How to Become Green-fingered Overnight
11 May 2016
So you want to become green-fingered overnight? If you’re already a fully-fledged expert on all things green, then you needn’t read on. This is for the real beginners. So for those of you who’ve never held a pair of secateurs or as much as dug a hole, here’s how you can makeover your terrace to create a lush paradise on your doorstep.
Let there be light
Just not too much. Direct exposure to scorching heat is damaging to plants. If your terrace happens to be sun-soaked for the majority of the day, then it’s a smart idea to consider a sun shade. Not only will it protect your plants from withering away, but it will keep them out of the rain.
Choose the right soil
Getting hold of the right soil is the most important part of the process as without decent soil, it doesn’t matter how much you water your garden as nothing will grow. A gardening essential is compost. Formed of decomposed food scraps, leaves and various other throwaways, compost is designed to give your plants the nutrients they need through its natural components. Compost will set you back Rs 4- Rs 25 per kilo depending on the quality, but it is a sound investment as most plants will require this to grow. However, if you don’t feel like forking out the cash then you can really fly the flag for organic living by making your own. You’ll have to wait 6-8 week though as the Red Wiggler worm breaks down the scraps with all his might- the decomposition process is a lengthy one. Add some cocopeat to your compost. Although it has no nutritional value, it has excellent water retention skills due to the coconut husks within.
Get creative with your potting
The pot has a job to do and we can’t deny that it does it well, but where’s the excitement and individuality? We think it’s only fair that you should pot your plants into a home that’s as unique as yours. Think milk cartons, cans, ice cream tubs, bottles and even coffee bags. It doesn’t matter what you choose, if it holds water and soil then you’re good to go.
We all know that plants need water to live, but just how much? It’s a common misconception that like humans, plants need continuously hydrating. Watering on alternate days is common. Keep an eye on the weather too as those wet Septembers will take care of the plants for you, but be careful though, as plants can die from overwatering.
Start small, expand later
If you’re gardening for the first time, it’s better to keep things simple. What you don’t know about gardening right now could fill a library, so develop your knowledge week by week before you strive for the big time. If there’s one piece of information you should know, it’s that plants can be divided into two categories; annuals (which bloom once a year and return annually) and perennials (plants that grow seasonally). If you’re wondering what kind of plants might grow nicely on your terrace with little knowledge of the gardening world, then we have a fool-proof option. Grow yourself a Succulent plant. These plants thrive in the Bangalore climate as they need very little water, lots of sunlight and very little else at all except your love. Once you’ve built up your knowledge, vegetables like carrots, radish, ginger, garlic and onion all enjoy the Bangalore climate and can be planted at the start of June.
Download an app
There are a number of apps on the market right now that are designed to steer you through the entire gardening process. From landscaping apps, to apps that will arrange your vegetable patch, no matter how much of an expert you are with a spade and a watering can, there’s an app out there that will benefit you.
If you can’t seem to get to grips with the gardening process, all is not lost. Once you’re involved with the Nikoo communal gardens you’ll soon find that your fellow gardeners have a glut of knowledge to share. You can learn from those who are more experienced before transferring your knowledge back into your terrace garden. It won’t be long before you are a gardening guru, armed with the knowledge to inspire the next newcomers into the community.