et Home: Gardening 101



Wed, 28 Mar 2018 - 07:00 GMT


Wed, 28 Mar 2018 - 07:00 GMT

Garden stock image

Garden stock image

It doesn’t require much time or resources, and with the weather warming up, now is the best time to start a garden.

Once you begin, the benefits are many; it is meditative, it gently stretches your body, and it gives you a sense of appreciation for little things we tend to take for granted, like greenery and food.

Don’t know where to begin? Everyone who perceives gardening as a daunting and complex commitment couldn’t be further from the truth. There are actually only a few simple outlines that you would need to know to make your life a little greener.

Here to help is Mashtal, an online gardening center that offers a comprehensive catalog of plants, gardening tools and information. It aims to provide novice and professional gardeners in Egypt with a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience through which they can acquire all the supplies, equipment, services and information that they need to develop their gardening projects. This month, the Mashtal team shares a few tips to get you started on your new garden.

Be ready to experiment:

The most important thing to understand about gardening or owning plants is that it is not an exact science. There is no single instructions manual that, if followed, will guarantee success.

Plants are beautiful and fickle biological phenomena. Their survival is influenced by various elements; and any different combination of these elements can either allow a plant to thrive, or cause it to wilt away and die.

Therefore, if you are going to own plants, you have to be ready to experiment, even in the most simple things. For example, if you place a plant somewhere in your home where there is little sunlight and you notice that it is not doing well, this means you will need to move it to another spot. The same applies to watering a plant, the amount of compost (organic matter) you add, or the choice to place it indoors or outdoors. The point is that you have to constantly experiment to find the best combination of elements for your plant.

Know your tools:

You will also need a few basic tools to help you get on your way.

You will need secateurs to prune hard branches of trees and shrubs, up to two centimeters thick. A gardening trowel is necessary for digging small holes and moving soil, as well as taking out weeds. A hand cultivator or rake is used to smooth the soil in a new or existing bed before seeding and planting and to remove any clumps.

You cannot forget your gloves to avoid cutting your hands while you work; a bucket to transport or hold soil while you are moving plants or doing other work in the garden; and the sprayer, which is very useful for watering hanging plants, spraying fertilizers or pest control and cleaning the leaves of your plants.


Plant care basics:

Before you start your gardening experience, there are some basic facts that you need to know to make sure that you take good care of your plants and that you are always on the right track.

Healthy plants usually have lush green leaves and will flower when in season. If a plant’s leaves are changing, that does not necessarily mean it is not doing well. It could be that the leaves are simply losing vigor to make room for new ones. This is how plants grow.

However, there are some other discoloration cases that you need to keep an eye out for because it could mean your plant is not getting its sunlight or water needs.

If there is some discoloration on a cluster of otherwise healthy leaves, this could generally mean the plant is receiving too much water. And if the leaves are wilting and drying up, this means your plant requires more water.

If a plant’s leaves are changing color at the tips, and they almost look like they are burnt, this could mean the plant is receiving too much sunlight.

You also need to know a few things about composts and fertilizers. Generally, decorative plants will occasionally need a little bit of fertilizer. The basic elements that plants require are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), or NPK for short. These elements can be found in liquid or powder form and are diluted in water prior to application.

Of course, there are exceptions to all these rules, plants can be quite fickle and as always, you will have to experiment.


Once you know your tools and basics, you can choose your plant:

House plants have the ability to completely transform any indoor space. They create an atmosphere that is warm, cozy and inviting, and purify the air in that space. They also create a space of positive energy.

A good place to begin is to select plants that work well in low-light areas and require minimal care and attention, such as Peace Lily, Spider Plant, Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen and Rubber Tree.

All that these plants would require from their gardener is indirect light, watering approximately twice a week and very minimal pruning (removing dead leaves when they have wilted). They are excellent intro plants for anyone who wants to get started with making their lives a little greener.

As for outdoor pants, if you have a garden or even a small terrace, a great way to start experimenting is to begin with cacti and succulents.

These types are extremely resilient; they require very little water and even less care and attention. They end up growing beautifully, and would teach you a great deal regarding handling plants.

You can start with Aloe Vera, also used to produce hair and skin products, or Jade Plant, which is known as the money tree and is believed to bring great wealth and fortune, or the Madagascar Palm.

Now you are ready to begin making your life a little greener. All you need to remember is to have plenty of fun, be patient and experiment. To get you started, visit masthalegypt. com to shop for tools, fertilizers and other gardening essentials or check their Facebook group at MashtalEgypt. Also make sure you visit the annual Orman Flower Exhibition held in April at the Orman Garden in Dokki.

For more advice from Mashtal, visit




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