Gardening offers a therapeutic activity that relieves stress and promotes peace, offering us our daily dose of motivation, hope and inspiration. It helps us disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our day, so that we slow down and enjoy quiet moments of contemplation. When we get our hands in the soil and our bodies in the sun, we allow ourselves to partake in the nature’s charms. As we nurture our garden, we also cultivate a sense of appreciation within us for what is around us.
Here are some easy tips to practise Grateful Gardening
The very first step in practising Grateful Gardening is taking stock of what is on hand. Show gratitude for Mother Earth by reducing our carbon footprint and exploring what we can save from being sent to the landfill.
You will be pleasantly surprised at what you can find, simply by looking around to see what you already have. There are lots of items that can be used or repurposed into planters, pots and decorative garden items. Involve your friends, neighbours and even family members who do not live with you to check if they have anything they no longer need which you can use for your garden. There are also many freecycling groups you can find on social media where you can adopt items that someone else is giving away. You can also join a plant swap group to exchange plants, pots and various gardening items. If you still cannot find what you need, check on a buy/sell group or marketplace where you can buy a used item. Leave buying something new as the very last resort.
Plan ahead before you start planting. Ask yourself what kinds of plants would you like to grow? Do you want a flower garden, vegetable garden, herb garden, container garden, or a combination of several options?
Ornamental plants are great for decoration and beautifying our house and garden. There are many plants with lovely flowers and those with colourful leaves that brighten the mood.
If you have the space and sunlight, you can try planting the vegetables and fruits you would like to consume. Hydroponics with grow lights is an option if you want to grow your food indoors. The best part is that you will be in control of what goes into your food!
Herbs are great for marinating, cooking and garnishing with. Choose the ones that you will use often. This makes it more economical since it reduces waste as you can harvest only what you need for the day. You will notice that herbs directly from the garden are a lot fresher and make a vast difference in flavour and nutrition.
Most herbs have a variety of health benefits and can come in handy for home remedies and general wellbeing. We recommend this article by Top 10 Home Remedies Team for the best herbs that improve your health.
If you do not have a lawn, balcony or corridor, you can grow your plants in pots or containers placed by a brightly lit window. Bright sunlight is good but direct sun that is too strong can also kill your plants. If you are placing your plants indoors and they are not getting sufficient sunlight, then you can consider using grow lights or opt for hydroponics. Of course, using natural sunlight is the most sustainable option.
Check if the plants are suitable for our tropical climate and if they require full or partial sun, or even full shade. If getting sufficient sunlight is an issue, you can consider hardier indoor plants that can tolerate low light such as ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), Snake Plant (Sanseviara), Pothos (Epipremnum aureum). Other options are Chinese Evergreen, Cast Iron Plant, Monstera and many others.
Consider the water requirements – does the plant require to be watered daily, twice daily, once a week or water when top soil is dry? A common problem is overwatering which can cause the roots to rot. Weigh your options by reflecting on the constraints of your schedule as well so that your garden can be easy to sustain.
Companion plants and enemies
Many plants can grow well together as they benefit each other in terms of nutrient supply and uptake, increases crop production, encourages pollination and helps repel garden pests. A common pair is tomato and basil, where tomatoes seemingly have a better flavour when grown alongside basil, and basil helps to repel pests which allows the tomatoes to flourish.
On the other hand, some plants cannot be grown with others as they may stunt the growth of the other plants (e.g. fennel). Do take note of plants that are invasive such as mints, which are better to be planted in individual pots.
We can minimise food waste through many different ways such as growing our own produce, planning our meals, buying only what we need, making broth with vegetable scraps, and getting creative with our leftovers.
There is also another way we can make good use of food waste, and that is by making eco-enzymes and composting.
Kitchen waste can be upcycled into an all-natural eco-enzyme cleaning solution through a fermentation process. These eco-enzymes (also known as garbage enzymes) can be used as a multi-purpose liquid in our home and garden. By making our own eco-enzymes at home, we can help reduce our environmental impact by decreasing the amount of food waste going to the landfill.
Most of the food waste we have can be composted, which gives it a second life. We can compost eggshells, coffee grounds, food scraps at home and convert them into nutrient-rich humus that can fuel plant growth and restore vitality to depleted soil. There are many ways we can compost at home. We highly recommend reading this journal by Cultivate Central for further information on DIY Composting on your balcony. Read article here.
Take your time to explore the many joys of grateful gardening. Enjoy the process as you bond with nature. If you pay close attention to your garden, you will notice something new every day. When you live every moment in gratitude, you will lead a life of fulfilment and happiness.
Join our Grateful Gardening Workshops to learn more about how we can spread gratitude through gardening!