A blooming rehab of a different kind
Turning depression into elation by focusing on growing beautiful plants and veggies from seed
BEING diagnosed with depression and anxiety can make one feel like it’s the end of the world, but for 21-year-old Nombuso Mlambo, it’s helped her discover her green fingers.
Mlambo found out about her gloomy diagnosis last year and her psychologist recommended that she find a hobby she could commit to doing regularly.
“I was going through a rough spell and when I visited the psychologist she advised me to start something that I would have to look after. And the result was my little table filled with pot plants,” she said.
She decided on pot plants because she did not have adequate space to start a garden at her home on the Bluff, Durban.
“My plants help me to take some time out from everything that is stressing me. You also feel some sense of accomplishment when you watch a seed grow from just a small thing into a beautiful plant,” said Mlambo.
Although Mlambo only started growing her own crops last year, the second-year psychology student at the University of SA was introduced to farming at a young age. Nombuso Mlambo’s beautiful flowers.
“I remember when we were still living in Bellair we had a huge vegetable crop where I learnt a lot about seeds and growing crops.”
She lauded her mother, Duduzile Mlambo, for her moral and financial support.
Like most of her peers, Mlambo spends time on social media reading blogs and catching up with her friends, but she has also been using the platform to share gardening tips with people.
Her Instagram account was flooded with pictures of her thriving pot plants. PICTURES: SIBONELO NGCOBO
“Every time I post on my blog or Instagram a lot of my followers respond positively and ask if I do it all by myself. I also want to change the perception that gardening is only for old people,” she said.
Mlambo grew mostly herbs because they don’t need a huge space. Among them is Provence French Lavender and rosemary, which she said added a refreshing taste to most meals.
Mlambo uses only organic potting mix because it is fertile and retains moisture. She also keeps and germinates orange and citrus seeds.
Her pot plant table is decorated with a variety of flowers which she uses to experiment with different farming methods and to keep insects away from her crops.
She mostly relies on the internet to get tips on how to take care of her plants and then passes on the knowledge by blogging about her experiences with different seeds and planting techniques.
“Sometimes we think we need more experience or bigger space, while in fact you can do something on your balcony. It is very exciting when others post what they have managed to grow through the tips we share,” she said.
As part of merging her studies with her experience Mlambo said she was also looking into how merging the two could benefit those dealing with anxiety and depression.
“Planting vegetables and herbs can also help you save money and you can use your kitchen to grow vegetables.”
She said once she had mastered backyard farming she would like to supply her products to local restaurants and supermarkets.
Mlambo shares her flower and vegetable growing tips on her social media blogs and posts pictures on her Instagram account. She loves getting feedback and learning that she has helped others with her advice.