Musings on nature
Welcome to my first blog post on the Natural Selection web page. These posts will be my general musings and thoughts on nature and the world around me. Different things may provide inspiration each week, some will focus on topics related to the podcast and some will be about a research paper or a species that I find interesting. For the next couple of posts, I’ve been inspired by the changing seasons and the animals and new life around me.
As June begins so do the first signs of summer. Where I’m living in the UK the weather is warming up and bringing with it a desire to seek out green spaces. With social distancing measures continuing this can create difficulties, so I thought I would share some ways to bring nature and plants to you. If you have access to a garden there are a plethora of things to plant and sow. Even if you don’t have access to a green space there are plenty of things that can be planted indoors.
I have compiled some ideas for gardening and planting. Hopefully, this will provide inspiration or at least provide a starting point from which to do further research about what you can grow in the space you’re in. These mostly apply to the UK and Ireland, and similarly temperate regions, but I will include references to find information for your region. I have used several different sources and I will include the information and links at the end.
Fruit and vegetables
There are many types of fruit and veg that can be sown outdoors to be enjoyed during summer and autumn. Not only will you get to have beautiful greenery and plants but you’ll get to eat it too! Broccoli, carrots, and squashes, such as pumpkin and courgette, are among the many veg that can be planted now to enjoy in late summer and autumn. Salad crops can be sown now too. Spring onions, lettuce and pak choi seeds can be sown directly into the soil outside. These crops will grow back after cutting so you will get to enjoy plenty of salad.
If like me, you don’t have access to an outdoor planting space there is a handy method for growing some veg indoors from scraps. Spring onions being one, and it’s very easy to do. Slice off the ends of the spring onion leaving the roots attached, a few centimeters should be enough. Stand the bulbs root end down in a small glass or jar of water. I would recommend using a narrow glass if you can because I had trouble standing the bulbs upright in mine. Make sure the tops of the onion (the part you cut) is out of the water.
Leave in a sunny place and replace the water every couple of days. Shoots should start growing after a few days. At this point when the shoots have grown a bit, these onions can be planted in soil and will continue growing almost perpetually, if planting outdoors, you could even let them flower to produce seeds. If you keep them in the water they will continue growing but they’ll weaken and stop producing eventually. Within about a week you should have new spring onions.
Plenty of other veg grow from scraps too so if you have success with spring onion you could try your hand at garlic, celery, or lettuce to name but a few.
Green spaces are so important for our health and wellbeing, both at an individual level but also for the planet as a whole. Having green spaces in cities helps clean air and reduce pollution, on top of this, green spaces help lower stress and improve mental wellbeing. Gardens and green spaces are also a great way to help wildlife and diversity.
Flowers are a great way to bring pollinators and insect life into your green space. Lavender is a great choice because it is hardy and smells amazing. Sunflowers too are a great attractant for bees and also look lovely. If you have sown your seeds already sunflower saplings can be transplanted outdoors now. Bees also love daisies and dandelions so let them flower and grow before you cut your grass if you can.
Sage and thyme will also be flowering around now and are a great source of nectar for butterflies. Herbs are another one that can also be grown indoors, on balconies, or patios without needing too much space and are often sold in pots in the supermarket so these are a great option if you don’t have access to a garden.
I hope these tips and ideas are helpful and that you get to enjoy some time growing and caring for plants. Below are links to various sites where I sourced my information. Join me next week for another summer themed blog and a follow up on how my spring onions are doing.
Thanks for reading,