Analysis by all you can read magazine subscription app Readly has found that, based on what we are reading, Aussies love rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck into renovations and the garden. We’re making, crafting, and learning to DIY! The stats show that there has been a 242% increase in the readership of the home and renovation magazine category. That’s huge!
With spring in the air, this is only set to increase as we will be pulling up our sleeves and getting stuck into our homes a little more.
So, what can we start thinking about this spring? We have rounded up some advice from the experts.
For our gardens:
Tammy Huynh, horticulturist and owner of Leaf an Impression says that if you have been thinking of starting a veggie patch, now is the time to do it. Here are her tips:
- You will need at least 6-to-8 hours of sun (depending on what you’re growing) and access to a garden bed or pots. If your soil is hard to dig, it’s likely to be made up of a lot of clay. You can help ‘soften’ the soil by adding soil conditioners like compost, aged manure, blood and bone, and gypsum. If it’s too difficult to dig, consider a raised garden bed and fill with a good quality mix from your nursery.
- For most parts of the country, now is the time to sow: tomatoes, beans, eggplants, zucchinis, chillies, sweetcorn, silverbeet, squash, leafy greens like lettuce, rocket, spinach, bok choy, endive and herbs. Always check plant labels, especially on seed packets, to understand when to plant in your area. Just because you can buy tomato seeds in winter, it does not mean you should sow them!
- To maximise your harvest, ensure you prepare the soil well beforehand. This includes adding organic matter like compost or aged manures. My go-to is always homemade compost and handfuls of dynamic lifter (which is made up of composted chook manure). Fork all the ingredients into soil and blend in well. Sow seeds or plant seedlings, ensuring there is sufficient spacing between plants, otherwise this will cause problems with air flow and sunlight later down the track. As plants are growing, feed with a liquid fertiliser specially formulated for veggies.
- For leafy greens, you can start harvesting quite early. Always remove the outer leaves first and take a handful at a time. Pick fruiting veggies (tomatoes, zucchinis, beans) when ripe, otherwise pests, birds, or other critters will quite happily help themselves. To help extend your harvest, sow successive seeds or seedlings, but only grow as much as you will eat, otherwise you end up wasting food and precious resources.
- Veggies are growing plants, so they also need to be watered quite regularly, especially during the hotter months. Watering early in the morning is ideal, as the plants take up the water before it evaporates. You can also mulch plants with lucerne or sugar cane mulch, which will help conserve soil moisture.
For our clutter:
Jo Carmichael, from All Sorted Out, gets you started on this with four easy steps:
- The wardrobe: It’s best to start with our own wardrobe and clothing edit first, before moving onto rifling through the kids or partner’s things. Move seasonal items, heavy jackets, sweaters, and wintery boots up to the top shelf. Bring down the summer items – placing them within easy reach.
- The entrance or Mudroom: Store and remove the items which have been left here the last few months. Maybe the numerous rain jackets could be rotated out, and the straw hats could hang ready for sunny days outside. A fresh pump pack of sunscreen to match the hand sanitiser should now be stationed here. Tidy the shoe basket – are there old sneakers here no longer worn, that could be tossed? A decluttered entrance ready for spring is just what you need.
- Pet paraphernalia: Dogs, cats and other beloved animals certainly come with their fair share of equipment. Now is a good time to check their blankets, bedding, where the food is stored ensuring it all smells fresh and looks welcoming. Glance at the leads, brushes, and toys – maybe the worn out ones could be replaced!
- The pantry: With Covid-19 we have all been working and cooking from home more than usual. The hot weather can affect the freshness of some pantry items. Get the condiments, sauces and spices out of the pantry, check they are still fresh, wipe bottles and lids clean if in good order, or toss – making a note on the shopping list of what needs replenishing. Wipe the pantry shelf clean before returning the items.
Freshening up the interior of our home:
Jane Thomson, interior designer, says, “With naughty Covid still impinging on our lives, we’re spending more time in our abodes. Now more than ever, we are bound to make our surroundings as yummy and as nurturing as possible.”
Here are Jane’s insights into kitchen makeovers that won’t cost the earth:
- Obviously the easiest way to refresh your kitchen is to paint your existing cupboards and drawers. Painting gives maximum impact and is inexpensive. These days there are so many products available from your local Bunnings or hardware store to transform surfaces, in order for you to prepare the surfaces and paint over most door and drawer materials.
- Changing your kitchen handles is super easy and takes no time. Look for brands that have gorgeous accent handles and some practical door and drawer pulls. A personal brand favourite of mine is LO & CO.
- Re-tiling your splashback is also one of the easiest and inexpensive ways of zjooshing your look. Mosaics, subway tiles, stone tiles all look amazing. Alternatively, use tile paint, which is one of the cheapest ways to reinvigorate your tired look.
- Adding a humble pendant or pendants to an island bench can also change the overall look of your kitchen. Some cheeky concealed lighting to the underside of your top kitchen cabinets also looks amazing. Lighting is everything.
- Another way to zjoosh your kitchen look is to remove a door from your top cupboards and replace with open shelving. Style with plants, cookbooks, and artwork that can sit easily on a shelf.
- New faucets or mixers also add a quick and easy way to freshen your look, especially brass and black fittings.
- If you have a little extra budget in the kitty, you could also look at installing a new benchtop.
Jane also points out that when you’re looking to freshen up the rest of your home with paint or accessories, the colours of the season are soft whites, greens, coral and peacock blue or green.