This month, we're introducing you to Margarita! She's thrilled about Click & Grow smart gardens, which help her grow delicious ingredients where she lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Hi, Margarita! What is gardening to you? What role does it play in your life?
I was inspired to garden by my family who has grown various decorative plants, fruit trees and vegetables in our backyard in the Philippines. It means a lot to me to share the same passion for gardening as these important people in my life. I use this passion to expand my knowledge of plants so I can take care of them better and achieve a more sustainable lifestyle by growing my own herbs, fruits and vegetables, one plant at a time.
Most of the time, we think of gardening as just growing plants, but it has always been a two-way street for me. Nurturing and caring for my plants means I am nurturing and caring for myself too.
Gardening is my means of achieving a state of calm and peace of mind. I find it therapeutic to look at them, care for them, and watch them bloom, fruit, and grow. It is so fulfilling for the soul, watching them grow from little seedlings into mature plants, knowing that I helped them on their journey.
When did you start growing with us and what’s been the highlight of your indoor gardening journey?
I started growing with Click & Grow in June 2021, a few months after I migrated to Canada. I saw a Click & Grow smart garden that piqued my curiosity and bought a unit to try out in our apartment. Ever since then, I’ve been growing basil, chili peppers, yellow mini tomatoes, wild strawberries and a variety of flowers. The best part is how I am able to use my own Click and Grow harvest and put them into my homemade meals and beverages. Literally from garden to table!
What's your favorite green recipe featuring your homegrown plants?
The best one I have tried so far was making my own pesto and creating a tuna pesto pasta meal!
Recipe for Fresh Basil Pesto Sauce
2 cups of fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
Place all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth, then store in an airtight jar.
Recipe for Tuna Pesto Pasta
2 cups fusilli pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
2-3 tablespoons pesto sauce
2 tablespoons cut sundried tomatoes
1 can of tuna
Grated parmesan cheese for toppings
Cook the pasta according to its cooking instructions. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
Place the pesto sauce, tuna, and sundried tomatoes in a pan on medium low heat. Mix for 2-3 mins then add the pasta. Mix everything together and serve. Add grated parmesan cheese for topping.
Other than this, I have also tried a few beverages with my plants:
Basil lemonade - blending basil leaves with lemon juice and sugar
Wild strawberry leaf tea - infuse their leaves in hot water and add honey/sugar to taste
What advice would you give new growers?
I’ll be basing this on what I’ve learned for almost a year of growing with Click and Grow. Here are the most important tips I would give our new growers:
- Don’t forget, your smart garden needs water refills too! For a person who works at home, I sometimes get too busy and forget to refill my garden’s water tank. Set a reminder every other day to check its water level so you can make sure your plants are getting the water that they need.
- Prune, prune, prune your herbs and leafy greens! I’ve always been so scared of pruning herbs like basil, but I promise you, they will give you better yield if you prune them (at the right sections, of course).
- Be resourceful! Most of the things you need to know about your plant pods and smart garden can be found in the Click & Grow app. Other tips, articles and instructional videos can be found on Click & Grow’s YouTube channel, blog, website and social media accounts too! If you need more advice, the Click & Grow Facebook Community can always help you out.
- Trust the process and be patient! One of the most universal tips anyone can give about gardening is to be patient. If you’re growing different plants in your garden, it’s possible that some may sprout first and some may take longer. Just like you, plants need time to grow. Make sure you follow instructions on how to properly set up your garden. Once you do, sit back, relax, and wait for the magic to happen!
Be sure to check back next month, when we'll feature another gardener chosen by our Facebook community. Who knows? You might just make it onto the list!