In these strange times, more and more of us are turning to gardening as a means of exercise, escape from the pandemic worry, and growing our own fruit & veg. Gardening is brilliant for all of those things – but how do you get cracking during lockdown if you don’t already have lots of gardening supplies?
This post aims to help you improvise with what you’ve already got, and also lists UK online gardening retailers that are currently still despatching orders.
Do I really need to buy it?
In the current climate, and with the delivery network already struggling, I think we should all be asking ourselves this question before placing online orders.
Can you improvise with what you’ve already got? Here are some ideas for ways to do this.
Ways to improvise with gardening supplies during lockdown
Seeds tend to come in pretty large quantities per packet, and the chances are you won’t be sowing them all this year, so if you can share them safely with local gardeners that’s great.
Do you have a neighbourhood group setup on social media? This is a great way to share and swap seeds and plants locally; obviously this needs to be done in accordance with isolation and lockdown guidelines, so always suggest that things are left on doorsteps rather than handed over in person.
When it comes to garden tools and equipment, there’s often a way to improvise with what you’ve already got. Cardboard toilet roll tubes, egg boxes and yoghurt pots all make great plant pots. Rubber gloves will work in place of gardening gloves. Kids’ sand spades and rakes are a good alternative to hand tools. You can raid the recycling for sturdy plastic to cut into plant labels. Plastic milk bottles can be turned into watering cans if you pierce holes in the lid. Use crushed eggshells to deter slugs and snails, and deal with weeds using natural methods such as smothering or digging up by hand.
Lots of seeds need a bit of heat to germinate, and if you don’t already have a mini greenhouse or cold frame, this can be a major stumbling block at this time of year. This is where your indoor windowsills come in very handy! And again, think about the contents of your recycling bin. Clear plastic bottles can be cut in half to create a small growhouse for a single plant; here’s how. Do you have any clear plastic food trays that could work as a lid over a tray of seeds? Freezer bags are another easy way to create a tent over pots, if you go for this option try to reuse the plastic as much as possible, and remember to remove the bags regularly for ventilation purposes. You might also find my post on how to improvise with seed sowing equipment useful.
Making your own compost is a very good idea, even when it’s much easier to buy it! You literally turn your garden waste into free compost for zero cost, and it’s really easy to do. It takes a few months to get a supply going, so the sooner you can get started the better. There’s a good guide to making your own compost here.
Still on compost, do you have any containers lying around from last year that are full of it? It will be a bit exhausted from feeding your plants, but you can mix it with fresh compost to make things go further. Or you can simply use it again and make sure you feed your plants regularly.
Finally, can you add anything to your usual groceries shop? Many larger branches of supermarkets have a good gardening range in-store, including compost. Sainsburys, Asda and Morrisons also have a gardening range on their home delivery sites, so if you’ve got a delivery slot booked this is one way to limit the impact of shopping online.
Online gardening retailers
If you’ve exhausted all other options and need to get hold of gardening supplies during lockdown, here’s a list of gardening retailers that are currently still despatching orders. It’s also worth checking to see if your local nurseries are offering mail order, these smaller outlets would no doubt be very grateful for your business.
This information is correct at the time of writing, but please be mindful of the fact that the situation is changing daily with regards to stock availability and retailer policies. Also, as you can probably imagine demand is unusually high right now, so delivery times may vary.
Online garden centres
These retailers offer a wide range of gardening supplies, usually including seeds, plants, garden tools and equipment, compost etc.
Dalefoot Composts – compost only
Compost Direct – compost & topsoil
Seed & plant retailers
Tamar Organics – site open 9-10am weekdays only
Potato House – seed potatoes only
Jackson’s Nurseries – new orders suspended as at 27th May
Gardener’s World also have a list of specialist plant retailers.
More gardening advice
For more easy gardening tips and advice you might like to take a look at these posts:
Have you got any great tips on how to improvise in the garden during lockdown? Share them in the comments and we can all help each other 🙂