Philippine Star: Aspiring 'plantito,' 'plantita'? Farmer Nico Bolzico gives 'plantips'


In addition to Nico's tips, Seedibles, a brand specializing in planting kits offered via its @seedibles.co Facebook and Instagram pages, shared the following tips for those who want to hop into the planting bandwagon:

Grow plants you can eat

There’s nothing more cathartic than watching your plant grow from a humble seed to an abundant harvest — the unique feeling of serving it up for dinner after a long day, you can proudly say, “I grew that.” It’s the experience in full circle. 

Keep it simple

Make a list of three to five plants you enjoy with your meal and focus on those for your first season.

Grow from seeds

Apart from being part of the incredible seed-to-harvest transformation, there are multiple benefits to being there from the very beginning.

If you want to grow an organic harvest, it is important to make sure your plants were not doused in pesticides. This keeps them and you healthier. This is something you’ll have full control over.

Plants grown from seed also tend to be healthier because they do not suffer "transplant shock," which is the unavoidable trauma that happens when plants change environments and when fragile root systems are disturbed during planting. 

Find a good location

Location is essential. Most plants require at least six to eight hours of sun a day. Morning sun is the best and is usually less harsh on your plant. 

Watch how the sun travels over your space throughout the day. Note the shades and hot spots. Observe your space before deciding on a final spot. This decision will impact the life of your plant.

Healthy soil is a must!

There’s a big difference between high-quality well-balanced organic soil that is rich with nutrients and microbial life, and just a pile of dirt or depleted topsoil. Good soil is usually teeming with microbes and elements that break down and store organic fertilizers. Store-bought sterilized mixes usually don’t have that.

Soil is the number one area to spend money on when you’re starting out. Whatever you do, do not skimp on soil. 

For container gardening, potting mix (not garden soil, loam soil, etc.) is the best. It’s designed to give your plants the texture and drainage they need. Seedibles, a local enterprise, offers a generous amount of their Signature Potting Mix available on their online boutique.

"We are inspired by a firm philosophy that our lives are closely interwoven with nature and each other. We design quality plant therapy grow kits and bio-organic plant boosters that will not only make you feel confident in harvesting your own organic food, but can also prove to be a therapeutic experience that will bring you closer to your family, friends, and your most authentic self," the brand said in a statement sent to Philstar.com.

Water well

Watering is the second most important requirement for your plants. Some rules of thumb include:

  • Watering in the morning is the best. But if you can’t, water in the evening.
  • Water deeper and less often rather than shallow and frequently.
  • You must also water the base of your plants instead of just spraying them overhead.

Always water your plant when they need water, even if it means you’re watering many times during a heat wave. A great way of telling whether your plant is thirsty is through a combination of feeling whether your soil is dry and gauging whether it’s hotter than usual. 

Go for organic fertilizers

There are three main macro-nutrients that plants need: Nitrogen (promotes green growth; up), Phosphorus (promotes root and flower growth; down), and Potassium (promotes overall health including the plant’s immune system, and temperature tolerance; all around). 

While synthetic fertilizers offer all of these, organic fertilizers not only provide NPK, but also provide secondary and micro-nutrients, vitamins and other elements that help improve soil structure and health, resulting in stronger, healthier plants. 

While going organic can be a bit more expensive, if you factor in the benefits to your health, soil health, environmental considerations and sustainability — especially in terms of where they are sourced, how they are made, and how they get into our waterways — they provide immeasurable value. Always read the label!

Don’t be afraid to kill your plants

As the old riddle goes, “What’s the difference between a master gardener and a rookie gardener? The master gardener has killed way more plants.”

Lots of things can lead to the death of a plant, and they’re not because you don’t have a green thumb. This is where experience really pays off. Be patient, experiment and pay attention.

Learn from the struggles and the killings. The more you get to know plants and their needs, the faster you’ll have a full harvest.

https://www.philstar.com/lifestyle/modern-living/2020/08/31/2039109/aspiring-plantito-plantita-farmer-nico-bolzico-gives-plantips