The benefits of green in small places – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Gardening as a hobby is a slippery track. One moment you’re breastfeeding an easy-care succulent plant, and the next, you’re calling an entire mini-forest with assigned names. But when we live in a big city of nearly five million people – and they fit in the same number of buildings – there is little room for this plant paradise. However, this did not prevent the Chennaiers from getting the most out of the limited space available to them, even if it was limited to tiny balconies of 150 square meters, as in the case of Jaishree Sambandan.

Introduced to gardening by her grandmother as a child, a resident of Thiruvanmiyur is accustomed to the comforts of an independent home. But as he grew and the houses shrank, time was an obstacle for him. It wasn’t until the beginning of the year that his family was affected by Covid that he returned to business; this time with small balconies per canvas. Modern problems have required modern solutions for its growing collection of monsters, aglaonemas, and ferns. “I try to put together different types of plants in every corner because each variety needs separate water and humidity. With this layout, they are easier to handle and look fuller. For example, there are about 8-10 species of ferns in one corner because they need less sunlight than the others, ”says Jaishree.

In order to provide more space on the ground, it is invested in limited planters – available in different lengths – that can be conveniently hung on balcony rails and allow it to store a variety of pots or soil for additional crops. The same can be hung from the balcony or terrace, he adds. In addition, hanging pots allow you to store turtles over your head and extend them to the edge by a walled tree plantation. Utilizing vertical spaces and extraterrestrial infrastructure, Jaishree has been able to expand the area for other purposes.

Innovative methods

These tips may be ideal for growing grapes, herbs, and other foliar plants, but the same cannot be applied to vegetable growers, such as the organic gardener Anju Agarwal, whose system meets the spatial needs of his plants. She grew up in a large bungalow in Mumbai, and Anju was used to the large front and back yards as well. But after the marriage, his garden, which moved to Chennai, was reduced to a 1,500-square-foot terrace. Eventually, he had to find a way to introduce new plants to the already cumbersome pumpkins, cauliflowers, cabbage, musk, beets, beans, carrots, mint, and more that lined up in his garden. One was the use of growing bags. “You can plant multiple companion plants in a four-by-eight-size growing bag, so there’s no need to take up space in multiple pots,” he explains. You can even do that in rice bags, ”he adds.

But if that’s not massive enough for you, you might want to try a cooler, as Tirupuri’s Priya Rajanarayanan suggested, “This is called a five-tier system; interruption. You can even do this with stems, car tires and other creative storage at no cost. You first grow a tree (such as Moringa), then a creeper that can climb over it, followed by medium-sized plants such as brinjal or tomato, a ground-level plant (say coriander, chili, or mint), and finally a root vegetables (beets, radishes, turmeric), ”he says.

Because these types have different root structures and growth, this prevents them from fighting for nutrients and allows live mulching, which reduces erosion and regulates soil temperature as well as drains. To make better use of the area and create a gradient of sunlight on the ground, it recommends a sheet music panda – which mimics a tent without a tarpaulin – on which creepers can slide. You can then arrange the plants that require less sunlight in the dancing shade and the rest in the remaining space.

Priya, a believer in preserving the seeds of heritage, has learned the tricks of the craft from a trash can! Knowledge of the importance of waste recovery and native vegetables contributes to your knowledge of maximizing space. “I only have 30 varieties at a time, say brinjal, and I only plant one plant of each variety to maintain the selection. About 70 of the remaining ones are identified by a date and stored in the fridge, ”adds the voice of the Seed Island YouTube channel, which provides details about gardening and seeds.

From the deserts to the terrace

But desert-oriented plants are the ones that literally take heights. Low-maintenance and easy-to-arrange, desert-oriented plants and succulents can be stacked on a stand for minimal land use, says gardener Sai Krishnan, who grows more than 100 varieties of cactus, bonsai, succulents and euphorbia on 2,000 square meters. terrace. “Make sure they are exposed to indirect sunlight. You can build an impromptu barn with bamboo bars and shade nets, or invest in polycarbonate sheets. You can take advantage of the vertical space as the plants do not grow too tall, ”notes Sai. In fact, the puppies (new plants) stand out from the roots of the plants and take up a horizontal place, he mentions, adding the need for a good pot of the right diameter. And don’t worry about overcrowding; they love the humidity!

It was also a blessing for Abitha S to shed, whose patio garden is divided into sunny and shady areas to accommodate warm-loving flowering plants and contrasting croton. Whether it’s foliage, vegetables, desert plants or flowers, sunlight seems to be a ubiquitous factor to consider. According to Abitha, the best results from a patio garden can only be achieved if we understand the placement of sunlight throughout the day. “I have jasmine, hibiscus, bougainvillea, roses, bellflowers and more. When it comes to flowers, it is important to place them in the required sunlight and not move them. Make sure there is enough space in the pots to keep the plant healthy for the next five years. This maximizes performance because plants don’t like to be moved, ”he notes.

As gardening becomes more popular and plants get into homes – whether for functional or aesthetic purposes – we need to find a way to share our space with nature, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be smart.

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