Farming At Home: Beginner's Guide To Growing Healthy Plants
Want to start home gardening but not sure how to? Get started with our urban farming kit, and use this beginner's guide to learn how to grow a healthy garden.
Ever tried gardening and wonder if you’ll ever be able to take good care of some plant babies? Now’s the time to get started! We’ve prepared a beginner’s guide to home gardening, filled with tips on how to grow strong and healthy plants. Read on and let us help you develop your green fingers!
Now, before you get started, there are a few essential tools you’ll need. They are easily available in Singapore, and you can also get them all with the urban farming kit we offer at Farmcity. These tools include:
How to Sow Seeds
The first step to growing your plant babies is seed sowing. While it is easy to grow plants from seeds, you cannot just simply throw a few seeds into the soil and expect them to grow well.
Minimal equipment is needed - just the right potting mix and basic living conditions for germination to happen.
Seeds can be sown in a seed tray, in an empty food container, or in a proper pot. At Farmcity, we make use of 100% biodegradable CocoCups as they can be directly transplanted into your planters, reducing the amount of stress we cause to your plants during transplant.
If you choose to use empty food containers or other materials, be sure to drill some holes through the bottom of the container to enable water to drain away. Retention of too much water in the soil may cause seeds to rot.
Step 1: Fill your container with a potting mix. There are several types of soil available and it can be confusing to figure out what you need. For growing vegetables in containers, you would want a well-draining soil that is light, and contains organic nutrients that will feed your plants without the nasties.
For example, the potting mix used at Farmcity contains beneficial microorganisms that keep the potting mix biologically active. They help to break down the great organic ingredients such as neem, compost and vermicompost so your plants get all the essential nutrients they require.
Step 2: Thoroughly wet the potted soil, and allow excess water to drain from the pot.
Step 3: Pick your seed and sow them at a depth that is twice the size of the seed’s width. Seeds come in various shapes and sizes and they need different amounts of space to grow well.
For small seeds, gently sprinkle them over the soil from the palm of your hand using your finger. For larger seeds, simply place them one by one.
Step 4: Sprinkle a small amount of potting mix over seeds so they are lightly covered. Gently tamp down to allow good soil to seed contact - this will improve germination. Next, spray a little bit more water with a mist bottle or a low-pressure watering can to keep the seeds and soil moist, making sure not to displace the seeds.
Step 5: Keep the potted plants in a warm sunny spot and remember to water daily. Seeds should germinate between 3-14 days depending on your choice of seeds.
How to Transplant
Transplanting your seedlings into their permanent home isn’t as difficult as it seems! During the process of moving a seedling from their seed tray into their permanent home, the fair root hairs may be damaged, thus causing “transplant shock”. A drastic change in environment will also cause plants to suffer from transplant shock. To minimise this, it is best to transplant only when seedlings are strong enough (such as when they have established a root system, and have a minimum of 6 true leaves).
Alternatively, we recommend using our 100% biodegradable Coco Cups when you’re starting seeds.
This allows you to transplant the entire plant without removing it from the CocoCup, and reducing the risk of transplant shock.
Step 1: 30 to 60 minutes before transplanting, deeply water both the soil in the current pot and the new pot. When the soil is moist, it reduces friction, thus causing less damage to the root ball. Also, plants tend to close their stomata during transplanting, and can no longer take in water through their leaves. That’s why it is important that they continue to drink up nutrients through their roots.
Step 2: When you’re ready for transplanting, ensure that you’ve already prepared a hole in the new pot. Invert the pot, gently remove the plant together with its surrounding soil, holding it by the lower stem and cradling the soil around it before lowering it into its new home. Take care not to disturb the root zone.
Step 3: After transplanting, water the plant deeply so that the soil can settle well around the roots gently. This will also ensure that the plant continues to take in nutrients through its roots.
How to Care for the Plant
1. Thin seedlings when needed
The same way humans don’t enjoy being in crowded places for long, plants too, don’t like to be crowded. So, if you spot crowding in your pot, snip away weak ones that could be competing with the stronger leaves and seedlings for nutrients.
2. Right atmosphere
The right atmosphere is important for your seedlings to grow well into adult plants. An environment that is too hot and dry can cause soil to dry out, whereas overly wet environments can cause mould and mildew to form.
Also, each plant has a specific temperature at which it thrives. High temperatures can cause heat stress, while excess sun exposure can cause leaf burn and sunscald. Consider using a shade cloth if there’s too much sun in your area.
Start your home gardening journey with plants that can thrive in the hot and humid climate in Singapore, they will be easier to care for. Our urban farming kit offers a selection of plants suitable for Singapore’s weather.
3. Ample sunlight
Most plants need at least four to six hours of sunlight per day. The lack of sunlight can hamper photosynthesis. As a result, food reserves will quickly deplete, leaves will turn light green and the plant may become weak and thin.
4. Protect against pests
Pests can be harmful to your plants. Good pests, such as butterflies and bees, are beneficial, but others will weaken your plants. Invest in neem oil for plants and use it to keep pests away from your plants organically.
5. Ample water supply
Plants that receive insufficient water may wilt and die, or they may experience stunted growth. Leaves may also fall prematurely, resulting in a low yield. Similarly, too much water can cause waterlogging, root rot, oxygen depletion in the soil, and oedema. Some plants are more drought-tolerant, while others may need more water to survive. Make sure to do your research based on the plant you are planning to grow.
Growing strong and healthy plants is simple if you take good care of them and follow instructions, giving them the nutrients and living conditions they require. Start your home gardening journey with our urban farming kit today.