Gardening Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle this Nutrition Month

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Gardening has become one of the most popular hobbies since people have been staying at home due to COVID-19. People were able to reconnect with their favorite plants and untended flower beds, and some utilized home gardening to grow their own food organically. 

With July being Nutrition Month, growing your own home garden will be an affordable and sustainable way to live a healthier lifestyle while beautifying your home. 

Here are six gardening tips to help you kickstart your bed of greens and flora.

Choose Plants Wisely

Your goal is to have a garden that will improve the family’s health and wellbeing. Choose which vegetables and herbs your family would like to eat and taste. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow, regardless of gardening skill or level, are carrots, eggplants, bell peppers, okra, tomatoes, squash, chives, ginger, malunggay, and white radish. Onions and garlic are also easy to plant and harvest; however, you will have to plant onions during the cold season and garlic before the weather becomes colder. These vegetables can be used for your favorite Filipino dishes such as sinigang, tinola, and pinakbet

Plant herbs to add flavor to your cooking, or for natural medicinal purposes. Herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, peppermint, lemongrass, thyme, and coriander or cilantro are some of the common and beginner-friendly home-grown herbs. You can buy seeds of these herbs online, or you can ask for cutting from your neighbors.

If you want to plant flowers or greens to decorate your home, go for easy options such as aloe vera, bamboo, orchids, snake plant, spider plant, Chinese Evergreen, African Violet, String of Hearts, and rubber tree. These plants can be grown in small pots and are ideal for smaller spaces such as apartments and condominium units.

Position the Plants for Optimum Growth 

Before planting your vegetables, herbs, or flowers, assess which areas of your garden have the most sunlight, adequate moisture, and the best soil. Evaluating where to place your plants will contribute to a successful home garden. You should also learn which plants need the most and least sunlight, water, and shade so that you can place them in the right spots. Knowing the best spots in your home will help you evaluate which plants are suitable for the conditions of your garden. 

If you live in a condo, apartment, or anywhere where you don’t have space for a garden, place your potted plants in your balcony or by your window sill. Use a spray bottle to water the plants to avoid flooding and mudding in your home.

Improve Your Soil

Start working on improving the soil in your future garden especially if you live in areas where construction is frequent. Residential soil may need a bit of reworking since construction and home improvements might have stripped away the topsoil, resulting in either too wet, infertile, or acidic soil. 

Revitalize the soil by adding a layer of compost made of dried leaves, lawn or grass clippings, and animals’ manure when you dig. This compost will facilitate earthworms to help the organic material to rot. It will take at least a week or two to see if the soil is too dry, too wet, or just perfect for planting your favorite vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

After planting your seeds, continue tilling to remove any dried soil or debris that will hamper the growth of your plants. Avoid excessive tilling because this may damage the roots and the soil structure. Use a spade or gardening fork to till your soil and mix compost with it to make the soil healthier and fertile.

Pick the Right Container

The container you use for your plants is as important as the soil itself. There is a wide array of containers made of different materials that suit various plant types. Vegetables can be grown in plastic containers such as buckets, rectangular containers, and even ice cream tubs.

While plastic containers are relatively affordable and easy to get, it is also important to choose a suitable one depending on the type of vegetable you want to grow. Choose those that can hold a lot of water. The container should not dry out the soil and plants. 

Know When and How Frequently You Should Water 

Research on when it is ideal to water your plants. Watering them too much might flood them, but not watering them enough may cause them to wither.

Water your vegetables once a week or during the early morning. Feel the soil to check if it is too dry or too wet, at around three to four inches below the surface. If it feels too dry, it’s time to water.

Protect Your Garden from Weeds

Weeds can be a menace for your garden as they also feed on the nutrients meant for your vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Leaving weeds to grow will cause malnutrition for your plants or no growth from your planted vegetable or flower seeds at all.

Add mulch–a layer made of sawdust, chipped or shredded bark, shredded leaves, hay, grass clippings, dried leaves, used coffee grounds, or compost–to cover the soil. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, keeps it cool, and suppresses the growth of weeds. Mulch is also an ideal compost as it decays to fertilize the soil, and makes your garden bed look more attractive. Plus, organic compost such as coffee beans, dried leaves, and lawn clippings add earthy scents to your garden while it nourishes your plants.

There are a lot of benefits to starting your own garden. Not only do you learn a new hobby to keep you preoccupied during the weekends, but you will also have a sustainable source of organic vegetables to keep you and your family healthy. 

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