Having a green thumb is as easy as painting your thumb green. Yes, it’s true.
Now, why paint your thumb green?
Now, why have a green thumb?
Now, why plant?
Now, why plant trees and other plants?
Plants breathe in what the members of the Kingdom Animalia breathe out and the members of the Kingdom Plantae breathe out what the animals including us (yes, you are an animal) breathe in. Simply stated, plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. We owe the plants for every breath we take. We must pay them for every sigh we make. Other wise, Mr. Global Warming will take his toll on us. And that is without any terms… without any condition.
Secondarily, plants give us food. We can directly eat them. If we wish, we can exchange them for money to buy meat and satisfy our cannibalistic nature or acquire earthly materials to gratify our ethereal soul. In short, plants give us means of living. Innovative uses of plants have recently broken through newspapers. That is another story.
Now, how can we have a green thumb?
People with green thumb are not born, they are trained. The instinct to love plants are already inherited but the traits and the skills are something we must learn.
The first thing we must be familiar with are the elements of earth, air, water and fire.
Earth. The soil. Different kinds of plant require different types of soil. Some strives in sand while some dwells in loam. Some prefers a combination. The amount of soil is also crucial. A farm necessitates a vast tract of land while indoors settle for a pot. Trees, of course need a lot, unless you really want a bonsai otherwise. For those who propagate plants for ornaments, you will be amazed how the color of the leaves change as the acidity of the soil changes.
Air. Aerial plants obviously love air while some whither and die if frequently visited by gusty wind. Some just need enough to breathe. If you are doing aeroponic gardening, that is another story.
Water. Certain types of plant need certain amount of water. Xerophytes like cacti can live with less while hydrophytes like water lily, quiapo and lotus love water. Mesophytes are neither xerophytes nor hydrophytes while phreatophytes have adapted that they grow large and long roots to sip water from the phreatic zone of the earth. Nowadays, phreatophytes are grown to purify contaminated underground water. That is another story. If you are doing hydroponic gardening, that is another story.
Fire. The sun. The temperature. The sunflower loves the sun while others hate it. If the plants wither and die under the sun, ceteris paribus, it is high time to put them into shade. It is a matter of trial and error.
Next. How do we plant?
There are two means of plant reproduction, the sexual and the asexual.
The sexual method takes into account the male and the female reproductive structures of the plant. A unisexual or imperfect flower is either functionally male or functionally female. Male flowers possess only androecium (stamens) structure while female ones have only gynoecium (carpels, ovary) parts. Bisexual or perfect flowers have both. Hermaphrodites have both from the beginning while others undergo sex-switching upon passage of time. The fertilization process in the ovary gives way to the production of seeds which in turn and in time are used for propagation.
Asexual propagation does not take seeds as requisite. Common methods are cutting, layering or marcotting, grafting, using stolons or runners and division using storage organs.
Cutting or striking is simply taking stems out of the parent plant and replanting it in another medium. Some tops are more appropriate to use while in some instances matured stems are preferred.
Layering or marcotting. In ground layering, flexible stems are pinned down to earth to give way to new roots and to eventually cut the stem off the parent plant. In air layering, matured stems are peeled and cast with light lump of medium. Roots will soon grow and the new plant will be replanted in new medium.
Grafting is often used in fruit-bearing trees like mangoes. In grafting, a matured scion with the desired trait is inserted or grafted into the often young stock. Grafting, per se is not a way of reproduction. It is used to improve the strain of the plant.
Strawberries are propagated using stolons or runners. Stolons are similar to normal stems except they produce adventitious roots at the nodes that run horizontally rather than vertically.
The head of the garlic or onion is composed of multiple bulbs. Bulbs are the storage organs of this kind of plant. Dividing or splitting them helps in fast reproduction. In case of ginger, rhizomes are used.
Post planting techniques. Once you see developing roots and once the plant takes hold of the earth, all we need to do is to monitor the elements- the soil, the air, the water and the sun. This time, another element enters the niche- the heart.
We must treat the plants in the same way we treat any other God-given creature. We must love Rose as much as we love Kitty. We must take care of Acacia as diligent as we pet Doggy. We must speak with Daisy as tender as we treat Baby. We can talk to our plants and recent research (Discovery Channel : Sex, Drugs, Plants) shows that they talk back to us. That is another story.