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On being a green thumb

By  Yvette Nesas

Gardening is a topic that most would find intimidating because it’s a subject where science meets art. Not everyone is able to grow flowers or vegetables, while there are some who succeed effortlessly. So if you’re struggling, don’t lose hope because help is on the way.

Since the topic requires expertise in the subject matter I have sought the help of Mayra Luz Del Rosario, a University of the Philippines Los Baños graduate with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Horticulture with over 20 years of experience. Truth be told, she grew up learning about plants from her family of agriculturists, farmers, teachers and from her mother, Dr. Aurora G. Del Rosario.

Gardening is about nurturing plants. Plants are like babies that need constant attention and they are nurtured with light, water and fertilizer. A garden could be located in any portion of the house like if you live in a condo, you could have a vertical garden since it doesn’t take too much space. If you have a backyard, you could use a small portion to plant flowers or grow vegetables says, Del Rosario.

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1. Love Plants

Primarily, you need to be interested in plants and that you love them. That’s the reason why there are some who does it as a hobby and others work with plants. The thing is, every beginner is excited to start gardening but loses interest once a plant dies on them.

Some Filipinos think that there is such a thing as “mainit na kamay at malamig na kamay”.  “Mainit na kamay” would mean that no matter what you do, the plant will die on you.  On the other hand, “malamig na kamay” would refer to the inherent talent of growing plants easily.  But whether this is true or not, this should not be an indicator because “everything can be learned as long as your heart is willing”.

2. Study Plants

What do you love about plants? What makes you so attracted to them? Is it the color? Is it the scent? These are just some of the questions you need to answer. Ask questions about the plant you are particularly interested in so that horticulturists or hobbyist can give you tips.  Do your research.  Each plant has its own needs.  Plants grow on different types of medium — from dry to wet. A cactus, for example, grows on sand as its medium.  It requires minimum water and it will survive even if you only water it once a week. Another example would be water lilies.  Water lilies grow on marshy water that’s why they thrive in ponds. Then there are the orchids that originate from the forest. They don’t need too much soil to grow.  They grow on moss, charcoal or coconut husk instead. Orchids are aerial plants that don’t require too much water or else their roots will rot. Aerial plants get the humidity from the air to survive.

3. Observe Plants

• Check the medium that is used for growing plants. Observe and touch its moisture level: if it’s too dry, add water. If it’s too moist, stop. Do not overlook the roots.  They are important as well.  Their condition is reflected by the overall look of the plant.

• Check the light requirement. There are plants that need only partial light especially if it’s on its growing stage.  During the flowering stage, plants will need full sunlight; about 8 hours of daylight. If you have an indoor plant, make sure to place it by the window, kitchen, porch or terrace where it could get enough sunlight.

• Check the leaves.  If they’re lush, then you know that the plant is healthy.

• Don’t forget fertilizers. There are different types of fertilizers according to the plant’s growth stage: growing, booster, flowering or fruit-bearing. Just remember Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium or NPK (their element symbol).

• Make sure to keep your area clean to keep pests away. Check the surroundings if there are other plants because it’s not necessary to always put chemicals.

Now that we’re armed with the knowledge on how to be a green thumb, Del Rosario adds that we could start our own urban garden with vegetables that are easy to grow.  This would include pechay baguio, mustard and lettuce. Or if you have a bigger area, you could have eggplant, okra and tomatoes. You could get your supplies at plant shops, garden nurseries, or at the Garden Center at Quezon City Memorial Center. Happy gardening!

By  Yvette Nesas

Gardening is a topic that most would find intimidating because it’s a subject where science meets art. Not everyone is able to grow flowers or vegetables, while there are some who succeed effortlessly. So if you’re struggling, don’t lose hope because help is on the way.

Since the topic requires expertise in the subject matter I have sought the help of Mayra Luz Del Rosario, a University of the Philippines Los Baños graduate with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Horticulture with over 20 years of experience. Truth be told, she grew up learning about plants from her family of agriculturists, farmers, teachers and from her mother, Dr. Aurora G. Del Rosario.

Gardening is about nurturing plants. Plants are like babies that need constant attention and they are nurtured with light, water and fertilizer. A garden could be located in any portion of the house like if you live in a condo, you could have a vertical garden since it doesn’t take too much space. If you have a backyard, you could use a small portion to plant flowers or grow vegetables says, Del Rosario.