COVID may be here to stay, but you can always plant your worries away!
If you do not possess the green thumb that does not mean you’re not good enough to garden. As far as experts know, the green thumb isn’t genetic. You can always develop it. And what better time than the present (also known as the supposed ‘new normal’ where you are locked in the confines of your home cowering from deadly invisible viruses because it’s 2020 and this is apparently the only way to headbutt into the roaring 20s! What do ya think of this Fitz?) because the fruits you sow today, you will surely reap their reward tomorrow, or in the case of seedlings… umm maybe after months?
During this lockdown I, as I’m sure many of us, have come across a bizarre mix of wacko trends orbiting the internet and feeding our social media. From Dalgona coffee (yuck!) to posting pictures of your ‘zoom meetings’ and now with Instagram reels (here we go again.) and a lot of others in between. I for one, settled on a relatively less viral and more peaceful trend– gardening!
My father had always had the plant bug and since the time I could remember, our house has always looked like a very nicely curated but poorly organised assortment of greens. I am very fond of plants myself but never really had the inclination in the past to get down and dirty in the mud to actually do any gardening. That being said, since this pandemic a lot of things have fallen into perspective and I suppose with age you come to realise what is good and what is toxic for your overall well-being and you work towards filtering the unwanted excess. Well, I can guarantee you that nurturing little plant babies is about as rewarding and as good for your peace of mind as it could get. Imagine what mothers feel after delivering their first born, how proud and satisfied they are to even comprehend the fact that they actually really created something so extraordinary! Okay, that may be exaggerating a little but it still feels bloody brilliant when you watch a seed grow to sprout tiny wire-thin shoots that eventually, with consistent care and effort, grow into your baby greens. And this without the gut-wrenching pain of labour! Isn’t it great?!
While I understand that planting may not be for everyone, (I used to be everyone, but things change) it is also not as difficult as some may think. For beginners, it is always best to start with less delicate and more sturdy plants that can survive with minimal effort. Also, pro tip: earthen pots are preferable over plastic or even ceramic ones for optimal growth and life of plants.
Here are some plants that someone trying to conjure up their previously absent green thumb can start with:
Money Plants: They are practically weather-resistant, they make beautiful décor for indoors and you don’t require to keep an excessively close look at them. Just water them two to three times a week and keep them on a shaded veranda or even indoors.
Sadabahar or Madagascar Periwinkle: These evergreen shrubs called Sadabahar in India and Madagascar Periwinkle in fancier foreign lands bloom little colourful flowers in vibrant shades ranging between purples, pinks, reds, and even white. Since these are evergreens, they survive in every weather and require very little care while brightening up your otherwise dull terrace. Apart from being pretty these shrubs are also said to possess medicinal properties to treat diabetes. Just water them a little every alternate day and you’re done!
Rubber Plants: The natural air purifiers or the rubber plants are one of the most commonly used indoor plants. They purify the surrounding air and are also a great ornament for indoor spaces. As with most indoor plants, the rubber plant requires scant watering and would do well with just being sprinkled once or twice a week, depending on how hot the temperatures are. They should also be kept away from direct sunlight.
Spinach: Ever since I was a child, I have absolutely loved spinach. Where most kids usually run away from the greens on their plate you wouldn’t have found any leftovers on mine. I credit Popeye for my good sense. Spinach is a cool-weather vegetable and does well in full to partial sun, however during the stroke-inducing heat of our summers it is best to place it in a shaded area with moderate watering. It is also advisable to plant the vegetable in organic manure or compost for best results.
Tomato: These juicy red wonders require a lot of sunlight so it is best to place the planters on sunny window sills or a sun-soaked terrace. When they are newly planted, water it well and make sure the soil is moist for healthy growth of the fruits. When the temperatures increase, you may need to soak them twice a day. Once they are ripe and ready, use it for that epic pasta you had always dreamt of cooking, get some wine and have yourself an (desi) Italian feast!
I hope your plant babies grow to be healthy and take care of your mental health. Happy planting!