June 9, 2014

Gardening Mistakes

In this article we’re going to take a quick look at the most common mistakes people make when they first begin to experiment with indoor gardening. The idea is that by the time you’re done reading you can either fix what needs to be fixed or avoid annoying plant-drama altogether. Listen, there’s a few basics that folks tend to neglect but we’re going to nip them in the bud right now (so many puns!). Let’s do it.

Blunder #1: You’re Winging It – Clueless

Is the fabled “green thumb” thing actually real? No. No one has some super earth-connection and can grow anything without trying. If we were to take a closer look at these people’s lives we’d find that they do their homework. The green thumbs are really just people who know a fair amount about the plants they’re cultivating. This includes soil, nutrition, how to keep the pests away, lighting, watering, spacing, etc.

Listen, a plant is a living being. It’s an animated life form that you want to convert light, dirt and water into fruits, veggies and herbs. While some plants are weed-like and will grow regardless of insane conditions, most indoor plants need an educated hand. They need tender loving care. Do your homework, then begin planting. At least read the label on the seed pack or the little sticker on your starter container…

Blunder #2: It’s Too Freaking Cold!

Have you heard this one before?

“Man! I mean I’m watering them correctly and they get enough light from the living room and kitchen windows, but no matter what I do they just continue to perish! What’s the deal?”

Wait a sec, this guy’s wearing a parka in his living room…it’s chilly! Indoor plants, by definition, require more heat than an outdoor plant. If you’re the type of person that absolutely never touches the air conditioning nob, you need to think about your plants. Are they freezing their leaves off? Again, refer to Blunder #1 and come to terms with what types of plants thrive in colder temperatures. Maybe in the summer months it’s no big deal, but during fall and winter it’s an issue.

Blunder #3: Cooking Roots in the Soil

There’s basically two ways you can cook your plants roots in the soil without knowing it. They’re both more common than you would think.

1.A Boil: Imagine your windowsill garden on a really hot summer’s day. The window is actually magnifying the heat and so the soil is cooking already. Then, you think to yourself, “Wow, they probably need some water!” So, you proceed to pour in a bunch. 15-20 minutes later that water is now in essence boiling the roots. On how days use a little mister, or a spray bottle. Water in the afternoon once the plants are in shade.

2.Nutrient Burns: All you’re trying to do is give the plants a nutritional boost, or keep pests away. But, you’re overdoing it. This can happen whether you’re using pre-mixed fertilizers, chemical-based fertilizers, or even the kind you water down and spray on to the plant. Read the directions, and then ease into it.

You see, there’s all kinds of subtle little details to pay attention to with plants. Though these are just as applicable to the backyard garden as well. The difference is it can be even easier outside because there’s so many more potential pests to deal with. Indoors it’s typically chemical fertilizers or boiling.

Blunder #4: Getting Chemical-Happy

Speaking of which, don’t go chemical crazy with your plants in the attempt to minimize how much you need to be engaged with them. Because you’re indoors it’s far easier to go with clean organic fertilizers. Typically you won’t need as much, unless you’ve got pots and containers all over the place. You can hop online or visit a local nursery to get your hands on a few bags of organic manure mixtures, or whatever.

Pay close attention to what is going into the food you’ve going to put on the dinner table. What kinds of pesticides are you using? What kind of ingredients. The fact is that there’s always a clean and safe way to get the job done rather than depending on convenience. Be leery of chemicals and read their labels.

Blunder #5: The Watering Conundrum

It takes time. It takes getting used to your containers, your specific plants and the indoor environment you create. You’ll learn how much water is too much and too little. You’ll build a bond; a relationship over time and soon watering will no longer be a concern. It’ll be habitual, like tying your shoes. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that indoor plants will usually require less water than outdoor plants. If your plants have that, “droopy look” then start cutting back a bit.