Think of your plant as a pet. To take care of a pet you need to train it, give it attention, food, water, fresh air and clean up after it. With that in mind, here are the 3 main things you need to remember about gardening.
FERTILE SOIL i.e. Black Gold
Note that the title above doesn’t just say soil. We are talking about fertile soil.
There are a couple of ways to ensure you are using the best fertile soil for your plants. You can amend the soil you already have in or around your home, you can stop at your local road side horticulturist and buy some or you can buy already bagged potting soil.
The horticulturist can either mix up some soil with cured manure or sell them separately to you. If you feel you have adequate soil in your area you can just amend the soil with some organic matter e.g. cured manure or compost.
If you intend to use the soil around your home, it is an excellent idea to observe what people in your area use for their plants, if it isn’t clear to you, then ask someone, if that fails, then get someone to assess the soil for you.
Bagged potting soil is readily available in Lagos but there are some things you will need to be aware of:
- the soil is lighter (which is helpful in a multitude of cases)
- it drains well
- is sterilised to kill any weed seeds and diseases that could harm your plants
- some have slow release fertilisers added
- some have water retaining crystals to keep your plants hydrated during dry spells and
- these are usually imported so they can be quite expensive.
The soil you use will determine how well your garden thrives, so it is important you make the best decision that works for you and your goals.
Just like all other living creatures on earth a plant is made of mostly water, so it needs a good source of water to survive. We have to be careful not to drown our plants. Too much water can make most plants rot from the roots upwards (root rot). This is the main reason why drainage holes are very important in any container you decide to use. Most times, when a plant is in the ground, its roots can dig deep in search of water and nutrients in the soil to sustain itself especially when it is left to fend for itself. Not all plants are as self sufficient though.
For most plants any type of light will do but the best is sunlight. If you have an indoor plant try and ensure it is in a position where it can get quite a lot of light, e.g. by a window or in a well lit room. If you are placing it by a window, ensure the window does not get direct sunlight as the glass can intensify the heat (we know what the Lagos sun can be like!) and burn the plant. There are some special grow light bulbs available now that mimic the sunlight by emitting an electromagnetic spectrum appropriate for photosynthesis. These come in all shapes and sizes.