It’s the Perfect Time to Start Gardening and Create Green Space in Our Homes
Since one spends more time at home, gardening can be an environmental relief for communities by having to foster the microhabitat in their home.!JAKARTA

One might be familiar with urban gardening as the way of people living in the city to establish green space at home or buildings. Over the years, urban gardening has been raising its popularity among urban residents who want to feel comfortable in their dwelling places. Who doesn’t like lush greeneries and much clearer air in the surrounding of their neighbourhood? 

Everybody, most likely, whoever lives in the city wants to create green space in their home but it’s not always easy as urban residents probably face a similar challenge with the lack of space that they have. The question would be like “Where do I grow my plant if I don’t have a backyard and only live in a small apartment or rented rooms (kost-an)? Some people might also think “Why do I need the plant in my house if I can’t take care of it?”

Many people believe that gardening is a natural stress reliever. According to the research on Growing Health Project by Garden Organic and Sustain, nature-based stress management courses have been offered as an intervention for individuals at risk of adverse health effects from work-related stress. 

Since people spend more time at home, one might find it difficult to separate work and personal life. This new routine is defined as a social design to make a serenity at home. As easiest access to natural reserves such as going to Bogor Botanical Garden is almost impossible today, starting gardening at home may become a consideration for those who are currently practicing self-isolation.

Nothing to worry about This is not something we need to be concerned about as there are always ways to create green space even a limitation of the space can be a pivotal challenge especially for individuals living in flats without a balcony. Here is what you can do to make a green space at home. 

Understanding the Space and Light

Identifying a space is a fundamental step before one can step into plant shopping. If one has a balcony in their apartment, it’s becomes the spot for your future garden. However, if one doesn’t have this access to the balcony, a small space nearby the window is the best option. Putting the plant close to a window will maintain plant growth as most species of the plants need access to light, sunshine, for photosynthesis. After that, one could picture the design of the green space, whether it's a hanging garden, vertical garden, or one might just build a tiny simple space close to the window. If someone has zero access to direct sunlight, it of course, can create some health problems but one can still purchase a growing light — basically a lamp that helps the photosynthesis of the plant just like what people do in nursery and greenhouse — to maintain the life source for the plant if no sunlight enters the room. 

Start using a compass to identify the direction of the sunlight that radiates the room. If one has access to light in a different direction, it will be a beneficial factor for the plants as one can put it anywhere, they want. For those of you only having one access to sunlight, whether it’s the eastern or western window, the amount of intensity of the light coming from those directions will determine the type of plant that will be possible to grow optimally in those lighting conditions. Eastern light is gentle in the morning and western light will give a huge amount of sunlight in the afternoon. It’s also going to be the same for the house/apartment that has a northeast or southwest facing window. Remember! The sunlight, air, and water are all needed for photosynthesis.

What Type of Planter are You?

The next question is identifying ourselves as the gardener. If one plans to invest more time in this new routine, having a plant that requires intensive care would not be a problem but for those of you who are barely ready for this, or anyone that doesn’t want a complicated houseplants’ care, choosing plants that require less simple treatment such as cactus and succulent is the available option but cactus and succulent also needs bright light. We must know ourselves first as the gardener before stepping into the next step. 

What kind of Plant that Suits You the Most?

From Peperomia to MonsteraHoya to Dracaena, plants offer us a different range of foliage, from robust green leaves to creeper plants as natural curtains, those specific characters of plants will also give us a different experience. Someneed a flowery house and some want their apartment to be like a jungle. One can make this happen if they understand the character of the plants, their life cycle, the lights that one can get into their house, as well as the local climate and weather. Of course, many plants can thrive in the tropical climate but again, few people have that luxury in their small spaces. Even a plant such as Tillandsia, or familiarly known as Air Plant is trendy right now, it’s better to follow our heart and understand what’s available at home first. 

Learning from Botani and Experts in Houseplants

As part of learning to become a gardener and new houseplants expert, one may check some figures such as urban gardening influencers, botanists, growers, or someone at the plant stores in the neighbourhood. The easiest access is learning from digital platforms including houseplant masterclass or trusted botanies who share their knowledge on Youtube or other social media. Plan Terina and Summer Rayne Oakes are among the popular figures in urban gardening who have vast experience in botany and sustainable gardening. Don’t be afraid to ask a question and enrich the knowledge about houseplant to be able to succeed in creating the green space at home. There are many experts out there who provide you with a bunch of knowledge about urban planting and gardening. Search for them, the only thing one needs to do so is internet connection to access those masterclasses. 

Experimentation, Propagation, and Plant Shopping

Having possession of anything can be another problem with no exception for urban gardening. Remember the first purpose of creating the green space is to establish a personal environment that could help for natural stress management. Don’t be too obsessive by impulsively buying a dozen plants or hunt for the rare plants out there that lead one to another stress and destructive obsession. One needs to be mindful and keep life in balance. Start by choosing the most suitable and simple plants to grow at home, then probably one can develop the skill of houseplants from there and get used to the new routine. Don’t give up if the first experience doesn’t come up well as one can evaluate and learn to be better as urban gardeners. 

Have a consultation with someone from the plant store close to the home before shopping for plants. Start small first, or if it’s possible, ask the cutting or seeds from the neighbour and start propagating the plants for those who have a short budget to create the green space at home. There are many online stores on the e-commerce platform and social media that sell their plants to be delivered to your doorstep. 

Having plants from a decent nursery pot is the best choice today as we can get healthy decent soil in the urban area like Jakarta. For those planning to grow food plants such as fruits and vegetables, one may also is to be mindful of the care plan as one also might need to think about the threat of the pest and fertilisation schedule. Anything organic is better for our plants. If possible. 

It’s the Perfect Time to Start Gardening and Create Green Space in Our Homes

Get Creative!

Having our plants in the terracotta pot might be boring for our house. Everyone at home can have a different planter with the ceramic, the post, or homemade trellis for wall natural decoration made from living plants. Either way, growing the plants in the soil or creating sustainable irrigation with hydroponic is possible for urban gardening. Plants and our creativity can turn our living space more enticing. 

Take Care of the Plants and Plant it Forward

Sustainability is important for any living creature in this world. After having the first plant at home, it’s essential to take care of them just like we take care of ourselves and probably grow more greeneries in the future. The key to sustainability is having an understanding of our own plants and inspiring each other. Urban gardeners have an important role in cultivatingthe spread of more species and genes of the plants available in this world as there are many tropical forests and natural land that have been converted into palm oil plantation and commercial area that endangers some of the rarest plant species on earth. 

If taking a rare plant from its natural habitat with a responsible purpose can grow more of that rare plant, urban gardeners help also creating a microhabitat for those plants losing their population on the planet. Inviting beneficial bugs to our green space, it will keep the plants and soil and it has a role to get rid of pest’s insects such as spider mites and mealybugs on our plants. One can also compost the fallen leaf or dead plants to recover the soil from degenerating its nutrients. Plant it forward by buying plants and sharing it so people can inspire others to sustain the biodiversity of the planet and make the urban areafriendly for other living beings. 

Make the world greener than ever!

Rintang Azhar

Rintang Azhar

Rintang is a previous staff writer for NOW! with experience in hard news and lifestyle journalism. He specialises in art, design, culture, fashion, environmental, and urban issues.