5 things to do in the mindful garden in January to improve your wellbeing
The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing are well documented.
By practicing gardening for mindfulness you can relieve stress and anxiety, boost your mood and improve your wellbeing.
The following mindful gardening for wellness activities can be done in the January garden while the weather is still cold to help you get outside and connect with Mother Nature as a way to switch off and quiet your busy mind.
Sow your sweet peas to give hope for a new year- 20 minutes
I always sow my Sweet pea seeds on either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day as a way to start the year with hope and the promise of growth. But they can be sown at any point in January.
Start by pre-sprouting your seeds indoors so that the hard outer coat of the seeds cracks and the roots and shoots start their journey into the world before you plant them into the soil.
You can still plant those that don't start sprouting but they may not be viable and so you may never see the shoots putting in an appearance above the soil surface.
Nestle the seeds into the soil either in pots or root trainers and place them on a warm windowsill or heat mat to germinate.
Once you see those cheeky green shoots, move your plants to a cold greenhouse or cold frame to grow them on, otherwise they will get too leggy before you can plant them out at the end of March.
For full mindful seed sowing instructions for sweet peas click here.
Plan and create any new growing areas- 60 minutes
This could be extending current borders to give you more growing space or it could be planning a new growing area from scratch.
Take a cuppa out into the garden, a pen and some paper and sketch a simple plan of your garden. Track where the sun falls and how many hours of sun each potential growing space gets.
The areas that get more sun hours will be better for growing most veggies, although beetroot, lettuce and spinach will tolerate a bit of shade.
Most flowers you grow for cutting will need lots of sun, so if you dream of having a floral cutting patch site this in the sunniest area you have available.
As you break ground with your spade, notice the sensations of your hands against the handle and listen as the blade cuts the grass or soil. Can you hear the 'ting' of the spade contacting with any stones?
Give your tools a good clean and oil- 20 minutes
I'll be honest, I should do this a lot more but, erm life..... Plus it isn't the most thrilling of garden tasks. However it is important to do it at least once a year to prolong the life of your tools and to make sure that blades are sharp and clean so you don't damage your plants.
It's also a great opportunity to do an inventory of the tools you might need for the growing season ahead so you can replace any broken ones in the January sales.
First we clean.
Brush any dried mud off your tools straight into the borders. Noticing how it crumbles and falls.
Then take a bowl of warm soapy water and a sponge and scrub into the nooks and crannies so you make sure to clean out any nasties hiding in there. Notice the feeling of the warm water on your hands- much needed when the weather is chilly.
You can either leave them to dry naturally or you can towel dry them.
Use a sharpening stone on any tools that need their blades to be kept sharp. Think secateurs, shears, topiary clippers. I've been coveting this one from Niwaki for forever. As you sharpen pay attention to the sensations in your fingers as the blade slides across the stone.
Lastly, rub some oil into the blades and any hinged parts being extra careful of the newly sharpened blades.
Take some photos of any frost covered foliage- 5 minutes
There is still beauty to be found in the winter garden, even though few things are actively growing above ground.
Not only do dried seed heads left in the border provide somewhere for insects to shelter during the colder months, but they also look pretty stunning covered in frost.
Grab your phone on a frosty day and get snapping. Notice how the frost glistens in the sunlight.
Ooooof the grey days of January can be tough right? This indoor floral display will not only brighten your mood but its delicious scent will have you looking forward to warmer days outside.
Its super easy to make and is so worth the time it will take you. Plus it provides a mindful moment each morning to check in on your bulbs, the water levels and the progress of the flowers.
For full instructions on how to create it click here.