Thursday, March 26, 2020

Stay In! The (Non) Events Column, March 26 - April 2, 2020

by Peggy Robin

It's another week of not going out -- but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy Springtime. If you've got a garden, get out there and dig. Weed, water, fertilize, and you will be mightily rewarded.

If you don't have a garden -- do you have a windowsill that gets good light? You can grow so many things indoors that will surprise and delight -- and this is true even for those with the brownest of brown thumbs (me!).

Oh, I've killed my share of plants, both outdoors and indoors, over the years, I must admit, but there's long been just one thing that lives on, despite my poor maintenance skills. It's a small potted cactus that's been in my kitchen windowsill since 1997, and it's the hardiest thing imaginable. While all else is withering, that cactus keeps growing and growing. I've had to re-pot it twice to bigger pots. It even blooms periodically!

If this activity appeals to you, it may be hard to find an open garden store near you, but you can find cactus plants for sale at hardware stores or at big box stores like Target and Walmart. Or you can order them off the internet. Here's just one example of what you can get for less than six bucks:

As for the techniques needed to start and maintain different types of plants in the garden or in a windowsill -- I won't get started with recommendations for this or that website or YouTube instructional video. Far too many out there! My advice is just to ask The Great, Wise, and Infinite Google to help you find the specific planting/growing advice you seek (as in this example: "Grow basil in a windowsill"). Just don't spend all day watching the videos, or you may never actually get going on your plan to start to grow something in real life

Not sure what type of gardening would work best for you while you shelter in place? Here's a key question that you might want to consider in light of the current crisis:

Would you rather have something beautiful to admire or something good to eat? If  your answer is food, then try growing fresh herbs. That combines two productive uses of your time -- gardening and cooking in one shot.

If you answered beauty, here's something to consider when choosing a flowering plant: You can get fragrance along with a colorful display. And that can be a predictor of illness during the coronavirus crisis, which has as one of its early sign the loss of the sense of smell. You can grow fragrant flowers in pots indoors and grow them outdoors and take in some cuttings to keep in a vase. That way, not only will your house have a fresh, floral scent but you can give the flowers a sniff a few times a day to check out your state of health. More fun than a thermometer in your ear!

Here's a fun little internet quiz to find out what type of gardening best suits your personality: (in terms of scientific accuracy, it's about on the same level as "Which Disney princess are you?) And if your answer turns out to be, gardening of any kind is not for me, don't worry -- the Stay In (formerly the Get Out! events column) will be back at this time next week with another non-event-based recommendation.
The Stay In! Non-Events Column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

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