Common Gardening Mistakes !!!

Remember the first time when you decided to a cook a dish? only to realise later that the water quantity was not adequate or you confused salt with sugar! You made these mistakes because you were a novice and every new journey is marked by an initial failure that teaches you to not repeat those mistakes again.

Similarly, those of you who have just started gardening, are bound to make some mistakes. You must have realised that maintaining a garden is not a simple activity but something that demands you to be observant and attentive to the growing needs of your plant.

This article will take you through many gardening faux pas you can avoid and will train you to become a meticulous gardener.

Here are a few tips that will guide you on how to avoid common gardening mistakes.

THERE SHOULD BE ENOUGH SPACE BETWEEN SEEDS & PLANTS.

  • The number of seeds should be bought based on the space you have for planting these in your garden. What’s the use of buying surplus seeds if space is a constraint? It’s not just about the measurements of the garden but the spacing between the seeds too, so when your plants grow they should not look like they are competing for space! Always start with your gardening adventure in a small plot to gain experience. Overcrowding will also result in insufficient air circulation and hinder the full potential of the plants. As they say, small and steady steps lead to success.

SEEDS BOUGHT SHOULD ADAPT TO SOIL

  • For beginners who are sprightly and always passionate, the dream is to have a grand garden. In an attempt to turn their vision into a reality they tend to purchase plant seeds that are not only way too many but may also be completely hostile to the soil in your garden. Hence, instead of going on berserk with you choices, first carefully assess the soil type and choose the plants carefully. Planting exotic varieties that won’t grow in your weather would just result in the seed failing.

DON’T PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER

  • Don’t overdo. Flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, shrubs whatever caught your fancy in the garden shop you purchased it without much pondering. To make matter worse you have planted them all together. This will not just augment your workload of providing individual attention to each of them but spoil the aesthetics too.

PREPARING THE SOIL RIGHT

  • The soil is the base for your plants to grow and without a healthy soil the plants will starve for nutrition. Prepare the soil before planting the seeds. The soil should be a good mix of coco peat/ peat moss, garden soil and compost/ manure. The soil should be airy and should offer good drainage.

SUNLIGHT SHOULD BE JUST RIGHT

  • Some plants will always require more sunlight than the others. This poses the issue of positioning your seeds in the correct space of the garden where there won’t be a paucity of generous sunlight.

sunlight on plants

DEPTH OF PLANTING SEEDS

  • Planting seeds too deep or shallow is something that you should take care of.  Seeds which are large in size, demand greater space than the ones with smaller size. If large seeds are planted too shallow, then they will dry out at a quicker pace. On the other hand, small seeds planted at a greater depth will fail to sprout.

DON’T OVER WATER OR UNDERWATER

Watering the plants

  • Let your enthusiasm not come in the way of deciding the water quantity for plants. Over watering or under watering both will stall the growth of plants. Moreover, do save water in your garden. The idea of gardening is to strike a harmony with nature.

SAY NO TO WEEDS 

  • Get rid of the weeds when they are at a nascent stage. Allowing the weeds to grow will cripple the growth of the plant as the weeds consume all the essential nutrients.

GO ORGANIC

  • Adopt organic mulching with the likes of straw, dry leaves or grass clipping. This keeps a check on weeds that are about to develop and also retains the soil moisture. The root area remains cool with this and also receives a steady diet of nutrients while the mulch meets its decaying end. Avoid using grass hay as it in itself initiates weed growth.

KEEP YOUR GARDEN BUG-FREE

  • Garden pests and critters that eat at your hard-earned vegetables and flowers can frustrate even the most patient of gardeners.Practicing proper pest control is one of the leading ways to keep your garden both disease and pest free. When you find harmful insects in your garden, the best way to deter them is to invite good insects into it. These beneficial insects will eat the harmful insects.
  • Consider attracting bugs such as:
    • Ladybugs
    • Praying mantis
    • Lacewings
    • Honeybee
    • Dragonflies etc.

Well then, what do you think? Have you made some of these mistakes while gardening?

Feel free to share your experiences for us all to learn from!

Hope this gave you a new approach for your gardening. A good way to avoid mistakes while gardening is to consult a seasoned gardener and the best way is to keep yourself updated through GreenMyLife blogs 🙂

Happy error-free gardening folks!

Happy-gardening

 

tejas.rane7@gmail.com'

Grow Your Own Pumpkins !

A mix of vibrant pumpkin varieties is a valuable staple in your kitchen garden!

Pumpkin is one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow. If you have space in your garden for them, they are a relatively maintenance free. Pumpkin vines grow best in a location with lots of sunlight and good air circulation.

Did you know Pumpkins are also famous during Halloween? 

Modern Halloween comes from the Irish festival Samhain. Tradition dictated huge bonfires built in fields, and it was believed that fairy spirits lurked in the shadows. To distract these spirits from settling into houses and farms, people would carve rudimentary faces into large turnips, and set candles inside. 

As pumpkin carving grew into a multi-million dollar industry, American farmers began to examine the specific types of pumpkins they grew, and breed new lines of squash specifically for carving. Massachusetts farmer John Howden developed the Howden pumpkin in the 1960s, and it is still the most popular carving pumpkin in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Pumpkin? 

In Hindi Pumpkin is called as Kadoo. Pumpkins come in unique shapes, sizes and hues and have diverse flavors. They are a rich source of Vitamin A, potassium and fibre. 

Where to grow Pumpkins?

Ideally grown on the edge of a garden bed where it receives adequate sunlight. As with most plants, they thrive in loose, well-drained soil and under direct sunlight which allows the fruit to ripen evenly. 

Add neem cake or neem solution to the soil a week before planting. Mix organic matter, wood ash and well-rotted manure into the soil.

The mound should be about 8-12 inches high and around 2 feet circumference at the base. This can also be done on a long raised ridge with the same proportions. Though they are considered monsoon crops, pumpkins can be grown throughout the year — successive planting will provide a steady supply of fruits.

How to sow Pumpkin seeds?

Soak the seeds in warm water for a day to promote germination. The seeds can be started in a nursery and shifted later, but for best results sow directly in prepared beds. If they are to be planted on flat ground, keep a distance of atleast 3 feet for the vines to spread out. For raised soil, flatten the top of the heap and press the seeds an inch deep — 3 seeds per mound or 3 feet apart if it is on a ridge. For terrace gardens, use large deep troughs with at least 1.5 feet depth and sow 2 seeds in each.

How to care for Pumpkins?

Once the seeds have sprouted, restrict weed growth around the seedlings with an organic mulch of leaves or grass cuttings. Remove weak seedlings at this stage. As the long vines supply nutrition to the plants, they should be well-maintained by trimming dead leaves and weak side vines. 

Watering is best done early morning or in the evening, preferably by drip tubes which supply water directly to the roots; excess water on the leaves can cause powdery mildew. 

Protect against aphids, ants and other pests by spraying with a neem solution; peppermint solution is another insect repellent which can be sprayed once a week. Look for squash bugs under the leaves and remove them by hand. 

Once the flowers appear, sprinkle wood ash around the plant on alternate weeks to supply potash. Pumpkins produce male and female flowers on the same plant and are naturally pollinated by insects. To ensure this, pollination can be done manually.

Identify the flowers — the female flower has a small fruit at the base and the male is distinguishable by its absence. Rub the male flower over the female flower to transfer pollen. This will increase chances of healthy well-proportioned vegetables.

Female flower

How to harvest Pumpkin?

Most pumpkin varieties can be harvested after three months, when the fruit has ripened on the vine. Pumpkins are ready to harvest when the stem has started to dry and the skin of the pumpkin begins to harden. Remove from the vine leaving about an inch stem.If the stem breaks, the pumpkin won’t cure or store well.

That’s all you need to know about growing pumpkins in your kitchen garden. Pumpkin has so many uses in the kitchen so learning how to grow pumpkins successfully will be truly rewarding experience.

Happy Halloween!

Happy-gardening

How to make your own seed bombs ?

What is a seed ball/seed bomb ?

Seed bombs/seed balls are a fun and effective way of re-seeding depleted landscapes where you reintroduce. Seed bombs are usually small balls of about 1-3 inch diameter – made of clay, potting soil or compost and seeds. Once they have been made, and dried for 24-48 hours – they are then either sown or more commonly “thrown” across land which needs new flora. Perhaps throw them on the land on the side of highways or barren patches of lands in urban areas like apartment complexes etc or soil on road dividers, to create a green cover.

There are some advantages of using seed bombs instead of using seeds directly:

  • Because there are nutrients in the seed bomb in the form of compost or potting mix or cow dung,  it gives a leg up to germinating seeds – gives them nutrition in the early days when the young plant needs a little help to survive in harsh conditions.
  • The ball prevents animals or birds from eating up the seeds.
  • It takes less time to cover a large area – since you can simply throw the seed bombs – so you could, for example, drive around in a car with thousands of seed bombs and a slingshot, and disperse the seed bombs all around while cruising in your vehicle. In fact, there have been scenarios where seed bombs have been used for aerial reforestation by dispersing hundreds of thousands of seed bombs using a low flying aeroplane !

What sort of seeds should you choose ?

You should choose seeds of varieties of plants or trees that are native to the region where you are going to carry out your seed-bombing activity, so that they are likely to survive. You can choose trees as well as plants – for foliage, flowers or even vegetables !

When is a good time for seed-bombing ?

In India, doing it a little before the beginning of the rainy season is great – that’s when the tiny saplings would grow very fast when the first rains hit. Doing it in the middle of the rainy season may wash away the seed bombs.

Steps to make your bag of seed bombs

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 parts potting soil or compost
  • 5 parts pottery clay mix from an arts and crafts shop or some river bed clay
  • 1-2 parts water
  • 1-2 parts seeds of your choice
  • a bucket to mix ingredients
  • a cardboard box to dry and store seed balls

Directions:

1.Mix the potting soil, clay and 1 part water thoroughly. Make sure there are no lumps.
Slowly add more water until the mixture is the consistency of play dough or toy store modelling clay.
2.Add seeds. Keep kneading the dough until the seeds are well mixed in. Add more water if necessary.
3.Take small bits of the clay mixture and roll into ball about one inch in diameter.
The balls should hold together easily. If they’re crumbly, add more water.
4. Dry seed balls for 24-48 hours in a shaded place before sowing or storing. They store best in a cardboard box. Do not use plastic bags.

This is a great activity for both adults and kids alike – its great fun making these seed bombs with your own hands, as well going on a seed bombing drive with friends and family, once your hand moulded seed bombs are ready !