Family gardening together

5 things to do with your family during lockdown

We may have another while left of lockdown in Ireland, but your garden still remains the safest place to be. This free time can be spent preparing your garden for Summer, and spending quality time with family. With the improving Spring weather, there's no excuse not to get out in the garden! Here are Paraics top 5 things to do with your family during lockdown.

Sweet Apples & Strawberries in the one pot on your patio

Lockdown has given us a lot of time to experiment in the garden. Why not experiment by growing sweet apples and strawberries on your patio in one single pot! If planted now, both will produce deliciously sweet apples and scrumptious strawberries in the coming months. They'll be ready in Summer for you to to enjoy on a warm day on your patio. What's better than some tasty, refreshing fruit in the Summer!

What you need:
  • Large Terracotta pot or timber Pot.
  • 1 Coronet Dwarf family apple tree (this lovely tree has 2 different varieties of sweet apples on it).
  • 6 strawberry plants - I recommend the Elsanta variety.
  • Multi purpose compost.
How to:

Simply plant the family apple tree in the center of the pot and plant the 6 strawberry plants around the base. You can then add some water. Place it on your patio and look forward to home grown beautiful sweet apples and delicious red strawberries in mid Summer! It's so easy and your kids will just love this fun gardening project.

Health Kick: Wheatgrass & a salad bar from a window box

Looking for easy ways to boost your intake of healthy and nutritious foods? Many people are using this lockdown to start making healthier decisions. Why not grow your own wheatgrass in a window box - it's the perfect health kick! This could also be a cut and come salad bar, or could be full of micro greens - whatever it is that suits your current health needs.  You can read more about wheatgrass and its benefits here

  • Wheatgrass seeds OR Speedy veg cut & come leaves OR Micro greens
  • Window box or deep tray
  • Cling film
  • Multi purpose compost.
How to:
  1. Fill your window box with multipurpose compost and water well.
  2. Sow the seeds of any edibles into the compost and cover the window box or tray with a layer of cling film (this keeps the moisture in so you don't have to water). Place the window box on a bright sunny windowsill.
  3. Once the seeds pop remove the cling film and allow to grow.
  4. Trim the wheatgrass or speedy veg when it gets to about 4 inches high and allow the stems to grow back. You can crop regularly throughout the Spring and Summer.
Growing Pink Lemonade blueberries in a pot

This is a great lockdown project for the family. Blueberries are full of delicious sweetness and come packed full of benefits. They're high in antioxidants and are often labelled a superfood. Blueberries are named after their deep blue colour, but did you know that there's a blueberry variety that's pink in colour? This variety is called Pink Lemonade and it produces beautiful, sweet, pink berries every Summer.

These interesting, tasty berries are a super fun grow-your-own project for the kids - after all, “The child that grows a strawberry eats a strawberry”. This is so true for all edible plants whether it's strawberries, blueberries, or apples - get the kids growing and they're much more likely to taste and eat these healthy foods! To make this project even more interesting, grow some edible flower seeds around the blueberry plant. You'll be rewarded with some amazing colours and tastes in Summer!

What you need:
  • Pink Lemonade Blueberry plant
  • Large terracotta or plastic pot
  • Ericaceous compost and feed
  • Edible flower seeds including: Nasturtiums, Violas, Begonias
How to:
  1. Get the children to put the compost into a pot.
  2. Plant the Pink Lemonade blueberry plant into the center of the pot and then sow the edible flower seeds around the base of the pot.
  3. Place the pot on your patio and sit back. The edible seeds will pop in 5 weeks and flower in mid-Summer. They can be eat from mid-June and are lovely in a Gin and Tonic. Your Pink lemonade blueberries will be ready to eat from late Summer until early Winter - YUM!
Kitchen herbs and spices for your window this Easter

Fancy growing your own fresh herbs for Easter? Popular kitchen herbs include parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano and chives. These are all so easy to grow and can be placed on a sunny patio or a window sill. Herbs are also lovely to taste and smell so kids will really enjoy growing these! 

What you need:
  • Selection of your favourite herbs (Select varieties you use on a regular basis).
  • You can use pots, window boxes, deep trays or a  selection of different pots.
  • Multipurpose compost and some perlite.
  • A sharp scissors for trimming your herbs. 
How to:
  1. Simply mix the compost and perlite together - herbs like a gritty compost.
  2. Fill up your pots or window boxes with the mix and water the compost.
  3. Plant your herbs and place the planted containers on a bright sunny windowsill or place outdoors in a south facing window sill.
  4. Cut your homegrown herbs weekly. This stimulates new tender growth full of fresh herb flavours. Remember that once cut, fresh herbs can be stored in zip lock bags for 10 days in your fridge. They can even be frozen in ice cube trays for use later.
Shop herbs
Grow your own crispy potato chips at home

What makes the perfect chip? Let's face it, we all love the perfect crispy chip with dinner. However, not all potatoes are good for chipping.

The perfect potato for crispy chips or roasties has high dry matter. Maris Piper is one of the most popular but other varieties can also be excellent. They're perfect to grow on your patio for the best homemade fries this Summer.

What you need:
How to:
  1. Simply mix the compost and Vitax Q4 feed together
  2. Place 6 inches of the mix into the Vegebag or pot.
  3. Place 6 tubers of your favourite potato variety from the list above.
  4. Add in another layer of compost mix and firm down, then add in a second layer of 6 potato tubers.
  5. Finally add another 6 inches of compost and water the compost well. Zip up the Vegebag and place in a bright location on your balcony or patio and wait for the potatoes to grow. You only need to add water from now until you pick your first potatoes in mid-June. You can then start frying those lovely home made chips! 
Shop seed potatoes

Those are Paraics top 5 things to do with your family during lockdown. Have you got a gardening question on your mind? Just contact your local Horkans Garden Centre  where one of our helpful and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have.

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