Tafadzwa Zimoyo Home and Garden Writer
Since most people are at home as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19, they are urged to stay at home and wash their hands regularly with running soapy water and sanitise.
However the lockdown may be a boring to many. Apart from uniting with your family, it is an opportunity to clean your home and make sure you give that home garden a feel that you always wanted.
For those with limited spaces, those who stay in apartment flats, you can too have a small garden in pots and sacks.
We have seen of late that growing vegetables, flowers, shrubs, and even trees in containers has surged in popularity.
There are lots of reasons growing plants in pots which is gaining popularity and some said that it enables space-challenged gardeners to tend to a range of flowers, vegetables, and even dwarf trees among others.
‘‘Pot gardening is now the in-thing as you can do it anyway. The trend has now spread even to offices at workplace where this also gives you a feel to heal depression and stress as you will be occupied with your pot after some hard work during your break-time. The phenomenon allows plant lovers to try out newer varieties before planting them in a garden,’’ said Sandra Charakupa, a gardener based in Ardbennie.
She said that many people get frustrated when caring for potted plants because they do not understand the particular requirements of growing in a space-restricted environment.
Charakupa said that when taking care of flowering plants in pots you need to choose the right pots for the plant.
‘‘Some may say that almost anything can be used as a container for plants, like bathing buckets, empty container of any liquid (Mazoe bottle).So what type of pot you choose depends upon your style preference and budget. If you prefer lightweight containers, which are easy to move around, look for resin, fibreglass, and plastic pots as they require less irrigation being non-absorbent.
Make sure that there are one or more holes in the bottom of your container to allow excess water to flow out.
If you have insufficient drainage it can cause roots to drown, and the plant to die prematurely,’’ she said.
Charakupa who has a small garden at the backyard of her home, where she plants vegetables, flowers and trees said that after identifying the pots to use one needs to have the right plants for it.
‘‘These days’ plants work with your attitudes and character. What you plant defines you. You must take into consideration the conditions of your space hence you pot should accommodate freely your chosen plant. First do thorough research and homework about the plant you are about to put in your pot. Ask for advice and determine which plants will thrive in the available sun or shade.
When deciding what to buy, the simplest approach is to use one kind of plant per pot.
Transplant two to three seedlings per pot and if you choose to combine multiple types of plants, make sure they all like the same light and moisture conditions,’’ she explained.
Now after acquiring all that it is time to prepare your pots.
‘‘There are pots for inside and outside house hence it is also wise to work with a home décor personnel too. I have noticed some people paint their pots inside, which somehow also destroys the plant as when that paint decays and mixes with the soil it can even create poison. If your containers are large, place them where they are ultimately go before filling them. Once they are full and watered, they may be too heavy to move.
Fill the container with the soil and putting in enough potting mix so the base of the plant is about 2.5 centimetres from the top of the pot,’’ she said. She added that never pull a plant out by its stem.
“When you see that your plant is stuck, tap the sides of the pot to loosen it. Carefully fill in with small handfuls of soil. Make sure you water your container as this will settle the roots into their new home. If the soil level drops below the top of the root ball, add additional mix to bring it back up,” she emphasized.
However it has been noted that plants growing in containers need more fertilizing than those in the ground. The more you water, the more quickly you flush the nutrients out of the soil.
If you want really healthy and happy plants, feed them a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks according.