Staying inside the house and trying to avoid social contact is difficult in any case, but add sunshine and warm weather to the mix and we are all going crazy, with our feet itching to get outside and especially into the nature. So, in times like these it is a blessing to have a garden, as watching plants grow brings an amazing sense of time passing. The life just goes on, even though we are forced to change our habits and slow down, the plants keep their pace and add new leaves as fast or as slow as they need.
Our lives changed drastically in only a couple of days. We went from being active and meeting dozens of people each day, to saying inside mostly confined by the dimensions of our apartments.
Many of us already have at least a plant or two, growing in a corner of our living room. But did you ever watch the miracle of a tiny little seed transforming into a full-grown plant? Contrary to what you may think there is no need to have a backyard to experience the joys of gardening. All you need is a windowsill, soil, seeds, water and patience. And it doesn’t matter if you decide to grow edible plants or flowers for decoration, getting soil behind your fingernails is just good for the soul.
Start small. One or two little plants, to make sure you are able to keep up with their needs. Next time you go to the grocery store, pick up a bag of soil. Every supermarket seems to be carrying some type of potting soil in their gardening corner. If you want to be all fancy, you can buy some seeds, but this might not be necessary.
Take a moment to look around your kitchen. Is there a bag of dry lentils, or bit of ginger root forgotten next to the shelf with spices? These can be planted and you’ll get the satisfaction of watching your kitchen staples grow!
Clockwise from top left: Bell pepper seeds, avocado pits, chickpeas, lentils, coriander, ginger, fennel, garlic.
Things from your kitchen to consider planting:
- Lemon/orange seeds
- Mango pit (soak in water before planting)
- Avocado pit (soak in water before planting)
- Bell pepper seeds, chilly seeds
- Tomato seeds (for fun at this time of the year)
- Lentils (can be used for micro greens)
- Ginger root (soak in water before planting)
- Cut off bottom from spring onions
- Any dry seeds used as spices (cumin, coriander, anise etc.)
Let’s take ginger as an example. It is an unusual plant to have but it’s actually really easy to grow and forgiving to our beginner’s mistakes, or if you want to watch a tree grow from a seed, try soaking an avocado pit in water. This one might take some patience though, so keep in mind that it would be a long-term project.
Now that you have your seeds, you will need a container to grow them in.
To start the seeds, you don’t need much space, as long as you keep them warm and watered, they will happily grow even in a toilet paper tube for the first couple of weeks.
Using paper tube to start your seedlings allows you to repurpose something that would otherwise be thrown away or recycled. It also makes it super easy to transfer the plant to a bigger container once it’s ready. You can simply plant the whole tube into the soil and avoid disturbing the baby roots. It also gives you an opportunity to select the strongest plants, before you dedicate a whole flowerpot to them.
Simply fold the tube in the middle and cut 4 slits on one end.
You then fold down the 4 flaps, forming the bottom of the new flower pot.
There is no need to use glue, they will simply stay put once you soak the bottom in water.
Place them in a shallow dish and fill with soil.
You can be as creative as you want. Planting seeds in an old tea cup or yogurt container, or a proper flower pot. All is fair in love and quarantine right?
People tend to complicate things. Try to remember you are not starting a farm to feed the whole family. You are simply giving a chance at life to a plant that will in return bring you some joy and pride.
It is important to set your expectations. If you want edible plants, it might be a good idea to invest into proper seeds, but if you’ll be growing plants to keep you company and bring joy, almost anything will grow if given time and attention.
If you still feel intimidated by the idea of actually planting something in soil, try your luck at sprouting first, and work from there.
More about sprouting seeds, how to do it and which ones to choose next week.