Small-space Gardening

Gardening in times of space crunch.

'Going Green' is the new buzzword and everyone would love to contribute to it and what better way to do it than through your hobby of gardening if you love to be in the lap of nature. If you live in dwellings which do not have a proper garden especially in cities, do not lose heart for you can always create one in the available space with a bit of effort and guidance.

The first step: First of all take into consideration the location. Most city dwellers have a single choice and that is the balcony of their houses. Just check out the size of the balcony to decide on the number of pots and their sizes. It is better to have clay pots for proper aeration. Use pots of average sizes for small pots hamper root spreading and eventually growth whereas bigger ones may retain more water than required resulting in root rot.

Preparing the soil: Use a mixture of sand,clay and loam with a correct dose of fertilizer which is easily available in nurseries as a base material for your pots. Laden them with adequate moisture. Clay pots have holes below to drain out excess water so if you want to keep off your balcony from appearing messy use clay trays to place the pots on them so that water collects in them.

Choosing Plants: There is a wide variety of choices depending on what suits your taste and the kind of location of the planting area. If the place gets optimum sunlight small flowering plants can be easily planted and what greater delight than seeing the myriad colours in full bloom. But, if you want greenery along with some produce for the kitchen too planting few herbs is a wise choice. Curry plant, basil,mint,coriander or fenugreek are some of the common herbs we tend to use regularly and can be easily germinated. Moreover they do not require any special care apart from regular watering. Apart from this few vegetables like cabbage,brinjal,ladyfinger or even chillies too can be grown on a small scale. These options work well in good sunlight but for places with less or negligible sunlight Aloe Vera,crotons,ferns,cacti and a few varieties of lilies can be planted. Aloe Vera plant in particular requires almost no care and yet grows profusely. It is a succulent and therefore can thrive for many days without water.

Tending the plants: Regular watering according to the moisture needs of the plants is necessary. Care should be taken to ensure that proper drainage occurs and there is no water logging. Time to time digging of the soil around the plants should also be undertaken to facilitate aeration. It is better to use wastes from the kitchen as fertilizers for the plants than resorting to the use of chemical fertilizers. Left over tea leaves when dried and added to soil enhances its quality. Similarly egg shells and water that has been used to clean fish are good additives to the soil.

Thus, a little effort and few proper choices shall fulfill your desire of being in the lap of nature even if you do not have a proper garden area.

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