Gardening: A Primer

ornamental-potsNature is the most beautiful creation in this world. The word ‘Nature’ gives us a relaxed feeling irrespective of any sort of tensions. A whole lot of greenery comes into our mind when we think about the nature. This greenery symbolizes peacefulness. Living in an atmosphere with greenery everywhere gives pleasure to the body as well as to the soul. Plants are commonly grown for decorative purposes, for positive psychological effects and for indoor air purification.

Sitting in a garden, early morning with a simmering hot cup of tea gives one immense pleasure. Most of the times diseases get cured, by living in a clean environment and getting appropriate food. Nowadays, I think, living a simple life is tough when we get accustomed to busy city life.
Nowadays we have less space to grow plants. In spite of having the interest to grow plants, people living in apartments don’t have sufficient space to cultivate this hobby of gardening. But don’t get disheartened! If there is a will there is always a way towards it.

We can go for terracotta pots or plastic hangings or metal pots and start up with little plants. The trick lies in selecting the appropriate size of pots. They should not consume the space but should fit in the place and beautify the place. According to growth of the plant, we have to decide the size of the pot.  We have to ensure them ample sunlight. Generally, people prefer growing some vegetable plants or flower plants. How nice would it be if we could grow tomatoes or onions cauliflower, peas ,coriander, pudina (mint) etc! We can eat the vegetables grown in our own kitchen garden.
But quite a few times one may not be knowing the right way to grow those plants. One tries to do gardening in some random way but it won’t work. At this point, one loses interest in gardening.

By choosing the good quality soil for plants and treating it with organic fertilizer a dream of having a kitchen garden can be achieved. And even beautiful flowers can bloom in our garden.
In today’s world, we can get anything and everything in the market. In bigger cities, people can get the gardening materials which they need from the markets or retail shops. But when it comes to smaller cities, there is less possibility of finding the materials which they need. Now the question arises, where can we get the required materials?

The Internet has made this world smaller and easily accessible to anything and everything. You can order the required gardening materials online. There are many websites or online shopping forums where you can purchase the required materials. Online one gets many equipments and different attractive pots and of course various articles through which one can move ahead in developing one’s garden.
We can grow the vegetables and greens which we come across in our day to day life. Some may require a lot of shade and some may require sunlight. Depending upon the nature of the soil you have to select the appropriate type of plants. For instance, if your place has black soil, it will be rich in calcium and potassium. So you can grow Ladies finger, brinjal and fruits like watermelon. You can also use coco peat for growing plants. It is the substitute for soil. It has a potential of holding a lot of water inside. It is available online. There are some plants which can be grown in all seasons. For instance, Rose and Hibiscus can be grown in all the seasons. But other plants are seasonal. They grow only in a particular season. For instance, flowering of Jasmine starts during March–April and continues up to June–July. April – May is the peak season. We can go for Petunia, Salvia, Dahlia, Marigold in winters and Sunflower, Daisy, Coreopsis, Yarrow etc.

GERMINATION OF SEEDS

Germination is a stage where a seed turns into a plant. Most of the seeds germinate inside the soil. But some of the seeds can be germinated in the presence moisture. The most common example for germination is sprouting. If you soak green peas in water for few hours, it will be sprouted. This has to be sown in the soil for the further growth. Then arises a question how to sow the seed?
A Few easy tips…..

1. Poke the soil approximately to 2inch which forms a small hole.
2. Place the seed inside it and close it with soil and sprinkle a little bit of water.
3. Keep sprinkling the water once in 2 days. Within few weeks we can see the germination.
4. Maintain constant moisture in the soil.

Do not over water. If the leaves turn yellow, it is the indication of over watering. Even if the top layer of soil looks dry, there is usually moisture inside. Use watering can to water the plants. We can make our own watering can from used plastic bottles.

Some seeds germinate within a week but others need more time. For instance, Methi seeds take 2-4 days to in while coriander seeds take about 2-3 weeks to germinate.
If we bought saplings directly and willing to plant it, we have to dig the soil depending on the size of its roots. The roots must completely be buried in the soil. For example if we plant Radish or carrot We have to be careful while putting seeds or saplings .While planting potatoes we have to cut it into halves before putting it into soil. Every plant has its own way and with experience we can gradually learn things to become better in gardening.

We need to water it once in 2 days in winters. And regularly in summers.

TYPES OF POTS

If we have enough space it is well and good to grow the plants. But if we are living in an apartment and planning to grow plants, it is suggested to select a right type of pots and right size of pots. Terracotta pots are considered to be the best option to grow plants. As they have tiny pores in it, the roots get more air to breathe. It allows air and water to pass through the walls and promotes healthy plants by staving off root rot and disease caused by overwatering. It maintains the moisture level inside it. In spite of having these advantages, it has its own limitation. It is fragile when compared to other types of pots.
The next best type of pot is metal pot. This may not have the advantages as Terracotta pots. When compared to terracotta pots, the roots cannot grow freely in metal pots. But the pot can be recycled. This won’t harm the environment as it doesn’t contain any chemicals in it. We can purchase metal pots of different size and different designs such as hanging pots, railing pots, tabletop pots etc.,
We can also have cement pots. But it has its own disadvantage. These pots are heavy and cannot be transported from one place to another easily.
The next type of pot is plastic pot. This may not be a better suggestion but can be an option. The roots cannot grow as freely as in terracotta pots here. Moreover, plastic pots are not eco-friendly. You can also use growbags for growing plants.

Although every type of pot has its own limitations, they all help in maintaining the greenery around you and also beautify your place.

MAINTAINING PLANTS

Compared to the regular crops, the kitchen gardens doesn’t require much maintenance. We can use the food waste and the plant waste as fertilizer by the process of composting. We can purchase composter bins which help you in preparing the organic compost in your household. Avoid using any chemical fertilizer. If we find any pests eating leaves or affecting plants, then we can use neem oil as an organic pesticide. We have to dilute the Neem oil in water for example in 1 litre 5 to 6 drops of neem oil and spray it on the plants. Do not use any chemical pesticide on it.
Different flowers need different compost like Neemkhali and Sarsonkhali we can mix them in a earthen pot in water decompose it and when it’s given to Dahlia it works wonders. Flower size gets double. Haddichura works in case of marigold. Cow dung manure when mixed with these manure given to plants as well as vegetables it helps in their growth as well as we get bog flowers and healthy good variety vegetables.
Ample of water is to be given after giving manure so that it gets penetrate into its roots through soil. And always these are given few centimetres far from roots of plants otherwise it may harm the plants. Sometimes more manures can burn their roots and plant may die. With daily practice one can do gardening more efficiently. When we get a fresh flower or fruit or vegetable from our own hard work really it’s priceless and words are not enough to express the feeling that one will get.

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