We’re not ones to productivity shame, as let’s face it, we’re all busy just trying to exist right now (juggling key working, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning and shopping during these difficult circumstances is enough to keep anyone on their toes), but now is a great time to get growing fruit and vegetables. Whether you’re a green-fingered gardener or a keen-been looking to make the most of the lockdown to have a go for the first time, we’ve got some top tips for you!
Although it might take a little while before you can savour the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour, growing your own has a number of benefits. Not only is a spot of gardening great for mental wellbeing at the moment – even cultivating something small like a few pots of herbs on the kitchen windowsill will give you a sense of achievement – you’ll have some tasty treats for the table which come with much-reduced food miles (it can be mere metres) and fewer pesticides. If you’ve got a larger garden or allotment, you may even be growing enough to lessen your reliance on supermarkets and be self-sufficient – and growing some heritage or rare varieties to boot!
The first hurdle, of course, is getting your hands on your gardening goodies. With many garden centres now closed and some operating on much-reduced staff levels, tracking down essential plants, seed and compost are a little trickier than normal. Fear not though, a few of the Island’s garden centres are now offering contact-free click and collect services or home delivery. You’ll find a guide to those currently open at the end of this article.
Social media may also be your saviour too – the current climate (and we don’t mean the weather this time), has seen community spirit beginning to flourish. The Island’s gardeners have been getting together digitally, and Green Island Veg Economy (GIVE) is a Facebook page dedicated to all things which can be grown at home or on your allotment. The page has seen Islanders sharing knowledge, tips, advice and photos – as well as their spare seeds, plants and even pots, as people have begun to offer their surplus for others to swap or collect (adhering to social distance guidelines of course). So if you can’t source a particular seed or plant, or have items to share, take a look!
For a true ‘taste of the Wight’, get growing! If you’re looking for some more inspiration on what to grow, why not take a look at our ‘On your marks, get set, grow’ article from last year?
Stores offering home delivery or click and collect:
Honnor & Jeffrey
Offering a delivery service and a contact-free ‘click and collect’ option from the Sandown garden centre, and are open for orders Monday to Saturday 9am–5pm. They are prioritising deliveries for those self-isolating. Call 01983 868602 to arrange a delivery, or for Click and Collect email firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of items and your telephone number so they can contact you for payment and your allotted collection time.
Jubilee Garden Centre
Although the garden centre is closed, Jubilee are currently running a delivery service. To order please email email@example.com and leave your phone number so a member of the team can get back to you. Delivery is £5 for the local area, £10 west and south-west of the Island and Cowes.
Root & Fruit
The shop open for fruit and veg, as well as a selection of plants, compost and grow bags – with more items arriving daily. They are also offering a delivery service, to order email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07970 252774.
Care in the Garden
The Care in the Garden webshop is open on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11am. Please do not call, as they only have limited staff working dealing with web orders, and are unable to answer the phone. Check the Facebook page for the latest news and updates
The shop and garden centre is currently closed, but Busy Bee are selling selected products online. A minimum spend of £25 applies to qualify for delivery, as there are limited staff working. Delivery ranges from £5–£10 depending on your location, and they deliver to different areas of the Island on different days – see the website for full details.