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Green fingered Shirley, a resident at one of our supported schemes on the Isle of Wight, has been busy prepping the communal garden for summer, so residents can make the most of it.

Keen gardener, Shirley, goes on a long journey with her plants, before they can take pride of place in the garden, for all to enjoy. She pots them in her flat, and lets them germinate in her window, where they can receive plenty of sunlight. She then transfers them to the green house, before going to the cold frame to climatise. Only then are they finally ready to be planted in the garden.

Speaking of her love of gardening, Shirley said, “I love being out in the garden and I enjoy the fresh air.”

This year she has planted sweet peas, geraniums, petunias, and marigolds.

Shirley’s advice to get the best from your planting? Wait until the end of May so there’s no more frost. She says, ‘Don’t plant out, until May is out!’

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How to grow a windowsill garden in five simple steps!

You’ll need:

• Plant pots
• Saucers for the pots (plastic veg trays or yoghurt pots make good substitutes)
• Soil
• Seeds (make sure you choose a fruit or veg that can grow on a windowsill, that doesn’t need full light, see below for some suggestions.)
• A sunny ledge

There’s plenty of veggies that can thrive on a windowsill - tomatoes, peppers, chilli, cress, beans, pea shoots and radish, to name a few. Leafy greens and herbs also work well!

Step 1 - Choose the correct sized plants and containers for your ledge and sit them on saucers.
Step 2 - Carefully fill the pots with potting soil, ensure each container has at least one hole for drainage.
Step 3 - Once the pots are filled with soil, directly sow the seeds into the container. Water well and place it into the windowsill.
Step 4 – Water your pots weekly, or as needed, by checking the upper 2.5cm of the soil. If the container is dry, gently water the base of each plant until the potting mix is well saturated. Avoid overwatering.
Step 5 - Rotate the containers in the windowsill to boost growth.