Ask my workmates and they’ll tell you I was raring to go to the Organic Urban Gardening Workshop of Cedar Hills Garden Center early in the morning. Living in an urban setting should perhaps merit the need to know more about growing plants and nature. We need to find a way to balance out all the concrete. Aside from this, we are threatened by various situations that shall cut off our earth’s sustainability.
With the issue of the Paris Agreement up for personal assessment recently, it even increases how we should be able to learn how to create our own sources of food and to lessen our carbon footprint.
Starting a garden is a little bit more than just a hobby or therapy from the stress, it’s a commitment to do what you can for the sake of everyone else.
Plus, being able to say you are able to grow something out of just soil and sun is always a point of pride. It’s a proof of self-sufficiency, and there are only a few feelings in life better than that.
Let me share to you what I learned from the workshop so we can all have sprawling urban gardens.
#1 Seed Soaking
Thanks to modern science, we’ve learned that seeds benefit a lot when you “wake them up” before planting them in the ground. It could be because they’ve been left in storage for a long time or because the ground where you will plant them might not have enough nutrients to stimulate their growth.
For your seeds, it’s advisable soak them first in 900 ml of unchlorinated water and a tablespoon of homemade plant booster before planting them. A mixture of water and a specific solution (more on this in the next item), this plant booster gives the seeds the nutrients they need to activate their growth.
#2 Make your own plant booster
It turns out plants are just like humans. They get high on sugar. Yesterday, I learned that homemade plant booster is just 500 ml of molasses and 500 of EM-1 solution, which is a concentrated mix of different nutrients like magnesium and phosphorus and one liter of unchlorinated water. Tip: You can reduce the chlorine in your water by exposing it to the sun for an hour.
Just mix the EM-1 solution and molasses together until the molasses dissolves. Afterwards, you mix it in the water. Store this in an airtight container. The solution doesn’t expire so you can use it every time you need to do some seed-soaking. But remember that the solution loses its potency after a month.
You can also put a tablespoon of the solution in your watering can every time you water your plants to give them extra nutrients especially if they look a little wilted or are taking too long to grow.
#3 Get creative with your pots
Buying pots in different sizes, colors, and shapes is fun but can be expensive or wasteful. Instead, always look for ways you can use containers as plant vessels. Plastic soda bottles, when cut in the middle make for good pots for air plants. Broken toys can still make for interesting planters as well, as long as they have space that can hold soil and a porous material so excess water won’t drown your plant.
#4 Make a compost the right way
Though you can make a compost just by dumping together vegetable and fruits skins together without any clear scheme, there is a more efficient way to make a compost. First, you need to combine your fruit and vegetable waste. This can include also coffee grounds, pulp, old spices, crushed egg shells, tea bags, and old bread or noodles.
Place them all in an airtight container which has a faucet component. Think of those portable water containers for picnics. A spout is important as you need to drain the water from the compost every day. This water can be used for your plants.
After 15 days, your compost is ready to be buried under the soil for the next set of plants you want to cultivate.
#5 Know more about soil layering
Because the soil in the city is usually not optimized for plant growth, you can reinforce it by layering it correctly in your pots and planters.
Depending on the size of your container, the first layer should be garden soil, followed by rice hull, and then kitchen compost. Top it once again with garden soil. Keep watering the soil with some water as you add a layer. With that, you’ll have supercharged soil that’s a potent ground for your seedlings.