Over the last few years, some trends emerged that changed our ways of living, back to a simpler life. If there is a global trend, it is ecology. In this day and age, it is impossible to ignore the changes the world is going through. If some phenomena are part of the natural cycle of Earth, some can be retraced back to mankind.
To be ecologically conscious and doing one’s part has become a way of life. From zero waste to going vegan, composting, waste sorting or buying clothes in a thrift shop, many people are trying to make the world a better place, one step at a time.
Every expert on climate change has said that every little thing counts, so why not start small? You can take care of the planet, and yourself, by starting to grow your food at home. Sure, if you live in an apartment, you will not be able to grow enough to survive solely on your products, but it is a start. Ate an apple recently? Plant the seeds! It is as simple as that. Sustainability starts here.
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How to grow food at home? Start by not overthinking it. Put some soil in a plant pot, a glass jar, or a yogurt cup. If you have a dead plant, re-use the pot and the soil. If you have no soil, you can buy some, or research if there is a community garden around you that could help you out. Make sure that the soil inside of the pot is not too compact, as plants need to have some space to plant their roots. Plant pots are better to use, but you can make it work in a yogurt cup as well. It is useful to put small rocks at the bottom of your cup to let the soil eliminate the surplus of water.
Now, you have empty pots in front of you and no idea what to put inside of it. It really depends on you. Pits need to be kept in water to sprout whereas seeds can be planted right away. For example, it is fairly easy to grow avocados. Plant three toothpicks around the pit so that it can stand on the edge of a yogurt cup. Let the bottom soak in water and wait. That’s all over the internet. What you hear less of is how long it actually takes. Weeks, at least. You will know it is working when the pit opens in half at the bottom and a shoot will appear. Keep on waiting, keep the bottom in the water, until there are roots. Then, you can plant it.
Another easy one to plant is mangoes. Again, the pit needs to be moisturized. This time, cover the pit with wet paper towels, and put it in a small box, such as a tupperware. Close the lid, put the box close to a window, and wait. Because the box is closed, water will form on the lid, and keep the pit wet. Sunlight and a humid container will help the pit sprout. It takes some time for results, but once there is a stalk, it is safe to plant in soil. Don’t forget to label the plants, if you do not want to end up like me, with no idea of what I am growing and what I am failing to grow! Sure, I will have surprises in a couple of months, but I wish I could remember what I planted and where.
Do not limit yourself is the best tip I can give you. Be adventurous. You can try to grow anything, from lemon to garlic. All you need is time, and the will to take care of the plant.
Making it work
Some people are lucky enough to have a green thumb, but most people have to work to keep a plant alive. What your plant needs the most is water and light. It is best to keep your plants around your windows, but it does not mean they have to be right in front of it. If they fit better on the other side of the room, that’s fine too. The light will reach them, and if they do not have enough light, your plant will grow sideways towards it. In this case, move it closer to the window.
Another challenge is watering the plant. Yes, plants need water, but too much can kill them. How to know what’s enough? The soil has to be moist, but never soaked. It is better to give a little bit often, than a lot rarely. Some plants do need more than others. It depends on what you are trying to grow, but watering every other day is enough. If you enjoy eating rice, keep the water from the rice cooking. It is full of nutrients and it will help your plants to grow.
Now what? Now, you wait. What is great about growing your own food is that you witness the entire process. It is a good way of teaching children patience and rewards for their efforts. It also provides the chance to be curious. You can plant just about anything and everything! You never know what will actually grow, and what it will look like. Gardening can be fun, if you let yourself enjoy it. It is not always about rules, the perfect pot, the perfect sun and the perfect season. Sometimes, it is about trying something new and taking a deep breath. Life is crazy, things are going wrong and the future is unsure. What better time to plant some seeds and grow some hope?
The key to gardening is patience. Do not expect results right away; you are working for the future. There is no mystery behind the overused quotes about planting seeds for tomorrow. Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. In the gardening case, one can only hope to actually reap what was sown. You might then wonder why to bother planting seeds if you cannot be sure about the results. As life, not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you have a dead plant in front of you. Nevertheless, the successful times will make up for the losses. To harvest a fruit from a plant you cared for and nurtured is an amazing feeling. I should not go as far as comparing this to giving life, but, still, you kind of did.
Gardening can be a great way to take care of yourself. When focusing on your plants, let the rest go. Think about the water the plant needs, the light, and observe as life does its work. Everyday, look at your plant, notice the little changes, and let pride and self love grow over the attention you are giving to that plant. It is your achievement. Some people even name their plants and talk to them. More often than not, the plants grow faster, or blossomed earlier. Chance, real science or modern-day witchcraft?
What if your plant fails? It is okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You might not even be the reason it didn’t grow. Don’t give up, give it another try, and remember that you cannot control everything. Focus on the good, send some good energy to the plant, and let go of the bad, even for a second. Plants grow, and so do you. Things get better. If you can take care of a plant, you can learn to take care of yourself too.
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