Orange Red Lantana at Reema's Garden

Flower Garden – Part XI – Lantana

If you want a plant that needs no care, no pruning, not much composting, yet all season flowers.. Opt for Lantana! 😀 😀 😀

Well I just gave you all the reasons, didn’t I? Now what do I write in the rest of the post? 😛 😛 😛

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Lantanas are small bunch flowers available in various colors and shades of Red, yellow, orange, violet, blue, white. etc

Butterflies love Lantana. You must have noticed these flowers alongside the roads/highways. They often crop up on their own and many times are classified as weeds!

These are seriously no care – no maintenance plants. So go.. get them 🙂 😀 🙂

When I say not much composting, what I am suggesting is, you can add compost in an interval of 75-90 days i.e just once in every 2-3 months. Also, I am assuming you’re potting your own plant. Click here to know how to pot your plant.

Happy Gardening 🙂

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An Ideal Farm – Part I

All the posts in the featured series talk particularly about Indian Agriculture Scenario.

We all dream about an ideal farm.. Ideal way of doing agriculture.. and then we just shun the thought thinking its just a dream.. Well.. I just decided to give it more thought and pursue it through..

An ideal farm is a farm that at first addresses all the drawbacks/concerns of current farms/system and secondly, adds value to the whole system, thereby making it an all together new system.

So when I wanted to conceptualize my new farm there were four major concerns that I wanted to address. The Photos to your left talk about the concerns and the photos to the right talk about the solutions. Click on the images for description:

  1. Fragmented Land Holdings

2. Labor oriented

3. Infertile soil due to Excessive/prolonged use of chemical Fertilizers.

4. Inadequate/Poor marketing of the produce.

Yes, you got it right. So we are talking about a fully mechanized farm which is huge in size (runs right till the horizon.. or at least I imagine it that way) carrying on organic/natural farming and supplying organic produce directly to consumers!

More about it in next post!

Happy Gardening! Happy Farming!

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!! 🙂 😉 🙂

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 🙂

 

 

 

Fighting Pests

I have a very different approach when it comes to fighting pests. I believe, if your plants are healthy, they have a strong resistance towards pests. However if you have NOT been regular with adding your compost, the plants turn weak due to reduced supply of nutrients; thereby having a lower immunity which makes them vulnerable to attacks by Pests.

So the Golden rule is to keep your plant healthy with regular supply of compost. I believe in curing the infected plant by giving plants additional dose of Compost.

Rule No.2 says don’t have same plants besides each other. Different plants attract different pests. So if the same plants are not positioned next to each other, there is a very rare chance of spreading the pests. So only one of the plant gets infected.

Rule No 3: Wait patiently for the plant to fight the pest on its own. Human intervention is not always required.

Rule No 4: Take special care during change of season. Plants are mostly attacked by pests when there is a change of season. So in the last month of a particular season, add generous quantity of compost than you usually do. This enables plants to fight the stress caused by the changing season and the pests.

Rule No 5: In case you want to use any pesticide, use an organic one! Cow urine, Neem Extract and Sour Buttermilk are great pesticides!!

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! 🙂

Inexpensive Gardening – Part 3 – Compost

Over a period of time I have spoken a lot about organic composting and even experimented a lot with them. Here’s a quick recap to all the Composting Ideas!

  1. Cow Dung & Cow Urine always stand at number one position when it comes to compost. To read more about application of manure click here.
  2. Dry leaves are the second best option as they are carbon-rich! To know more about how to use dry leaves as manure click here.
  3. Potassium and Phosphorous are the two vital minerals required for flowering and fruiting. Use all the fruit and vegetable peels from your kitchen. You can also add ash if you find it. To know more about plant requirements click here.
  4. To keep them safe from pests keep them well nourished! A well nourished plant has a good resistance towards pests and rarely gets infected.
  5. Another most crucial thing, to keep the plants safe from pest, is to grow them in right season. I’ll soon come up with an article on seasonal and Perennial Plants!
  6. Mulching is the best way to keep the soil hydrated and prevent it from developing cracks and losing nutrients. To know more about mulching click here.

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! 🙂

Sneak Peek!

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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!