Thursday, July 6, 2017

101 Ways To Live Better: Grow Something

Welcome to my 101 series, which explores 101 little things you can do to improve your day to day life, and the world, just a little bit.

Our first post is: GROW SOMETHING

Growing plants is one of the most natural joys we can experience as humans. We have been farming and harvesting since before we were even homo sapiens, and even if you don’t have a huge garden, there is a sense of pride in sprinkling your dinner with herbs you grew yourself. Or you might find you get a better night’s sleep with some plants purifying the air in your room at night.

Some of us find we have a black thumb though. However, that’s just because we don’t understand plants. There are three elements to growing plants.

1. Light.
2. Soil/substrate.
3. Water.

All plants need these things in some degree, though how much and what kind can vary quite a lot. We all know cacti don’t need much water and can handle a lot of light. It’s also true that if they have dense soil and poor drainage, they are prone to root rot. They just can’t handle constant damp.

Likewise, plants can be a bit picky about their light. Some will die in full sun and some will die without full sun. So, if you are picking an indoor plant, look for one that appreciates low light. Even if you plan to keep it by a window. You can set up special lights indoors to allow plants to grow as if they are in full sun. Unless the lights are solar powered though, it could be an expensive venture.

Soil is not just what holds a plant upright. It’s what feeds it. Good quality soil has a lot of nutrients that allow plants to grow. Poor quality soil doesn’t. Good quality soil is created when nutrients are decomposed, such as plant matter, dead animals, poop and other natural waste.  In hydroponic systems, that nutrient must be introduced in another way. The most natural method is fish poop.

Since worms eat rotting plants and fruit, and fish eat worms and plants eat worm poop, you can create a nice circular ecosystem with worms, plants and fish. However any systems claiming your fish will survive picking algae off the roots of the plants are actually cruel and a lie. Your fish will eventually just starve to death. Or in the case of gold fish, eat your entire plant.

You can make your own soil with vegetable scraps. Worm farms produce the best soil. However, a working compost pile is a good second place option. You can also buy good quality soil and add liquid fertilizer to your plants every few months to replace the nutrients yourself. However, the fake stuff will never give you as good results as worm poop.

Do a little bit of planning and research before getting your first plant. First decide where you’re going to keep it. Inside? Balcony? Front step? Observe how much sun it will get and choose a plant that will thrive. Choose a pot that fits both the size of the plant and the decor and feel you want. Depending on the type of plant, ensure there is adequate drainage and/or moisture retention in the soil.

Add a reminder in your digital calendar either every day or every week or every month to water your plant, depending on its needs. And do the same for fertilizer. A spider plant is a fantastic indoor plant and will produce hundreds of babies for you to give to friends. Snake plant is great for bedrooms, as it produces a lot of oxygen at night and will improve your sleep. Basil, mint, chives, parsley, oregano and strawberries are all fantastic balcony herbs and will happily provide you will food all year around, depending on your climate.

Here is an article on the best indoor plants for apartments from

No comments:

Post a Comment