The most undervalued practice – Mulching!

We discussed mulching about a year back! When I started studying mulching, I realized it is one of the most important practices of Gardening/Farming.

Mulching is nothing but covering the soil around your plants with organic matter; mainly dried leaves.

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Covering the top layer of soil with dried leaves prevents sunlight from entering the soil. So the first and direct benefit is reduction in loss of water due to evaporation. Thereby reducing the need to frequently water the plants. (Well… we all know this.. so whats new?, you’re asking!)

While this was a common understanding, the lesser known fact is that, the organic matter (dried leaves in our example) also entraps the moisture from atmosphere, thereby keeping the soil moist. Hence there is a drastic reduction in both the frequency and quantity of water required to be supplied.

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The third crucial benefit is that since it prevents sunlight from reaching the soil, it also prevents weeds from growing. Hence there is no depletion of nutrients from the soil.

We know that a healthy soil is a one which has a high level of microbial and insect activity. Now, there is a particular environment that these microbes love, that is, the darkness and humidity. And mulching exactly does that. It creates the required darkness by blocking sunlight and an ideal humidity level by entrapping moisture. This enhances the microbial activity in the soil manifold!

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The last one, the leaves that are used for mulching, decompose over a period of time and act as a great nutrient for plant growth. So the plants have enough nutrients because they don’t have to compete with weeds and there is a continuous supply from the leaves.

Mulching indeed is one of the most undervalued gardening and farming practice!

Disclaimer: The images used in this post do not belong to reemasgarden.com
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Which Veges to grow?

I am often asked, what are the best vegetables to grow at home/balcony/terrace? Well, all!!

So how do you go about deciding which vegetables do you want to grow?

Firstly, always factor in your interest and preference!

Secondly, the season. There are many veges that grow throughout the year but there are also equal number of them who prefer a particular season!

Thirdly, consider the available space in your balcony/terrace.

Now comes the biggest challenge – You’ve a list of 10-15 veges which grow well in a particular season, you’ve enough space for them and you like them as well. So now how do you choose?

CucumbersAlways remember, if it is your first time, things may not workout exactly the way you want them to. So always go the conservative way. Imagine you can harvest a very little quantity everyday. So what would you do with it? I’ll illustrate.

  • What if you harvest just one cucumber? Nothing wrong with it as you can eat it right away or you can use it in a salad with few other veges.

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  • Now, what if you harvest only 5-6 okra in a day and next ones would be ready for harvest only after a week. What would you do? All my south Indian readers are going – we will use in Sambar or in morkutaan!! 😉 😛 Well so if you can use a very little quantity of okra efficiently, go for it or else just reject it!

 

  • Similarly with beans – What if you harvested just 5-6 pods of french beans? You can probably use it in fried rice/vegetable pulav/Biryani.

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  • But what if you harvest just 5-6 pods of broad beans or cluster beans? How would you use them? Well I don’t have an idea so I would reject such veges. But if you know how to use them, go for it!!

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Now, before you decide to plant any particular vegetable, ask yourself, What would you do with an small harvest? Save yourself the pain of growing the veges and then not able to use them properly!! 🙂

Happy Gardening 🙂

Potatoes!

I know its not the right season to sow potatoes but this post aims to make you ready well before the season arrives! 🙂

Growing potatoes is pretty different from growing an eggplant or a tomato! So here’s how we do it!

Step 1: Select the potatoes with shoots!

Step 2: You can use the whole of a potato or just cut the portion of the potato with shoot and use it.

Step 3: Fill the soil(mixed with compost) in a bag. There are many Planting Bags or Grow Bags available. If you don’t wish to purchase one, use a gunny sack or a big cloth/plastic bag! There are many advantages of using a bag instead of a container to grow potatoes. The most important one being ease of harvesting. However if you’re not comfortable you can choose to grow your potatoes in a container. Just ensure that the container or pot is big enough.

Step 4: Plant the potato with shoots in the bag.

Step 5: Now just regularly water the plant and enjoy them growing

Step 6: Potatoes have very beautiful leaves and act as a great decor

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Step 7: Have a look at the flowers!

Step 8: Potatoes take from 8 weeks to 14 weeks to grow. You can dig in slightly to find out how well they are growing!

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Step 9: Harvest it! Just pick up the bag and empty it! Take out all your potatoes! Many people like small potatoes so they harvest them a bit early. For those of you who like big potatoes harvest them only when they have fully grown!

Note: For all my friends in India: Start around mid-November! You’ll know it instinctively as all the potatoes in basket will start developing shoots! 🙂

HAPPY GARDENING! 🙂

Abracadabra… It’s Okra!

Hello Friends! Welcome to a new DIY project! This time it’s Ok .. Ok.. Okra… (I know it was pathetic and nowhere close to La La Land) 😛

Let’s go for it! Okra is as simple as Egg Plant. You just have to sow the seed and water it regularly. I know as usual you’re going ‘I don’t think it’s that simple!’ Well then, you have to try it!

Step I: Here are the okra/bhindi/lady’s finger seeds. To sow them just spread them and press them slightly. Do not dig them inside the soil. Just pressing them little is fine. And even that is optional.

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This image does not belong to Reema’s Garden

Step II: Water them regularly.

Step III: Do nothing. The seeds will germinate in 3-4 days.

You can see the first flower within a month!

Step IV: Enjoy your harvest! 🙂 You can have your first harvest by 45 days. Similar to egg plant and tomato the flower will make way for the fruit. Here’s a look at the developing stages of Okra

Note: One very good thing about the Okra plant is that it has very small roots. So you can plant many plants in one single pot. So any size of pot starting from 4 inches is great for growing okra!

Easiest Plant To Plant… The Eggplant!

Hello Friends, Bloggers, Writers, Photographers, Gardeners and Farmers..!! Missed you all so much!! Can’t believe it’s been more than 6 months since I last posted an article. By the way, my last article was on tomato; did you try it?

If you ever thought that tomato was a bit cumbersome task with planting and replanting; here comes the most easiest  plant to plant! The Eggplant!! 🙂

Believe me when I say, you have to do nothing for growing this plant. Just spread the seeds on the soil and its over..!! You don’t believe me right? Lets go step by step.

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You need a pot which is at least 6 inches in-depth. That’s how long the roots grow. Bigger than that is great but not smaller than that!

Fill it with mud. Now spread the seeds on the soil. Please don’t press or dig them into the soil.. Sowing methods are different for different seeds.. The easiest one is to scatter/spread them on the soil.  This is how the seeds look…

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This image does not belong to Reema’s garden.

Now sprinkle some water on the seeds.

Keep sprinkling water 2-3 times a day for next one week. Also (if possible) do not place the pot in direct sunlight.

The seeds take around 4-7 days to germinate.

The fun begins now!!


As you must have noticed these are very young plants. You just have to water them regularly and keep adding compost every 10-15 days.

The Buds start to appear in a month’s time. Have a look.

Once the buds develop, you’ll soon have flowers. They are really beautiful flowers. Mesmerizing indeed!

Once you have the flowers, the flowers will slowly wither and make the way for the fruit. Here’s a look.

And then you have the fruit.. Yaayyyy!!!

That’s it! HAPPY Gardening!! Ending this post with my favorite Pic.

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LA TOMATINA

Tomatoes are the easiest plants to grow. They grow very fast and You don’t have to worry about pollination!! 😀 🙂  Your Tomatoes are ready in just 3 months!! So let’s start.. 🙂

Take a pot that is longer and wider in shape.

Fill the pot with mud

Add little water to make the soil moist

Now spread the tomato seeds on the soil. Please don’t press or dig them into the soil.. Sowing methods are different for different seeds.. The easiest one is to scatter/spread them on the soil.  This is how the seeds look…

Now sprinkle some water on the seeds

Keep sprinkling water 2-3 times a day for next one week. Also (if possible) do not place the pot in direct sunlight.

The seeds take around 4-7 days to germinate.

The fun begins now!!

After the saplings have grown 7-10 inches its time to separate them and replant them in bigger pots/containers.

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It will take around 20-30 days for your plants be this tall. When you notice your plant growing more than 8 inches know that its time to replant them. These are the tomato saplings that I made for my friends and relatives. 🙂

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Fill these pots with soil and compost. Plant the saplings minimum six inches below the surface. Now this is the crux. If you plant the sapling just 3-4 inches beneath the surface you’re going face a lot of problems later on.

The tomato stems tend to develop roots on them. So the roots keep growing along the stem and if you have planted the sapling just three inches under the soil.. The plant is going to tilt & bend and it will need a lot of support.

So the only highlight point of this post is plant the saplings minimum 6 inches under the surface!!!

And then all you got to do is wait and watch. Water them regularly. Keep adding compost once in 15-20 days. And in just three months you’ll have your tomatoes!! No more buying tomatoes from market 🙂

That reminds me, we all have different consumption rates when it comes to tomatoes but a general norm says you need to have 3 plants per family member in order to not buy any tomatoes from the market!

Have a look at the beautiful tomato flowers..

Baby tomatoes…

Fully Grown Raw tomatoes

Raw, Semi-ripe and Ripe Tomatoes

And the last one is me with my little tomato plants (they all are really huge now) ;)!!

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And This one’s for you….

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Let’s Have Some Fun.. Let’s start Farming :)

DIY Project 1: Growing Coriander/Parsley/Celery

If you have never grown anything at home… Coriander is the best to start with! The advantage of coriander is that they germinate easily and quickly and are ready in 20-30 days. Quick results and low (rather no) maintenance make it the best one to start with!!

So let’s start

You need a small pot, soil, Coriander seeds and some water!! That’s it!!

Fill the pot with mud

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Coriander Seeds..!! 🙂

Add little water to make the soil moist

Now spread the coriander seeds on the soil. Please don’t press or dig them into the soil.. Sowing methods are different for different seeds.. The easiest one is to scatter/spread them on the soil.

Now sprinkle some water on the seeds

Keep sprinkling water 2-3 times a day for next one week. Also (if possible) do not place the pot in direct sunlight.

The seeds take around 4-7 days to germinate.

After one week of sowing it is enough if you water them just once in a day.

In another 20 days your coriander is ready 🙂

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I love this image! Can you notice the bigger leaves in them? They are spinach. Oh You got it right.. Its the naughty sparrow’s Job !!

P.S : Please don’t use the seeds available with the grocer which are used in cooking. They’ll germinate but will not give you the desired outcome..!!