By now, many of us have settled into our strange new normal. We’ve spent the last few weeks stopping almost everything we normally do. So, this week is the time to start something.

We’ve got some good ways to get your hands dirty, with the vegetables you can plant right now (even if you don’t have a yard). And if you do have a yard, we’ve got a to-do list to make sure it’s as luscious a green space as you can make it. Go ahead and get your hands dirty. Just wash them after.

Before we get there:

LeVar Burton, tell us a story.
LeVar Burton, tell us a story.

It’s time to grow something. Here’s how.

Under the stay-at-home order, we’re still allowed to go outside for outdoor activity, and getting some sun on our faces doesn’t feel like the worst idea right now.

Grace Dickinson found out what vegetables you can plant right now. And Gary Thompson compiled a to-do list for your yard. You can read both pieces in full for more advice, but here’s a cheat sheet:

What vegetables you can plant right now

You can get seeds and supplies at a variety of places, including supermarkets, hardware stores, and online.

If you have access to a garden, a variety of veggies — beets, carrots, radishes, peas, spinach, kale, and collards — can all be planted now. If you live in Philadelphia or South Jersey, you can also get a start on lettuce and radicchio. Those in cooler parts of the region can test their luck against frosts or wait a week or two.

If you don’t have garden space but have a balcony or patio, there is a lot you can still plant in containers. Just make sure to cut or drill drainage holes, give the containers the most amount of sun you can, and place the containers close together. (It will help keep the humidity higher between the plants and help the soil from drying out.

If you don’t have a balcony, you can still grow sprouts. Pantry items like chickpeas, lentils, black-eyed peas, mung beans, and soybeans can all be turned into sprouts. The legumes need to be dried (i.e., not out of can), and they need to be whole (i.e., split peas won’t work). Thoroughly rinse the legumes before placing them in a jar with water, and cover the top with cheesecloth or other breathable material, like a sheet of paper towel. Then, the sprouting process begins.

If you don't have a garden, you can still plant vegetables right now.
FedericoChiccoDodiFC / Getty Images/iStockphoto
If you don't have a garden, you can still plant vegetables right now.

What you can do right now to make your yard more beautiful

If you do have access to a garden, now’s the time to act to make it the best oasis possible as the weather warms up. Here’s some of what you can do, right now, to make that happen:

  • You can move plants, and divide bigger perennials, to give them more space. Now’s also the time to prune early-blooming shrubs (like hydrangea).
  • It’s a good time to weed, and it will save you time later. Get them before they seed and take over.
  • Tend to your lawn: Seed, fertilize, and aerate to give your lawn a head start.
  • Check for spotted lanternfly eggs. They’re pretty easy to see, and you can help save the region from the invasive species before they hatch.

Gary talked to experts about the why and the how of each of these. Read his full piece here.