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Succulents are a trendy indoor plant that require varying amounts of sunlight and little water.

The list of newfound hobbies and pastimes for those stuck in quarantine continues to grow as their days at home become longer and more boring. From knitting to binge-watching, the world is finding itself in search of ways to fill the void left by social interaction.

With a devastating amount of death and destruction populating social media and news outlets, the approach of summer brings about hope for new life. What is a better way to experience growth and fill the long summer days than by learning to care for plants?

Here are just a few resources and tips to get started.

How to start a garden

Decide what to plant

The first — and probably most important — step is to decide what to plant. Options include planting a vegetable garden to use in the kitchen, an herb garden to infuse flavor into dishes, flower beds to add some color or shrubs and trees to populate a sparse landscape. Deciding what kind of garden one wants to plant will determine the next steps in the preparation and growing process. 

The Planet Natural Research Center might help one decide between the many types of gardens and how to give them the most curb appeal. Get Busy Gardening recommends asking a series of questions when deciding what kinds of vegetables to grow, including: what vegetables does one eat most often? And, why is one starting a garden in the first place?

Find the best location

No matter the type of garden and the type of plants one chooses to grow, the location is an extremely important decision to make. If one is planting a culinary herb garden, they may want it close to the kitchen, or maybe even in the kitchen. Other plants prefer different levels of sunlight or soil and are able to endure varying temperatures or environments. It’s imperative that one is familiar with the particulars of each plant and how they should be cared for in order to grow a successful garden. 

Purchase the tools

If gardening is a brand new hobby, one may need to purchase the basics, including gardening gloves, a small shovel or hoe and some rich soil or fertilizer. To complete the garden one might need pots or planters, or maybe even materials to construct a raised bed. Some of this depends on the desired look or the practicality of location and needs of the plant.

Let it grow

Once one has all the necessary tools and, of course, the plants, it’s time to get to work and watch them grow. Gardening is an art that requires patience as well as incredibly precise, and sometimes tedious, work. But, imagining the beautiful or tasty rewards may be enough to keep one gardening.

Bringing the greenery indoors

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Indoor plants are a great way to bring the outdoors in and many popular options have health benefits such as air purification.

Indoor house plants have made their way into trendy home decor inspiration and are often shown in aesthetically pleasing Pinterest or Instagram posts. The desire for cute succulents or air-purifying, sleep-enriching bedroom plants has resulted in the creation of many related resources.

Here are just a few of the most popular indoor plants:

  • Succulents and cacti

  • Snake plants

  • String of pearls

  • Spider plants

  • Aloe

  • Philodendron

  • Fiddle leaf fig

  • Various palm plants

Of course, just like an outdoor garden, indoor plants prefer particular amounts of sunlight and need to be watered at different intervals. One might find it helpful to keep a plant diary or to write the dates of watering in a planner or on a calendar to help them keep track. It’s also a good idea to label outdoor plants or keep a care card near indoor plants so one never forgets.

Lastly, plant delivery services such as The Sill and Bloomscape are a perfect way to bring some of the outdoors inside during quarantine. Most of these services provide one-time or subscription-based plant deliveries straight to one’s doorstep.

With the end of school and springtime in full swing, picking up a productive and rewarding hobby like gardening may be just what one needs. 

Contact Ryann Sheehy at sheehyrl@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.