How Growing Plants Indoors Can Be Easier Than Raising Children
There are a lot of things to be thankful for in this life. If you’re a senior, it’s quite likely that among your blessings are the children you nurtured into great adults. Of course, it was an incredible task, but now you can dust your hands off and congratulate yourself on a job well-done.
However: once a parent, always a parent. When you’ve got a nurturing itch to scratch, think about turning over a new leaf with Mother Earth’s original children: plants! Even if you live in a retirement community and have limited space or mobility, growing your very own vegetables and herbs indoors is easier than you may think.
Here are five reasons why growing an indoor garden can be easier than raising children, along with helpful tips on how to get your plant-rearing in gear.
- You have full control over how they dress.
Whether it’s a “statement” or a direct act of defiance, throughout time, teenagers have baffled parents with their fashion choices. Not so with plants! When creating your indoor garden, consider your wide range of choices for containers, as dressed up or down as you wish.
Most plants need four to five inches of soil to grow comfortably. Also consider:
- Material—Avoid toxic residues in your container. Clean it thoroughly and use appropriate liners.
- Drainage—You may need to poke or drill holes in the bottom; then, set it on a tray or something to contain the runoff.
- Variety—Mix colors, shapes, and textures for an attractive look.
- Recycling—Why throw out a perfectly good peanut butter jar when it can be home to a cute little sprig of rosemary?
- You know exactly what they want for Christmas.
Forget video games, baby dolls or a brand-new car—soil is all your new babies need! You can buy potting soil, or make your own for the added thrill of self-sufficiency. You can also routinely add extra compost into your potting soil for nutrients and use fertilizer granules as needed, every two to six weeks.
- You only have to feed them once a day (or less).
Unlike Internet-obsessed kids these days, plants yearn for plenty of fresh air and light. Position your garden containers near a window facing south to get the most sun, especially if you live in an area that experiences the winter season. During these times—and know that my sympathies are with you—avoid drafty areas; temperatures between 45 and 79°F are ideal. You can set up some mirrors to reflect sunlight, if necessary. You can also use indoor grow light systems, which are especially convenient when set with a timer.
- They need you more than you need them.
Although plants may have a stoic personality, they definitely appreciate your help. Soil should go slightly dry between each watering; find a schedule that works for your individual varieties, and you’ll be fine. Remember to keep the leaves trimmed and looking as fresh as a back-to-school haircut.
- They tell you they love you every day.
Besides being attractive and adding color, the health benefits of living with indoor greenery are proven. Decorating with living plants has been a part of human society for all time—and it makes sense, considering their effect on reducing stress and depression. People are more affected by their environment than they may think!
I hope this goes without saying, but there is one way plants are very different than children: You can eat them! Beyond herbs, try these unique, flavorful options:
- Hot peppers: The hotter the pepper, the more packed with capsaicin (a powerful antioxidant) it is. Many people actually find more luck growing these indoors rather than out!
- Garlic greens: The health benefits of garlic are far-reaching, as it helps in regulating blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease and preventing certain types of cancer. While bulbs are a bit tricky to grow indoors, the greens can be used like scallions and added into any and every dish—if you cook like I do, anyway.
- Avocados: Stuffed to the skin with healthy fats, vitamins E and B6, and carotenoids—which are high in vitamin A and have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and eye degeneration—avocados are also incredibly delicious. For best results, use a big ol’ pot and start off with a dwarf tree.
Now sit back and enjoy watching your little seedlings grow up, so that, before you know it, you can—literally—enjoy the fruits of your labors.
This article is brought to you by our friends at PlanItDIY.com