put in a slightly larger pot.

Watch your hands on the spines (you can use some card to make a handle to wrap around the plant). Finally, water very sparingly just around the edge, making sure not to wet the plant.

Houseplants help with mindfulness

House plants in general are very in vogue. This is to do with all the extra time we are spending at home and the trends towards mindfulness and calmness. It is recognised that plants do help the atmosphere in a home. If you have room, a large plant like the fiddle leaved fig (Ficus lyrata) is a nice statement plant which can grow over six feet tall.

Look on the RHS website for house plant advice – or find a local plant shop – because the siting of plants is all important due to the various light levels and temperatures that different plants need.

Have a go at growing your own this year

If you have never tried before, do grow at least one thing for eating this year. Produce for beginners to grow would be runner beans, cherry tomatoes, courgettes and cut and come again lettuces.

Don’t plant a whole packet of seed unless you have lots of time and freezer space – share a packet amongst some interested friends or neighbours.

Fool proof tomatoes

The cherry tomatoes need starting off inside in a warm place towards the end of the month. Varieties like Tumbler can be grown in baskets and pots, and need no special training so are pretty fool proof.

Lettuce can be sown in small short rows every couple of weeks so you get a succession of plants to pick over. No one needs 10 courgette plants unless they are running a restaurant – two or three will be ample, and really one is just fine if space is limited.

Runner beans can be made into a wigwam of canes and five or six plants are enough for this. Sow two beans per pot and nip off the weaker one to ensure good germination.

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