Celebrate Earth Day by growing some greens
By Samantha Francis
Growing your own greens can be easier than you think.
A sustainable lifestyle is much easier to preach than to practice. But with Earth Day (Apr 22) just around the corner, why not jumpstart your journey via the little ways? You could try upcycling your clothes, reducing food waste and using more environmentally-friendly materials in your daily life.
With IKEA’s new ANVÄNDBAR collection, you don’t have to sacrifice style even as you make a positive impact on the environment. You’ll find products made out of natural materials like wood, terracotta and glass.
My favourite of them all has to be the terracota pot, which has coincidentally kickstarted my love for growing micro greens.
Here are five useful tips I’ve learnt:
1. Know what you want to grow
While certain flowering herbs may look pretty, they require high maintenance. When deciding what to grow, think along the lines of plants that you will eat or use — I chose Lemon Basil for its lovely fragrance. In addition, they should be suitable for your climate and the space you have.
My little pot of mint and basil.
2. Find a suitable spot
Stuffing your greens in a random cosy corner isn’t going to work. A suitable spot is one with 4-6 hours of sunlight, with protection from strong wind and heavy rain. After a few trials and errors, I settled for my HDB corridor.
3. Using good soil is half the battle won
Your greens are the soil they’re grown in. So if you’re thinking of eating the harvested greens eventually, use good, clean soil with traceable sources.
According to experts G.R.E.E.N.S, good soil is made up of approximately 35% peat moss 35% compost, 15% vermiculite and 15% perlite. Such soil ought to have some water retaining ability and be packed with micro-organisms.
The ANVÄNDBAR 4-piece self-watering plant pot set is a must-have for busy gardeners.
4. To make life easier, use a self-watering plant pot
If watering your plant a few times a day isn’t quite possible with your hectic schedule, consider a self-watering plant pot. The simple looking ANVÄNDBAR 4-piece self-watering plant pot set ($25.90) from Ikea, is a great option.
Made from terracotta, the set comes with a removable portion, which separates the pot into two parts. All you have to do is fill that portion with water at least once each day and it will trickle out slowly from the porous material, hydrating your greens nicely. You will only need to top up with water when the pot is dry.
5. Treat your greens with TLC
Plants need TLC, especially if you want them to thrive. So don’t forget to water them daily, pull out weeds if any, deal with the pests and fertilise once a month. To encourage growth, harvest them once they’re ready and add them to your dishes!
The ANVÄNDBAR collection will be available in IKEA stores from May 2016.