Thursday, April 4, 2013

Urban Gardening for Earth Day!

This April, to honor Earth Day, I have decided to start an indoor garden at the office. Unlike my previous gardening ventures, I’ll be going the extra mile to make this endeavor a one green.

Since moving to the city, I’ve been perpetually pouting about how I can’t have plants or grow veggies or herbs because of my small city apartment situation, and my ever present dilemma of having no outdoor space to call my own. However, after browsing around online at what other inspiring individuals are doing, I have come to realize that I have no excuse not to do something that gives me so much joy because I just don’t think I can.  So here it goes, my first attempt at urban gardening. After all, all you really need is a window and some sunshine, which it appears we will be receiving on a more regular basis. Finally!

I’d also like to preface this undertaking by admitting that I haven’t done that much digging in the soil. At all. I helped my Mom when I was younger, and that was fun but I didn’t retain any wisdom about how to do it right. Then in college, to fill the void of a pet, I thought a large succulent garden might do the trick. Only problem is that they require the least amount of attention in the plant world, but I wanted to give them a lot of attention since they were serving as my "pet". This resulted in imminent death by over-watering. Lesson learned. However, I feel like I’m ready to take this on and maybe do it right this time!

Let me kick this project off with the Earth Day-inspired reasons behind it. First and foremost would be the benefits of having plants indoors. We all know that trees are the lungs of our planet, which is why we should bring the best natural air producer and filter into our homes and offices. Research shows that rooms with plants contain 50-60% fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without!
Another interesting fact I stumbled upon is that plants can actually cool a room. Good info to know as we’re heading into some toasty times.

Now that we know that they’re aren’t any good reasons not to have plants indoors, save those that are toxic to your pets (please note these lists of plants Fluffy and Cujo will not like at all), let’s get started!
Read on to see which houseplants are best to filter the air (not only producing oxygen from CO2, but also absorbing benzene, formaldehyde and/or trichloroethylene.)

First thing I did following my research was make a list of the plants I wanted to grow based on their benefits, tastiness, aroma, and maintenance requirements. I came up with the following list to start with:

Basil (Genovese) – Smells great, easy to grow, delicious in so many dishes!

Cilantro – I’m not one of those people who thinks it tastes like soap, so bring it on! Cilantro does not transplant well. When you grow cilantro indoors start with seeds or starter plants. Ultimately, make sure that your plants are 3 – 4 inches apart.

Parsley – Foliage looks great! According to many sources, the hard casing of the seed make it a tricky one to germinate. I heeded the advice to soak the seeds in warm water for 24hrs. so I will report back with my findings.

Sweet peas – Delicate, beautiful, and oh so sweet! Apparently, some people have the knack for growing them and others don’t. Pressure!

After deciding what to plant, next step it deciding what green materials do the planting in. I decided to go with water bottles that were in the recycling bin at home, along with a recycled egg carton and milk carton and two terracotta pots that I painted. I also learned that terracotta is made of natural materials and being that it is porous, you will never encounter an issue with over watering(we’ll see about that).

Next step, get your hands dirty and start planting the seeds.

Prior to the step that’s actually considered the gardening part, it occurred to me that while I have a vested interest in gardening, my knowledge of how to actually execute it was nil. Back to the computer I went.

After learning the most basic gardening terms that I’m too embarrassed to mention, I finally got the seeds in the dirt, labeled them with cut-up pieces of cardboard, and watered. Now we wait!

I’ll keep you posted about my gardening adventures throughout the month. If you have any questions, or tips(please, please I need some tips!) feel free to write in.

My hope is that this will inspire you to garden, or figure out a way to do whatever your hobby is, despite your environmental limitations. Plants are beautiful, air-purifying, mind-soothing reminders of how amazing our planet is. Even if you’re living in a concrete jungle, you can still get your hands in the dirt and feel that much needed and awesome connection to the Earth! So, happy gardening!

1 comment:

  1. I'm forwarding this to Joe Franquinha at Crest Garden Center in Williamsburg; he's a storehouse of info and good ideas. And plants. I wish you luck!