Make a green start

Updated: Mar 28, 2020, 12:48 IST | Karishma Kuenzang | Mumbai

Now's a good time to create your own compact home garden and watch it come to life under the lockdown

In the absence of being able to step outside or socialise, plants can be great company and add plenty of positive energy to your surroundings. "Plants have become an important, calming and meditative part of my day in these times by merely being around my house," says home gardening expert Adrienne Thadani.

Don't worry if you don't have access to soil or plant pots; it's still a great time to expand your garden by working around the plants you already have. Make use of old bottles; poke holes in the bottom; or look for objects around the home that can be turned into planters. "Quite a lot of house plants can be propagated by taking cuttings, and rooting them in water. After a few weeks, the roots will emerge and these plants can later be transplanted into soil or gifted to friends [in a contact-less, social distancing way]. Along these lines, if you are able to step out within your complex or have access to some green spaces, you can take cuttings and bring them home and keep them in water," the Bandra resident says.

If you prefer something fun that's edible too, try growing microgreens. "You will need compost and coco-soil, mixed in equal parts, small trays like take-away containers, and seeds. Look for seeds that are already at home like mustard and coriander," she recommends. Otherwise purchase radish, beetroot, spinach, red amaranth seeds in bulk quantities, as these grow easily and are nutrient rich.

Also remember that most indoor plants suffer from being over watered. Now that you are at home all day, pay close attention to their needs. "If the leaves start to yellow from the outside edges, there's too much water. If water is puddling on the soil surface, there's too much water. And if there is still water in the coaster under the pot, you do not need to water. Figure it out over the next few weeks, and make a proper watering schedule to follow when things return to normal," explains Thadani.

Adrienne Thadani
Adrienne Thadani

It is also a great time to check your plants all over, stems, under the leaves, etc, for any pests. Most small infestations can be treated with rubbing alcohol, or home made sprays like chilli garlic or neem oil. "After identifying the pest, googling home remedies will help you find the one that helps. Similarly, your plants are dust magnets, cleaning the air for you, but this means that they also need to regularly have their leaves washed gently," Thadani concludes.

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