THERE IS little more satisfying than growing magnificent, colourful flowers or delicious crops from a few tiny seeds. It’s also a lot cheaper than buying young plants. Many people never try sowing seeds because they think it’s difficult. It’s not. Others are put off because a sowing fails to germinate, or seedlings keel over and die. Let me reassure you, it happens to the most experienced of gardeners. But it doesn’t happen often if you follow a few simple rules, and with a little practice you can enjoy regular success.
How to Sow Seeds
We have broken down seed sowing into five simple sowing methods:
1) Small pots
2) Fine seeds
3) Cell trays
4) Seed trays
5) Sowing in the soil.
Sowing under cover (methods 1-4) can start much earlier (February/March), while sowing outdoors in the soil takes place in April-May as the soil warms up. Each method suits particular types of seed or plant (more will be revealed as we go along).
A greenhouse is useful, as is a heated propagator – but they’re certainly not essential for successful seed sowing. A bright, warm windowsill will do fine to get early seeds started, and young plants can be moved outdoors as the weather warms into any of the cheap plastic tents or cloches available from garden centres. I use both.
To start seed sowing you’ll need:
– some clean, small 3in (7cm) pots
– cell trays
– cell trays
– seed trays
– plant labels
– a pencil or marker pen
– a bag of vermiculite
– a bag of fine horticultural sand (depending on what type of seeds you are sowing).
– a fungicide such as Bayer Fruit & Vegetable Disease Control is a useful addition to combat damping-off – a common fungal disease affecting seedlings – and a water spray to apply it.
– clear plastic bags, and an unheated propagator tray with a clear plastic lid.
You will also need a fresh bag of either Seed & cuttings compost, or Multipurpose compost – it’s best to have both. Seed & cuttings compost is very low in nutrients. This is because some seeds will not germinate well in composts which contain lots of fertiliser. Generally speaking, fine and delicate seeds should only be sown in Seed & cuttings compost, while bigger, robust seeds will be OK in Multipurpose compost. Unless you’ve tried before, you won’t know what size the seeds are until you open the seed packet!
Other Things to Remember:
Very fine seeds (for example lobelia, nicotiana and petunia) should be sprinkled on the surface of moist compost and NOT covered with more compost.
All seeds – even those of fully hardy plants, require some warmth to germinate (start to grow), and good light (though not direct sunlight) as soon as they have germinated. The sill of a sunny window covered with a net curtain is fine, or you can buy a cheap electrically heated propagator (under £20). Positioned in a bright spot it will give more reliable results.
Don’t grow more plants than you can reasonably use in your garden. Some packets contain hundreds of seeds – do you really need 200 petunias? And have you space to grow them on? A small pinch of, say, 20 seeds should grow on to give you around 16 plants, allowing for a few losses.
OK, let’s get sowing. Click here to continue reading:
I believe you can survive the challenges of this pandemic. But I want you to do better than survive. I want you to keep on growing in surprising ways. I want you to thrive.
Not all of the ideas I’m going to offer below seem psychological, but believe me, they are. Each has the potential to greatly impact your emotional health now, and also continue once this pandemic eases up. They will all return you to your regular life as an improved version of your current self.
20 Ideas to Help You Survive & Thrive Through the Epidemic
Declutter your house. Is your clutter getting out of control because of your busy life? Use this time to get organized. Go through the papers and unnecessary objects in your house and sort it and get rid of some detritus. It will feel so good. It’s you taking control in an uncontrollable situation.
Learn a new language. It has so many benefits. It not only improves your brain, but it also connects you to a different culture and that is a good thing in today’s world.
Write. Writing, no matter what kind you do taps into an expressive, thoughtful part of your inner self. Have you had an idea for a novel or a memoir? Is there a part of your life that you would like to remember? Some unprocessed painful memory? Write about it.
Clean the small spaces in your home. You know those little corners behind furniture, under furniture, window sills or the tops of windows and doors? Now is a great chance to attack those. You’ll feel so good about it.
Improve your cooking. Cooking is a form of creativity and it’s also a way to practice self-care.
Explore new music. It’s easy to fall into a rut of listening to the same artists or styles over and over. Get yourself out of it and try something new.
Sharpen a music interest or talent. Always wanted to learn the guitar or how to sing in tune? Now’s your time.
Improve your relationship with an important person. This might be anyone who you’ve always wanted to have a better relationship with. Amazing progress can be made when you have the time and energy to focus on it.
Become more familiar with your emotions. This would benefit almost every human alive today. Why? Because your feelings are amazing tools that you could be harnessing better than you probably are to assist you in self-knowledge, self-expression, and decision-making. This is also one of the steps of healing Childhood Emotional Neglect or CEN.
Practice and learn meditation and mindfulness. This will help you find your center better and control your own brain, both of which are helpful when dealing with stressful situations.
Make a list of the strengths that got you through previous life setbacks. I know you have some. Being aware of them allows you to consciously call upon them when you need them.
Be grateful every morning when you wake up healthy and alive. Be grateful for the lives and health of your loved ones. Gratitude has been found to be a major contributor to life happiness. No matter what is going on around you, there are, without a doubt, some genuine things you should still be thankful for.
Think of a goal that’s achievable now that could not have occurred to you in the pre-Covid world. This might be anything positive and healthy.
Reach out to someone you cared about before but lost track of due to hectic life. An old childhood friend, a cousin, aunt or uncle, or a college buddy. Reconnection is enriching and enlivening.
Practice or learn a new skill that applies to your career. Take an online course or read a book. Or simply practice what you already know to get better at it.
Choose an intimidating exercise you can do at home and do it every day. For example, 10 push-ups or pull-ups/day. Tailor it to your own body and abilities.
Give. Find a way to help in person or online and offer to help them. Like gratitude, research shows that helping others makes a person happier.
Let your mind wander. There is a great shortage of this simple pleasure in today’s world. Just sit. Ponder. Let your mind go. It’s good for you, I promise.
Read a challenging book. This could be any book you’ve wanted to read but haven’t had the time or energy for.
Reach out to someone you wronged in the past and apologize. Virtually everyone has a nagging sense of guilt about having behaved in some negative or harmful way in the past, even if unintentional. This is your opportunity to wipe your guilt away by offering an explanation or apology. Or, if you cannot reach out to the person, think it through, learn a lesson from it, and put it behind you.
The way you are feeling now as an adult mimics, in many ways, the feelings of an emotionally neglected child. Lost, alone and uncertain, you wonder what comes next.
But now you know that the answer to that is in large part up to you. You can use this painful time to improve yourself and become stronger for whatever your future holds.
What feeds your self-respect, self-like and self-love more than watching yourself take the lemons the world is handing you and turn them into lemonade?
There is no stronger sign of emotional health than resilience. And growing yourself in any one of these impactful ways during a global crisis rife with setbacks is definitely a sign of just that.
For concrete suggestions on how to deepen and improve your relationships with the central people in your life see my book, Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships (find the link below).
Article by Cassandra Vieten Ph.D. and Psychology Today
Part 1: The basics.
We are all working to maintain our peace of mind during this tricky time. Stay-at-home orders and a continuous stream of news and social media focused on the coronavirus pandemic is a form of stress most of us have never encountered. But for people who were already struggling with a serious mental health issue, being cooped up represents not only a loss of livelihood and connection. With diagnoses such as depression or bipolar disorder, anxiety, panic or PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorders, substance dependence, schizophrenia or psychosis, coping with the pandemic also carries a high risk for symptoms getting worse, deterioration of mental or emotional state, or full-blown relapse.
Gazing into the vast expanses of unstructured time and isolation leaves people to free-range ruminate, at the mercy of their own rattling train of thought. Without those external checks and balances, or just plain distractions, an increasingly narrowed perspective can develop. The world feels further away, while fears both new and old can become louder. As recovery-oriented author Anne Lamott says, “My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone.”
At the same time, being in constant proximity to family members or roommates can be even more difficult than being alone. People performing the juggling act of mental health maintenance have learned to carefully manage the frequency and duration of interactions with others. Losing the option to take personal space can disrupt what is sometimes a delicate balance.
Access to uninterrupted screen time increases the pressure even more. News updates and social media feeds serve up frequent “threat cues”—that is, pictures, words, facial expressions and vocal tones that convey to your conscious and unconscious mind that you are in danger. Exposing ourselves to a steady stream of these cues keeps us all in fight/flight/freeze mode, but they are even more likely to capture the attention of people who are anxious or depressed (1,2). Adding these triggers to the mental whirlwind can result in sharp increases in negative thought patterns, emotions, and behaviors towards self and others.
People who are in recovery or remission from mental health disorders are also at risk, since they may have carefully constructed an ecosystem in their lives to keep them balanced. They may lose visits with friends, 12-step meetings or support groups, seeing a therapist, time with their spiritual community, going to the gym, being in nature, and even the security and structure of their jobs. For those in recovery, staying “sane” is often less a matter of comfort and more a matter of survival.
So what can people facing mental health issues do, and how can friends and loved ones help?
1. If you or someone else is a danger to themselves or others, call 911 or go to the emergency room. If you are not sure, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is confidential and available to anyone, 24/7. Under normal circumstances, suicide is the second leading cause of death in people ages 10-34. This is far and away higher than the risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus. Do not hesitate to get help for a mental health crisis due to coronavirus risk.
2. If you are taking medication, be sure that you have enough and that you take it as prescribed. Request a refill well before you run out – many insurance companies have been instructed to waive requirements and limits on ordering prescriptions. Find out where you will go to pick up refills, as your usual pharmacy or clinic may be temporarily closed. If you have trouble with cost or access, talk to your prescriber or pharmacist about options available to you.
3. If you have a therapist, try to continue your treatment by phone or online. If you need treatment, visit SAMHSA’s National Helpline, or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for a local referral to low or no cost services, or text the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) crisis line 24/7 by texting NAMI to 741741. There are several online psychotherapy providers such as BetterHelp or TalkSpace, or you might try 7 Cups: a free online volunteer “listening” service that says it is the “world’s largest emotional support system.” A virtual “visit” to a therapist can feel awkward at first, but that professional perspective is often vital in spotting increased symptoms and getting new ideas that don’t come from more casual sources.
4. Join a free support group online. A multitude of 12-step and other free community-based programs meet online—and not only for people recovering from alcohol or substance dependence, but also for people who overspend using credit, gamble too much, are quitting smoking, have a loved one who is an alcoholic or addict, grew up in alcoholic or dysfunctional families, and many more. These groups offer not only support for quitting unhealthy behaviors, but also for coping with daily life. You don’t have to be currently in crises to benefit from them. At a time when a lot of people are at a loss for how to help others, support groups are also an unconventional way to contribute to your community. Your experience may be exactly what someone else needs to hear.
5. Move your body. Even a little is great. You can take a walk to the mailbox, around the block, do a few sit-ups or pushups, dance to your favorite song or playlist, move while washing dishes or folding laundry, or do a quick online gentle stretching or brief exercise routine. Even a tiny amount of movement can make a huge difference to your mental state, and when you can do more—even better. Regular exercise has been shown to be equivalent to antidepressants in treating depression, and appears to change the body’s chemistry in some of the same ways. The tricky part is doing it when you feel down. Start small, and give yourself a huge pat on the back when you do even a little.
6. Take about an hour each day to read things that are helpful to your mental state, to talk to a therapist, sponsor, or good listener, to journal, or to use a free online guided meditation app that has specific recordings for mental health issues. Much like with exercise, if these are not part of your regular routine, you can start small with just a few minutes or a single chapter.
7. Bring things into your life that give you happiness, meaning, gratitude and joy. These may seem superficial, but in fact they are antidotes to stress. Whether spiritual practices, inspirational movies, awe-inspiring photography, crafts, hot baths, or something as simple as getting flowers or lighting a candle – these things can help maintain your emotional balance, and prevent resorting to less healthy coping behaviors. If you feel too depressed or anxious to do any of these things, start by making a list of 20 things that might bring you moments of clarity, peace or joy, and then committing to doing just one of them.
I recommend doing these things even if you are not currently symptomatic. Don’t wait until you feel off-balance, or in crisis. It’s like adding to your mental health bank—and just as important as stocking up on other basics in your life. Maybe more, especially now.
In Anthony William’s book Medical Medium Life Changing Foods, we get further confirmation that lemons (and limes) are the real-deal when it comes to superior nutrition, mineral bio-availability, and organ detoxification.
Here’s what lemons (and limes) can do according to William’s work:
ultra-hydrating and electrolyte-producing because they’re a top source of mineral salts and trace mineral salts, containing bioavailable sodium
most highly absorbable vitamin C
they contain specialized phytochemicals called limenoids that bond together vitamin C and calcium creating alkalinity in the body that helps prevent the growth of almost every type of cancer
cleanse the liver, kidneys, spleen, thyroid and gallbladder
they purge the many toxins we accumulate from exposure to plastics, synthetic chemicals, radiation, and poor food choices
So, what’s happened to me over the past year that I’ve been sipping on hot lemon water?
I feel pretty darn magnificent.
Now there’s a lot of things at work making me feel that way, most important of which is nutritional excellence following a nutritarian lifestyle. But I absolutely know that the increased circulation I’m getting from my morning hot lemon water has helped me release even more fat this year.
I’ve never been a coffee drinker but I can attest to the fact that hot lemon water wakes me up in the morning with a tart pucker and is infinitely more enjoyable than hot water alone.
But probably the most interesting bit of information I discovered in researching my daily hot lemon water practice is this:
“Once detoxification has drawn the gunk out of your cells and tissues (your liver does much of its work overnight), it needs to be flushed out when you wake up–otherwise, those toxins settle back in. Lemon or lime water is more beneficial for this process than plain water, because filtration has often taken the life out of drinking water, and these citrus stars reawaken its healing abilities.”
– Anthony Williams, Medical Medium Life Changing Foods
Cultivate this simple, cheap and effective habit to increase your circulation and over-all health. Here’s an easy recipe to get you started!
1/2 to 1lemon
8 to 10ounceswater
Heat water over stove top or in a microwave-safe mug until just before a rolling boil. For microwave, about 120 seconds on high.
While water is heating juice the lemon. Use 1/2 lemon if you weigh less than 150 pounds use the whole lemon if you weigh more than 150 pounds.
Pour lemon juice into mug with hot water and stir well. Drink with the temperature as hot as possible.
You can use lime juice instead of lemon juice, if you prefer, and still retain most of the health benefits (the only question would be DNA-damage repair properties).
I like to batch-prep my lemon juice for the week. Buy a 1-pound bag of lemons for the week and juice at once. If you follow this approach you’ll want to add 2 tbsp. as the equivalent for 1 whole lemon. And 1 tbsp. as the equivalent for 1/2 lemon.
Lemon or lime juice will last for 2 months (or more) when properly stored in a glass Mason jar in the fridge.
Right bout now you might have some questions about coffee or tea, if so you can read up my FAQs here to learn more about those topics when you’re following the nutritarian lifestyle.
Did you find this article to be helpful for you? Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!