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Greenery in our homes

You
By Adeela Akmal
Tue, 04, 19

Good design is crucial for small space gardens. If you have limited room to grow as many of us do in urban areas....

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Whether it’s a corner space or even a wall, you can still manage some greenery and cherish spring for a little bit longer. This week You! shares some gardening tips from horticulturist Tofiq Pasha Mooraj, for people with limited spaces in their homes...

Tofiq Pasha Mooraj

There’s nothing quite like the energy and excitement of seasonal transition from the harsh winter to the blooming spring as the earth begins to flourish with colourful fruits and veggies. But, while we enjoy the breezy weather and the vibrant environment, it’s not so fun when the sweltering heat starts to take over. However, we can still cherish spring for a little bit longer

by adding some greenery in our homes.

There was a time when gardens were an essential part of a home. But since now, people are living in apartment building that go up to 30 to 40 storeys high, we gradually started seeing less of the freshly trimmed lawns. However, one of the fastest growing trends in interior design nowadays is the incorporation of natural materials and dŽcor. Keeping this in mind, this week You! talks to horticulturist, Tofiq Pasha Mooraj, who shares some useful tips on how people can start gardening in limited spaces.

“In some context, gardening is now a rarity, because the space in our cities is less. In today’s world where we have gotten so used to of living in a concrete jungle, some people have never been into a garden. It is essential for us to surround ourselves in greenery so that we are breathing in good air. Also, it cools down our environment, puts people into a better frame of mind and generally gives them a good attitude in life,” shares Tofiq Pasha.

Good design is crucial for small space gardens. If you have limited room to grow as many of us do in urban areas, maximising the area you can garden in and wise plant selection are top priorities. One thing that you need to remember is that, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a conventional garden. Stacking is a technique for maximising vertical space and simply means creating layers or tiers on which you can grow plants. So, whether it’s a corner space or even a wall, you can still manage some greenery.

Speaking of plant selection, Tofiq Pasha advises to opt for vegetables rather than fruits, “Considering small spaces, fruit is generally not possible because it grows on trees. But there are some fruits that can grow in your little gardens like strawberries or gooseberries. As for vegetables, many can be grown in a little space like beans, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, broccoli or lettuce. You can also grow herbs such as coriander, mint, parsley as they all require less space.”

“Benefit of growing your own food, if you have the space, are many folds. To begin with, you save money. Considering the underprivileged, even if they were able to grow something like coriander, chillies or tomatoes in their own home, they could be saving around five to 10 per cent of their income, which is quite significant.

Apart from that, you would be getting fresh produce, knowing that it was given fresh water and not any chemicals, making it healthier for us. Moreover, gardening is very therapeutic, and more than anything else it teaches us patience and brings tranquillity,” he adds.

Steps, terraces and ladders are crying out to be utilised as practical growing spaces and are a simple solution for many people. Steps are engineered to be structurally strong so can take heavier weights such as fruit trees in pots (if you’re determined), feature plants and large containers. If you want to grow something citrusy, then opt for growing lemons, especially if you live in a warm climate. Small trees like Meyers lemon trees thrive indoors as well.

Grow lemons in a small planter inside or outside in your backyard or balcony. You can keep lemon trees in your home if you have plenty of light. You’ll need to keep your soil moist and your trees in direct sunlight for around eight hours a day.

While this is an expensive option that requires professional help and tools, vertical gardening is getting popular in homes. These can often be spotted at corporates, lobby areas at resorts, restaurants and cafes. If you have the means, this could just as easily serve as a vertical herb garden or vegetable garden with tomatoes, peppers and other edible plants.

Your space may be limited, but don’t let this limit your imagination to what you can achieve. Take this as a special moment of not just revamping your home but also for your inner transformation. Fresh produce and nature in your surroundings will not only be a natural detox but will also keep your bodies cool during the warm summer months. So, grab some containers, recycled old food crates, tins cans or hanging planters. Put in some soil, fertilisers, seeds and get started!