As the quote says, “Gardening is a medicine that does not need a prescription and it has no limit on dosage.” Who wouldn’t love a hobby that keeps you active, involved, creative and most of all, relax your body and mind? Gardening can be a therapy for people of any age and it’s definitely something to try. Let’s get on with the basics of it and learn step by step on how to build a beautiful garden.
Indoor or Outdoor garden
The important part of beginning this journey is selecting a suitable spot to grow your plants. Firstly below are the things to keep in mind:
- Do you have space to plant them directly on the ground or do you need to grow them in pots?
- Would you like to create an outdoor garden or an indoor garden?
- Are you planning to use the garden as décor or for growing produces for yourself?
- How often do you get good sunlight in the area you want to grow your plants?
Based on the above points you can decide on creating a garden in or outside the house. Indoors are suitable only for certain plants and you will have to see which area can provide them with sunlight within the house. An indoor garden can be grown in pots and placed in areas like a kitchen window, living room windows, balcony, or beneath a skylight anywhere in the house.
An outdoor garden can be planned based on the space available. You can have a corner plot, a strip along the wall, beside the pathway or get more creative with step, rooftop or in-between the tiles garden as well.
Selecting seeds for planting
You can opt what kind of seeds to plant from an array of options such as, vegetables, fruits, flowers and more. While you can also collect seeds from the groceries you have at home or buy them from a nursery near or buy them online. Look out for these tips while buying them:
- The date of expiry
- The germination percentage
- If they are open-pollinated (OP) or hybrids (F1)
- Date to maturity (DTM): The number of days it will take grow from a seed to a fully grown plant with produce.
The date of expiry needs to be checked when buying as the sprouting of these seeds might not be successful if it has crossed the deadline or too near to the date of expiry. The germination percentage explains the ratio of seeds that grow to the number of seeds that might not bud.
Open pollinated are seeds that are obtained naturally through blowing of the wind or carried by birds. They can be replanted from seeds acquired from the produce. The hybrids are those which are a blend of 2 or more features in a vegetable, fruit or a flower, like sweetness, bright coloured, mix of 2 colours etc. They may or may not be regrown from the seeds of their produces as the results might not be the same as the parent one.
Setting up a pot or a patch
Based on where you want to grow your plants, you can set up your pots or patch. Placing seeds needs to consider based on the kind of seed, the depth it needs to be sown under, the spacing between each of them and the gap between the rows. Potting requires layering the following way before planting the seeds:
Step 1: Mixing of sand, mud and manure in parts of 2:1:1 ratio (mud, sand and manure) or you can also opt for 1:1:1 ratio.
Step 2: Fill the pot with the mixture and set it.
Step 3: Places the seeds loosely into the soil depending on the kind of seed it is.
Step 4: Sprinkle some water and leave it.
Tip: Do not flood the pot or put in too much water, as it might loosen the base and the seed might sink in or float out.
While growing in patch, you might not have to worry about flooding it as they spread around and gets sucked up by other roots if extra. Even so, it is better not to over water the plants, while also keeping a note on not to underwater them as well.
While they are sprouting the water needs to be regularly sprinkled once a day or you can also apply two times a day with less water per application. The correct amount of water helps the roots grow strong and firm. When new seedlings are sprouting, you can cover them with a bucket during the rainy season to avoid them from getting uprooted. You can sprinkle water if you feel that the base in the pot or the patch is too try due to the sun to protect the plants from dying.
You can select plants that grow directly under the sun or in partial shade or even complete shade depending on the environment of your home. Few plants need good sunlight to grow successful produce while few may need a little light to bloom. You can plan the placement of your plant or creating a patch on the ground based on how much sunlight your plant needs.
While you are planning an indoor garden, see to it that your plants have exposure to sunlight from where they are rooted. Be it next to the window or in the balcony, place them where the sun shines upon them, even if it’s for a few hours.
Composting is one of the most crucial and important parts of gardening. The perfect compost blend can help the health of the plant and leads to good produce. Homemade composts are suggested as they not only use up your wet waste but they also save money for you. Below are a few types of compost that you can try at home:
Step 1: Collect all the wet waste from your home like veggie and fruit peels, decayed products, fallen leaves around the house, cattle dung, cattle urine, etc.
Step 2: You can add them in a bucket or make a mud pit for them outside the house and dump them into it.
Step 3: Add a little mud and mix it and let it decay or rot. It takes from 45-60 days to turn into compost.
Vermicomposting – This is a method where earthworms are let into the composting space, where they eat the peels and leaves and poop it out. The result of this process leads to a good bucket/ pit of compost.
Tip: Adding cow urine and dung to the compost increases the quality of it.
Natural Pesticide/ Insecticide
While gardening can be fun, seeing to their health and growth is like caring for kids. They are prone to insects and that can harm the growth of the plant and the produce. While chemical pesticides are easily available, natural pesticides can be used to keep the plants more healthy. Composting of neem leaf and adding it to the mud where you grow acts as a natural pesticide and insecticide due to its natural smell and taste. The neem compost can be made from the leftover after draining the oil.
Keeping the following basic points in mind, you can plan and grow a beautiful garden and also use the fresh yields to cook delicious and healthy food for you and your family.
Article by Namratha