Go Indigenous!!

The first time I heard the word Indigenous (with reference to plants) I knew for sure they were referring to the genus of plants originating in India!! Well, I did realize that I should refer a dictionary and not come up with my own interpretations!!

So what is Indigenous? Indigenous means originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native. (To me, who stay’s in India, the misinterpretation and correct interpretation didn’t really make a difference though 😉 )

So, Why should we go for Indigenous plants?

Because only and only indigenous plants help you attract the fauna!! By fauna, I mean, the birds, bees and other insects!

So how do we identify these native plants?

The simplest and most useful trick I use here in India – I check if there is a name for the plant in local language. If the local language has a name for the plant it definitely is a local/native/indigenous plant.

If I know only the English and/or Botanical name of the plant, I know its not indigenous to India or my State!

Gardener’s Confession: Yes, I do have a few plants that are not indigenous, but a majority of them are Indigenous!! 🙂 😉 🙂

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Is Relocation the reason?

Is Relocation the reason you aren’t Gardening?

Is it your Work that makes you relocate often? Or may be it is your studies? Or may be it is just you! We all relocate for many a reasons. But all I want to tell you is don’t let the relocation ruin your Garden plans! It is feasible to move your garden to your new home but you may not want to do so for many reasons like:

  • You don’t know if the new home has enough space for all your plants
  • You’re not sure if you can dedicate the time and effort that the garden requires since a new place comes with its new set of demands
  • You’re not sure about the climatic conditions of the new place
  • You believe that – It is best to have local(indigenous/native) plants.

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To put it briefly, you’re expecting to move to a new place in another 3 to 12 months. Hence you’re not willing to start a Garden at your current place. Here are a few things you can definitely try: 

Option #1: Rent a plant 

There are many plant libraries, which function just like book libraries. You can rent a plant (or few plants) for a week to a month depending on your subscription and preference.

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Option #2: Go for Annuals

An annual plant is a plant that completes its life cycle, from germination to the production of seed, within one year, and then dies. Summer annuals sprout, flower, produce seed, and die, during the warmer months of the year. Winter annuals germinate in autumn or winter, live through the winter, then bloom in winter or spring. ( Source – Wikipedia)

In short, go for short-lived plants. These plants live only for 4-12 months. Hence are desirable as they would fade out naturally by the time you have to relocate.

Option #3 Go for Grow Bags

Grow bags cost less than half the cost of pots/planters/containers. They are very light weight which makes them easy to carry. On relocation, you can easily fold your grow bags, put them in carry bag and take them along. So they are Cheap, light-weight and flexible. Since they are cheap, you also have an option to dispose them off!! Click on the image to know more.

Option #4: Grow Your Own Food

Almost all the vegetables are annuals. And by vegetables, I also mean all those fruit plants which are commonly considered as vegetables. So whether it is gourds, beans, peppers, peas or lettuce; they are all annuals. And the list is never ending. It is also a great idea to have an herb garden since herbs mostly fall into annual category.

If you’ve any queries you can put them in comment section below or contact me here.

Let nothing stand in the way of You and Your Garden!

Happy Gardening 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Your Garden does not need additional water!

Surprising as it may seem you can manage your Garden very efficiently with the existing quantity of water usage. Garden by no means is demanding, especially when it comes to water! So whether you’re facing a water crunch or you believe in water conservation, these tricks will definitely help you save water.

#1 Always Mulch the Soil: Mulching helps to prevent water evaporation from the soil thereby requiring less water. To know more about Mulching click here.

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#2 Use Fresh Cow-dung: Cow dung is excellent to prevent water evaporation and keep the soil well hydrated. Mix 1kg of cow-dung in 5 liters of water and use it to water the plants. This acts as excellent compost, mulch and water retention technique. You can also try making amrutjal. Click here to know more about amrutjal. (Disclaimer : Please do not use fresh cow dung in monsoon/rainy season. The moisture in the soil combined with humidity in the atmosphere will lead to fungal growth.)

#3 Water from Mopping the Floor: It is a great idea to Mop the floor with plain water (without any chemical floor cleaners) and then use it for watering the plants.

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#4 Water from washing clothes: You may not be aware but there are many 100% eco-friendly detergents available in the market. So you can use the water that drains out after washing/rinsing the clothes and use it for watering the plants. In fact its a great idea to connect your washing Machine’s drainage pipe to another smaller pipe that leads directly to your garden or pots.

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#5 Water from Washing Your Fruits & Vegetables: It is a great idea to wash your fruits, vegetables and other food items like cereals and pulses in a container and use the same for watering the plants.

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These are my top 5 water saving techniques. Please add your ideas in the comment section below!

Happy Gardening 🙂

 

 

 

Inexpensive Gardening – Part 1 – Pots & Containers

Idea Number 5: Use some old buckets or paint buckets! I know this is the most common idea. But it is one of the best ideas as well.

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This Photo does not belong to Reemasgarden.

Idea Number 4: Plastic Bottles: Don’t underestimate the power of a plastic bottle. It is one of the most important tools in gardening! You can cut open a plastic bottle as shown in the picture below and use it for growing anything ranging from Coriander to spinach to fenugreek and many more. The pictures would give you a better idea! I’ll soon be coming up with an entire article dedicated to the plastic bottles!

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Cut Open the bottles from the center as shown in the picture. Create small holes underneath for outflow of excess water.
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I had planted coriander!  Click here to view an article on how to grow coriander!

Idea Number 3: Use any container/tiffin box from your kitchen! Yes our kitchen has too many plastic containers that are either old or slightly cracked. Instead of disposing them use them as pots!

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This was a plastic box in which we got our ice-cream. So Instead of disposing it, I chose to use it in my garden for small plants.

Idea Number 2: Use a cardboard box! Our house is loaded with cardboard cartons. Just give them a plastic coating from inside and use them. Yes I can hear you asking “Will it hold? Will stay in the long run?” The answer is “NO! It wont stay in the long run. But it will stay long enough for you to experiment and know whether you’re liking gardening! Once you know you’re good at it and you’re enjoying the process there is no harm in making some capital investment in form of pots and containers!!

I had this huge cardboard box so I just covered with plastic from inside and voila!! I had my raised bed ready! Free of cost. This box contained 9 eggplants. Just be careful about one thing when you’re using a cardboard box. Don’t relocate it. Just let it stay fixed in a place. Lifting it or moving it may cause damage to the box as it is just a cardboard!You can similarly use a shoe box!

When you place the lid under the box, it makes the box even stronger and if the height of the box is six inches you can plant any plant. If shorter than 6 inches, choose a smaller plant.

Idea Number 1: Use the existing Containers effectively! The following are the pots that contain rose plants. I used them to grow fenugreek and even Okra! You can experiment with more plants!!

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Okra in a rose pot! Click here to know how to grow an Okra in your Balcony!

Do you find Gardening Expensive?

Lets talk Money!
Do you find Gardening expensive?
Many people assume that Gardening is very expensive as it involves expenditure on
  1. Pots or Containers
  2. Gardening Tools
  3. Compost/Fertilizers/Manures/Pesticide/Insecticide
  4. Seeds
  5. Miscellaneous items like Garden decoration and lighting, etc
Click on any of the above points to know the various methods of making Gardening Economical rather almost free..!!
Stay Subscribed! 🙂

Understanding Seeds

A lot of videos that I have seen online recommend using seeds from our kitchen for planting, especially when it comes to vegetable seeds. But before you do this, just understand the two basic types of seeds.

Type I: Open Pollinated or Traditional method: “Open pollinated” generally refers to seeds that will “breed true.” When the plants of an open-pollinated variety self-pollinate, or are pollinated by another representative of the same variety, the resulting seeds will produce plants roughly identical to their parents.

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Type II : Hybrid Seeds: Hybrid seed is a seed produced by cross-pollinated plants. Hybrids are chosen to improve the characteristics of the resulting plants, such as better yield, greater uniformity, improved color, disease resistance, etc. An important factor is the heterosis or combining ability of the parent plants. But the most important point to note is that the seeds of the next generation from those hybrids will not consistently have the desired characteristics.

Hence I request you to take into consideration the fact that most of the vegetables that we purchase today belong to the Hybrid category. Using seeds from such vegetables may or may not result in production of the vegetables of the desired characteristics. It is best to buy seeds from a trusted source/Brand. However if you’re experimenting, I think using seeds from kitchen is a great way to learn without spending much 🙂

Note: Please do not confuse hybrid seeds with genetically modified seeds. Genetically modified seeds are absolutely different category of seeds. Hybrid seeds are good and do not have any harmful qualities.

Disclaimer: None of the images in this post belong to Reema’s Garden!

UNDERSTANDING STRESS

cropped-dsc00532.jpgLike any being on this planet, plants too have three major requirements:

  1. Air
  2. Water
  3. Nutrients

All of the above should be available to the plant in the soil. I repeat, the SOIL should contain adequate amount of air, water and nutrients for the roots to absorb and grow.

Inadequacy of any of these leads to STRESS thereby resulting in a not-so-healthy plant. Hence it is a gardener’s prime duty to ensure that the plants receive all of these. This can be ensured only when one understands and studies the types of soil thoroughly.

Don’t worry!! I had assured you that I’ll not be using any technical terms nor will I get too deep into the technicalities! The following is a simplified version of soil study!

Soil is majorly classified into three categories:

  1. Clay soil
  2. Sandy soil
  3. Loam soil

This is a simplified classification. The rest of the soil types are nothing but different proportions of clay, sand and silt!!

Going 100% Organic

By Organic, I mean 0% use of any chemicals. Making our garden chemical-free. Chemicals are mainly used in fertilizers and pesticides.

I believe in going 100% natural i.e. organic. I will be explaining in detail about organic compost and composting techniques in my upcoming articles.

We will now understand what happens when we use chemical fertilizers:

Chemical fertilizers once mixed with the soil do give the desired output. However they destroy the microbial ecosystem (microbes and other organic life like insects and fungi) that live within the soil. With destruction of the organic life, the soil slowly turns impotent and becomes dependent on these chemical fertilizers forever.

From the plants’ perspective, growing in such chemically treated soil, the plants develop a very weak immune system and are not in a position to resist pests! They get affected immediately by the pests and diseases!! To protect such weak plants from pests they are further sprayed with hazardous chemical pesticides and insecticides. These pesticides along with killing the pests also kill the honeybees and other useful insects that help in pollination.

Going 100% organic is the first step towards sustainable living. With growing awareness, there are lot of organic manure and pesticide available in the market. We can easily use these instead of the chemical ones. In my upcoming articles, I’ll be discussing in detail about composting and fighting pests in an organic way!!

How to begin

If you have any space in and around your house which receives sunlight for at least 3 hours in a day, is an ideal place to start.

A balcony/ open terrace/ window grill are ideal places to start!

 

If you do not have a space constraint, I would suggest you start with one or two Rose plants. Rose plants require a pot size of minimum 6 inches and a maximum of 10 inches. It is best to choose a Rose plant with strong stem formation. Rose is a sturdy perennial plant.  It flowers throughout all seasons.

If you have a space constraint where in you cannot fit in big plants like Rose, I would suggest you to go for small flowering plants like Chrysanthemum and Marigold (dwarf variety) in a pot size of 3-4inches.

Flowering plants are the best ones to start with as they require very low maintenance as well as they give us lot of scope to learn.

The plants need to be watered regularly (daily). Different plants have different water requirements. Excessive watering creates equal stress on a plant as inadequate watering. I will be discussing about different plant stresses in detail in my upcoming articles.