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Old 15th February 2011, 21:48   #46
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Old 28th May 2011, 20:31   #47
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Smile Any gardeners here?

I love plants and trees, and I am filled with joy to see my seeds germinating and growing. I've a few curry plants in the house that I grew from seed last year. I tried jalapeno peppers but they died due to Hyderabadi heat (sad). Tried olive from seed but that never worked.

However, I'm currently trying to germinate a coconut and a neem seed. Yes, I live in an apartment, but I could always transplant them outdoors later. This rainy season I plan to plant and germinate many more plants (jalapenos included) including a few decorative plants too (I've English wildflower seeds)

So, any gardeners out here? What do you grow in your home/apartment?

By the way does someone know if fish emulsion is available in India? I like growing organic but seem to have come to a dead end on organic fertilizers.

Happy growing!
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Old 29th May 2011, 20:44   #48
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For cocunuts to germinate, they should preferably not be plucked. You wait till the last minute (experienced coconut climbers know the date when a coconut will fall accurate to a couple of days).

Once they fall down, you put them in a germinating pit, where nuts which do not sprout in 5-6 weeks are discarded.

After 4 to 6 months of germinating, when the 4 or 5 leaves come out, they are transplanted.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 09:58   #49
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There was the annual horticulture exhibition/fair in Coimbatore last weekend. It was a great experience. Myself, wifey, amma, accha and Neha - full attendance. Irrigational systems, tractors/ploughers, automated one-man harvesting equipments, organic growth harmones, agri books, univ-courses, cocunut/mango-variety saplings, all veggies.
We also saw neat plastic cyclindrical bags say 1.5 ft dia and 1 ft high which had prepared soil/manure - with coir in them and which they said would last for 3 yrs and multiple crop changes during the period. 120 bucks per bag.

Farmers from TN landed up at bus/rail stations and had a free pick-up to the venue.
Very refreshing.

We bought some organic avil (poha), seeds of bottle-gourd, ridge gourd, corriander, manure, and a organic gardening book. Planted them in the garden on Sunday - team effort - Me (digging,) Dad (sowing), wifey (soil filling), lil Neha (manure filling.)


Now for something similar in the balcony in Chennai. I find 2 folks from Chennai so far in this thread. Rahul, car-lover - help if you can. Wifey found horti dept in Anna Nagar. However the quest now is for

- rectangular - 3 ft x 1 ft x 1 ft planter boxes. Where can we get it? They appear neater and more efficient/optimal to me that Circular pots. Is it at all available in mud?
- Are plastic ones good? What does your experience say? Is it good for the plant and is it ok for vegetable gardening? We will be consuming them after all!
- I was thinking about aluminium sheets folded and nailed in a shape which would nicely fit on top of the balcony parapet. But aluminium would get super hot and drain away the water from the soil. Any comments?
- Soil - How expensive is it? Where can I get it? Is it not ok to go away from the city and fill up your containers from vacant / govt land and drive back? Do people do it? Is the quality not good? Is it not legal? Comments please.

In hindsight we should have got those 120 Rs bags from the exhibition but probably half the fun's lost. Lets see how it goes.

All suggestions welcome from all places regards their experiences on the above. I will search for equivalents in my city.

Weekend is here, weather's gotten better after the summer dog days getting over here in Chennai and its time for some gardening!

EDIT: Maybe http://www.ciks.org/ at Kotturpuram/Gandhi Mandapam and http://www.tnau.ac.in/chennai/chennai.html at Anna Nagar will give us more insight.

Last edited by jeevmenon : 3rd June 2011 at 10:12.
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Old 5th June 2011, 15:08   #50
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So here we are - 3/4th of the weekend done and dusted. No replies to my queries - looks like there are just a handful who garden. Maybe its not as easy I think and the interests withers away. But we did make a start.

Called up CIKS - Its only a publication office. Open 9 to 5.
Called up Horticulture, Anna Nagar - They are closed on weekends. Probably I will never see them They said opposite the Arch there are pots/soils available but thats too government run and so closed as well.

So what next?

Ok, we drive down the 100ft road and wifey had mentioned about seeing a nursery opposite the Chery. We reached there and sure there it was. There was a truck load of soil outside its compound. Lots of plants within the compound. We picked up 2 bags for Rs 60/- each. Good mixture of cow dung, soil, clay. Felt good. We would never have gotten that soil from open land - we had tried it Friday morning but it was only construction work debri. 60 bucks - worth it.

We had 2 small pots from old and a water tub - (Lil Neha's bath tub of old.) This morning filled all up. Used an old dust-bin to start collecting material for compost. Planted a few seeds of tomato (these were scooped out/watered/dried from a bought tomato,) methi, coriander. Transplanted couple of thulsi plants and kanikoorka (mallu word. medicinal leaves) in the 2 small pots. However I learnt that the transplantation should be done quick. It just withered away within minutes of uprooting. Hopefully life comes back into it. Kanikoorka looks fine.

Last but not least. Found a big centipede (size of the forefinger) all coiled up when we dug through the sacks of soil. First instinct was too throw it off. But a moments thought and realised what we learnt at school - "earthworm is the friend of the farmer". Maybe the nursery folks left it in for a reason. We still have it in the now half-full gunny bag. Maybe we will move it around into the next bag when this bag is done. Or maybe if that bag has already a bug in we will put this guy into the compost bin. No debugging here, please!

Lets see how much we can sustain this enthu. Dads coming over mid-June. We shall get some valuable tips from the master farmer and hopefully his presence would take it past a point where it would be second "nature" to tend to this hobby. Good start we thought on world environment day.

EDIT: One more thing: The nursery guy told this was not the right time for growing and one usually waited till Aadi maasam - mid-july to mid-aug. This is all a trial. I could not wait for everything to fall in place - it never happens. Some start is better than nothing.

Last edited by jeevmenon : 5th June 2011 at 15:10.
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Old 6th June 2011, 01:32   #51
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1. Methi and Coriander - I sometimes allow them to germinate and take them within a week or so - when they are little more than 2 inches tall.

2. When you want to transplant very delicate plants, do not simply pluck them - use a small trowel / knife with a very wide blade to pull the soil around the roots too.

3. Centipedes are not earthworms. Earthworms do not have legs.
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Old 6th June 2011, 09:50   #52
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Thanks for the tips. I know centipedes are different than earthworms, the point I wanted to make was squiggly creatures helps making the soil fertile. It may help. Do they?

Need more tips people.

Atleast some monsoon, rain drenched backyard snaps from Kerala, BackSeatDriver and maybe some squiggly centipedes and earthworms!!

Btw, the Horticulture office at 6th Avenue, Anna Nagar is conducting a roof-gardening course this Thursday.
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Old 6th June 2011, 11:08   #53
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@jeevmenon I am not a gardening expert, I have never managed to sustain gardening for more than a couple of months when ever I have started. Nevertheless a couple of thoughts from my side.

In case you are not on the ground floor and planning to have your garden in pots I suggest you opt for those square ones where you could possibly have more plants in one pot rather than individual pots for individual plants. Over time you will add a lot of weight onto your balcony with the amount of individual pots you accumulate.

I used to have a 3" x 2" x 1.5" tank for my fishes in the garden. Over time my fishes got limited to the indoor glass aquariums, now the cement tank has become a big pot for the plants in my latest experiments with gardening. It has Hibiscus and Moonbeam flower at the moment with a sprinkling of "Morning Glory" seeds received from CRY. Not sure if they would germinate.

With regard to transplanting small / delicate plants as Backstreetdriver mentioned it helps if you transplant with the soil as it helps the plant get used to new surroundings better and faster. This is very vital for plants like Thulsi.

I suggest you buy those mixed soil which you get in nursery primarily because the quality of the soil would be far better than what you generate through your DIY method. This would help you over time with lesser failures on account of the quality of soil.

The feedback given by the Nursery guy comes from the Tamil Proverb "Aadi Pattam Thedi Vidhai". In the good old days when dams were not built over rivers Cauvery used to be at its best during Aadi, Aadi Perukku which falls on the 18th day of Aadi being the highlight, on account of the South West Monsoon.

With the hot & hard summer behind them, Cauvery showering abundance of water, no distractions like Marriage etc. the farmers opt to sow in the month of Aadi. With Cauvery taking care of them until N.E Monsoon sets in the farmers have no worries about their crops withering on account of lack of water.

While the Cauvery factor does not hold good for us the Hot & Hard summer would be behind us soon, the plants have a better chance of survival post Aadi hence the reasoning to wait for a month or so.
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Old 6th June 2011, 12:27   #54
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Thanks pypkmsrikanth for responding, aadi funda, tips. I always wanted rectangular beds and not circular as I mentioned earlier. But where can I find them? Or should I go for those plastic baskets which are available in dept stores?

And I thought katri got over a week back I kept the couple of plants from the shade out in the sun in the balcony and just after 30 min, I pulled them back in. Poor guys would be charred to death. Its quite harsh.
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Old 6th June 2011, 13:30   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeevmenon View Post
I always wanted rectangular beds and not circular as I mentioned earlier. But where can I find them? Or should I go for those plastic baskets which are available in dept stores?

And I thought katri got over a week back I kept the couple of plants from the shade out in the sun in the balcony and just after 30 min, I pulled them back in. Poor guys would be charred to death. Its quite harsh.
I have not come across any ready made square pots which have been made with anything other than cement. These are heavy trust me, when the one I have was brought to my house it required three guys to carry it when empty. After filling it up with water / soil it is pretty much immovable.

So I suggest you look out for the plastic tubs but ensure the ones you buy are atleast of 1 ft height. This would give the plants better rooting. Also you will have to make couple of holes in the tub, you could do that by heating a screw driver and then puncturing a hole. If you try making a hole without heating the screw driver you might get the tub to crack which would defeat the entire purpose.

I feel with the current conditions in Chennai the plants would be fine even if they are under shade in the balcony. If you still want to place them under the sun I suggest early morning would be the best time.
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Old 6th June 2011, 13:45   #56
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Yes. We once went on the ECR and saw those concrete square/rectangular ones. It was heavy. Looks like those are kept outside govt buildings/university building entrance.

Wifey did use the stitching needle, kept it on the flame and punctured a few holes in the tub that we are currently using.

I did keep the tub/2 small pots in the early morning light sunlight - 6:30 / 7ish.

Btw, buying plastic square buckets from the local store is somewhat not eco. Yesterday there was an ad in the paper which mentioned about eco friendly plastic bags. Maybe they might have eco-tubs. I will call them up and find out. Oh, btw our neighbour shifted last night and left a water can along all the garbage. We picked it up. Maybe good for potatos. But in this hot Chennai weather??? But, what if we gave it a shot?
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Old 9th June 2011, 11:00   #57
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The methi/tomato are showing up. Infact drastic change from 4th evening to fifth morning. Glad that the scoop/watering/drying/sowing worked. But the full result might not be as good as the ones from packet-seeds which are seeds from fully ripened fruits.

Corriander (malli) is taking its time and not shown up as yet. The corriander at Dad's backyard also did not show up for a week. I have no news from him post a week of sowing. Need to call him up and find out. How long does it take?

The Basil (tulsi/thulasi) one of the two independent stem transplanted is standing stronger but the other one does not look as strong. But as wifey says they are fighters.

I kept a couple of potatos for chitting.

- Does anyone have info or has done chitting in Indian environment? Place/weather?
- How long does it take? The few eyes are barely seen.
- Is it the right time for chitting in India?
- Do we store it in a cold/dark place or under indirect sunlight?
- Do we keep it in a couple of mm of shallow water?

All this for promoting eye growth. Impatience!

Btw, today's roof-gardening course had 40 seats and all got filled up by the time wifey enquired. Just curious what they would have to offer. They had said they did not have soil/manure/planters but had seeds.
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Old 10th June 2011, 16:41   #58
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Coriander takes a bit longer to sprout - if at all. :-D

I sometimes use coriander from the grocery store - provided it is very reddish brown rather than yellowish brawn.

Methi shoud be used once they are about the length of your little finger - unless you want to experiment more.
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Old 10th June 2011, 18:16   #59
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@jeevmenon

Place a small piece of broken pot or some shell near the opening that you have made at the base of the tub. This will stop loose soil comming out along with water after some time.

I use water from my fish tanks for watering my plants whenever I clean them, plants actually like them :-), just that it takes some effort to carry buckets full of water from the first floor to my so called garden in the second floor.

If you need Rajanigandha/Sambangi flower (Polianthes tuberosa) tubers, Lily Bulbs(Trumpet shaped, mild orange color) let me know. I have lots of young plant tubers that I can spare.

@pypkmsrikanth

offtopic, are you by any chance a member of "IAH"?
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Old 12th June 2011, 15:43   #60
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Containers
We got this longish mud containers at Kodambakkam. Many pot shops from the Kodambakkam flyover towards Nungambakkam tennis stadium. We got couple of these and along with that couple of 12 inch inner dia pots + couple of 10 inch inner dia pots + couple of hanging pots + 1 golden painted mud show vessel (water+lotus/lily/floating-leaves front-room stuff) - 520 bucks.

Gardening experts in tbhp?-longshallowmudcontainer.jpg

Just wondering: those were so painstakingly built by artisans and it was so cheap. Something wrong. They would be so heavily priced in the western world. One walks into the big store BB and see imported Thai hanging plastic ones for 129 bucks, plastic pots for 100 bucks or so. Visited a nursery at Shanti Colony - next to the Sundaram foundation hospital and the plastic version of the above picture = 300 bucks - from Alleppey she said. There was a bigger deeper plastic squarish one - Rs 1400/-. I was tempted but held myself back from buying all these plastics primarily because I am thinking not to buy new plastics from stores, just re-use used ones if at all. Mud ones feel more eco! Moreover they are cheaper.

One more soil bag was purchased for 60 bucks.

Centipedes/Millipedes/Earthworms

Found the difference between centipedes and millipedes. The former are dangerous, can sting and eat good-doing beings inside your compost. Millepedes are friendly. Looked at both pictures in images.google. So our friend that I found in the soil-bag was not a centipede, it was a millipede. Ok. Moved the millipede into the compost and guess what, as soon as it was dropped on top of the pile it just wriggled inside.

Opened up the other bag which we had got Friday from Shanti colony - wow! Nice soil + manure + clay mix. Started to fill the tray containers. What did I see? Centipedes!!! Yes, they looked monsterous. Chucked them off. Found atleast 3. I also found an earthworm. Off it went into the compost bin - our millipede got a friend.

Seeds
Mon-Fri, 9 to 5 the Urban Horticulture dept at 6th Avenue Anna Nagar is open. Went in at 9:30 Friday morning. Got hold off seeds - tomato, brinjal, bitter-gourd, okra, amaranthus (keerai), bottle gourd. Tomata - 25 bucks, rest 15 bucks.

The dept has 1 day programs on many subjects. They have a repeat of the roof-gardening course on 14th and 15th as the one last Thu was houseful. 77 odd people attended it. I have the list, if someone is interested I can share.

greenpatio.com gave good guidelines to plant them and just before Sunday lunch I set them all (except for the bottle gourd) sail.

geekgardener.in is another good Indian forum in its infancy (first year looks like) and I am in there and talking to folks.

The Basil stalks dont look promising. The tomato and methi are fore-finger tall now. Coriander is still hiding.

Oh and btw the potato chitting looks better now - fresh green spots are on it now.
Gardening experts in tbhp?-potatoes.jpg
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