All posts by Sudeepti

seeds germination

How to Germinate Seeds Successfully: 7 Tips: Check Complete Guide

How to Germinate Seeds Successfully

 

The first and crucial step in growing plants is seed germination. Many plants can be cultivated at home, including tulsi (holy basil), marigolds, capsicum, tomatoes, spinach, coriander, and more. You can obtain seeds for these plants from both the market and the vegetables you use in your daily cooking.

This article includes:

    • How to check good quality seeds
    • Perfect growing medium
    • Temperature required
    • How to place seeds
    • How to water
    • How to protect from birds and ants
    • Duration of seed germination

What if your seeds do not germinate?

 

Yes, it can be frustrating when seeds do not germinate despite your efforts, and it can be a waste of time and resources. However, there are several measures and key points that you can follow to increase your chances of successful germination.

How to Germinate Seeds Successfully

 

Here are some tips to help you germinate seeds successfully:

1. Take good quality seeds:

How to Germinate Seeds Successfully

 

1. Check the seed packets for the expiration date

  • Even after taking all the necessary measures, old or poor-quality seeds may not germinate. Hence, Check the seed packets for the expiration date and use them before the date has passed.

2. Perform a water test

  • To determine the quality of your seeds, you can perform a water test. Simply soak the seeds in a bowl of water for 10-15 hours.
  • The seeds that sink to the bottom of the bowl are typically of good quality, while the seeds that float at the top are typically of poor quality.
  • Therefore, it’s recommended to use the seeds that settle at the bottom of the bowl for planting.

2. Use the right growing medium for seed germination:

coco peat
coco peat

  • The choice of growing medium is crucial as seedlings are very soft and delicate. You can sow seed in the soil or in a coco peat.
  • If the soil is dry and hard, the seedlings may have trouble emerging after germination. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the soil is not compact and hard if you are adding your seeds to it directly.
  • Alternatively, coco peat can be used as a growing medium as it is soft and gentle.
  • However, coco peat lacks nutrients, so after 10-15 days, the saplings may become weak and dull due to a lack of sufficient nutrients.

Also, read: All About Coco peat in gardening

 

To address this issue, there are two potential solutions:

1. You could add manure or liquid tonics after 15 days to provide nutrients.

2. Alternatively, you could create a soil mixture consisting of regular garden soil, sand, and compost (you can refer to a soil mixture article for the exact ratio).

  • Firstly, add the soil mixture to the pot, then on top, add a layer of coco peat approximately 1-1.5 inches thick, and finally add the seeds.
  • This method ensures that when the seedlings’ roots grow down into the soil, they will absorb sufficient nutrients.
  • Additionally, this method promotes fast germination due to the presence of coco peat.

As a result, your seedlings will be healthy, and there will be no need to transfer them to other pots for some days.

3. Temperature required for seed germination

 

Typically, seeds will germinate within a temperature range of 15℃ to 25℃.

seeds growing
seeds growing
  • The best seasons for the germination of your seeds are the Spring and Autumn seasons.
  • However, the germination of seeds gets stopped in extreme summers and winters.

4. Correct way to place the seeds in the growing medium/soil/pot

1. Step 1 – To germinate the seeds, start by placing the fresh seeds or soaked seeds at a distance on top of the coco peat without pressing or burying them.

    • This will provide enough space for the seeds to germinate properly and make it easier for you to transfer them later.

seedling tray
seedling tray

2. Step 2 – Next, cover the seeds with a thin layer of coco peat and gently spray water over the top.

    • Avoid using a mug or pipe as this can disturb the seeds and can rot the seeds.
watering tips to seedlings
watering tips to seedlings

Note:

    • If you don’t have a spray bottle, you can place the pot in a container filled with water, and the soil will absorb water through the drainage hole at the bottom as required.

5. Location of the pot

 

Sunlight is not necessary for the germination of seeds.

  • This can be illustrated by the example of making chickpea sprouts at home, where they are kept in a wet cloth for a few hours and sprouts emerge without sunlight. Therefore, the pot can be placed in a shaded area without sunlight.
sprouts in wet cloth
sprouts in wet cloth

However, if the pot is kept outside on a balcony in the sunlight, the topsoil can become dry and hot, potentially damaging the seeds.

  • To avoid this, it is better to grow seeds during spring and autumn when the weather is more suitable.

6. Correct way to water for successful seed germination

 

    • To ensure the successful germination of seeds, it is important to keep the soil moist.
    • Moist the soil as soon as you notice that the top layer is drying out.
    • Remember not to let the soil get completely dry, as this may hinder germination.
    • However, be careful not to overwater the soil, as this can create conditions favorable for the growth of fungus.
    • Using coco peat can help maintain the moisture level in the soil and keep it well moisturized.
    • It is recommended to use a spray bottle to water the seeds, as using a mug or a pipe can disturb the seeds.

7. Duration of seed germination

    • The duration of germination may vary from three to ten days, and it is important to be patient and wait for at least ten days for the seeds to germinate.
    • If the seeds do not germinate even after ten days, the chances of them germinating are very less.
    • Therefore, it is crucial to consider all the above-mentioned factors carefully to ensure successful germination.

From where to buy good quality seeds

1. Nurseries or from good seed stores:
    • Buying seeds from nurseries or from good seed stores is a pocket-friendly and convenient option.
    • It is advisable to check the manufacturing and expiry dates before buying the seeds.
2. Buy Online:
    • You can also purchase seeds online, but make sure to check the reviews and manufacturing and expiry dates before making the purchase.
3. Kitchen Vegetables:
    • If you have large-sized vegetables that are overripe or rotten, you can take the seeds out from them and use them for growing plants.
    • The mature seeds of such vegetables can be easily grown into plants.

It is important to note that seeds available in the market are often chemically treated to prevent fungus and pests and also germinate faster compared to seeds taken from vegetables.

Follow the above tips and make your gardening exciting!!!

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Gardening in Monsoon Season

Gardening in Monsoon Season

 

Plants behave differently in each season, each having its advantages and disadvantages for plant growth. The rainy season is particularly beautiful and beneficial for both us and the plants, as they grow much faster compared to other seasons. However, we need to be attentive to certain aspects of plant care.

While rain itself usually poses no problems, there can be side effects afterward, such as issues with fungus, ants, and insects. Overwatering can also damage plants, causing leaves to turn yellow.

By following the small precautions outlined below, you can ensure your plants remain healthy after the rain.

Precautions in Rainy Season

 

1. Shift Succulents

 

Shift all the succulents inside the home because succulents already have the optimum level of water stored inside them. They do not need much water like Aloe vera, Jade plants, Echeveria, etc.

succulents plant

2. Well-drained soil

 

tulsi soil

 

If you are gardening directly in the ground, it’s generally fine because the soil naturally absorbs water. However, when gardening in pots, it is crucial to use well-draining soil since pots have limited water-holding capacity.

Let’s discuss what actions can be taken in this regard.

(i) Shift plants into shaded area:

If you have fewer plants say 5-6 only then you can shift them to a shaded area after showering 2-3 days of rain.

(ii) Cover your plants with a green net:

green net

If you do not want to shift your plant then cover your plants with a green net.

  • Air and water both keep on passing through this net and plants will get rain water also.

(iii) Use well-drained soil

To avoid over-watering, the soil should be well drained.

  • If water is entering from the top, then it should be able to drain out from the bottom. Water should not be sustained inside the soil or pot.

Also, check – Why Rainwater is best for plants

 

3. Check the bottom hole of the pot

 

water flows out from the bottom hole

If water is not coming out from the bottom of the pot, then there are no benefits of well-drained soil.

  • Check the functionality of the bottom hole properly, sometimes roots or any other things might get obstructed inside these holes and water would not be able to come out.

Keep watering your plant till water comes out from the bottom hole. Some people give little water on a daily basis which is actually totally wrong.

By this method, the outer soil of the pot would be moisturized but the bottom soil would become like a stone. So give water to the plant till the point water comes out from the bottom hole.

Gardening in monsoon season

4. Fill the pot completely

 

zz plant soil

Fill the soil in the pot completely. Do not leave any space on the top, normally we leave 2-3 inches of space.

  • During heavy rain, water starts standing on the top of the soil and it might lead to fungus and green algae on the top of the soil.

5. Remove the bottom leaves

 

When filling your pot completely with soil, make sure to remove the bottom leaves of the plant.

  • These leaves can come into constant contact with the wet soil, increasing the risk of infection and fungus. Removing them will help prevent these issues.

6. Remove unwanted weeds

During the monsoon, the moderate temperature causes unwanted weeds in the pots to grow rapidly.

  • It is important to remove these weeds from the roots; otherwise, they will deplete the plant’s nutrients.

7. Remove the plates from the bottom of the pots

 

Generally, we place pots on plates to prevent staining the surface beneath them.

  • However, during the rainy season, it is important to remove these plates to prevent water from accumulating and flooding the pots.

8. Raise the level of plants

 

During the rainy season, place plants on stands to allow water to drain easily.

  • If your pots have flat bottoms or you are using gardening bags, elevate them with bricks or any other objects to raise their level.
all plants outdoor

9. Give support to your plants

 

wooden support sticks
wooden support sticks

During the monsoon, heavy rains are often accompanied by strong winds.

  • Wet soil increases the risk of plants being uprooted, so it is important to provide them with support. This will help them remain upright even during heavy winds.

10. Fertilizer for plants

 

Apply neem cake fertilizer to your plants before the rain starts; it will help prevent problems like fungus and insects.

  • Since rainwater contains a good amount of nitrogen, there’s no need for additional fertilizers. Plants will thrive naturally during the rainy season.

11. Fungicides and Pesticides

 

During the rainy season, you can use neem oil solution, neem soap solution, cinnamon powder, and cinnamon liquid solution.

  • Spray your plants with a neem solution weekly to protect them from fungus and pest attacks.

Care for Indoor Plants

 

all plants indoor

During the monsoon season, the increased moisture in the air requires careful attention to indoor plants.

You may notice that the soil of indoor plants remains wet for longer periods.

  • Be cautious when watering your plants to prevent the appearance of white fungus on the soil surface.
  • If you see any white fungus, simply remove it and sprinkle cinnamon powder on the affected area.

Due to the higher humidity, ensure proper ventilation for indoor plants by keeping doors and windows open.

It was all about monsoon season for plants.

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Enjoy the Monsoon!

vermicompost tea

How to make Vermicompost tea? Benefits & Uses

Vermicompost is an organic and most powerful compost made up of earthworms. Today, Vermicompost is widely used by many gardeners and farmers in gardening activities.

Vermicompost is also known as earthworm manure. It is a natural process in which earthworms consume the remains of organic matter such as plants and fruit and converts them into nutrient-rich manure in the form of feces. This natural process of composting is beneficial in improving the quality of the soil, making it more suitable for plant growth.

vermicompost manure
Vermicompost manure

What is ‘tea’ in gardening?

  • Any solid manure, when diluted in water to make liquid fertilizer, is commonly known as compost tea in gardening.
  • Examples include cow dung manure tea, kitchen manure tea, and vermicompost tea. The methods of making tea from these fertilizers may vary.

How to make Vermicompost tea?

Vermicompost tea
Vermicompost tea
  • Take good quality vermicompost in the bucket.
  • Add lots of water to the bucket. After some time the manure may expand, so keep extra water so that it dissolves well.
  • Cover the bucket with a lid and place it in a cool place, shaded area, away from direct sunlight.
  • Water extracts the nutrients of vermicompost when it starts mixing with water.
  • Before using the solution (tea), strain it through a cloth or fine mesh to remove any compost particles that may clog your spray bottle.
vermicompost tea
strain vermicompost tea before using

Important note:

Soaked vermicompost can be used in two ways.

  • It can be used after 24 hours of soaking.
  • It can also be used after 1 week of soaking.

 Both solutions have different benefits and can be used in different ways.

1. Benefits of using Vermicompost tea after 24 hours of soaking

Steps to use it:

  • Sieve the solution and dilute the obtained tea with water in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Fill the diluted tea in a spray bottle for multipurpose use.

You can use this diluted vermicompost tea in the following ways:

  • Spray it on small seedlings and the leaves of plants.
  • Use it as a mild nourishing tonic for cuttings.
  • Apply it to plants during times of stress, such as after pruning, repotting, or when propagating new plants.

Vermicompost tea is a quick and effective fertilizer that can be made in 24 hours.

spray vermicompost tea
you can spray liquid tonic in plants
  • It can be sprayed on plants every 15 days in the evening.
  • This treatment promotes healthy growth and makes leaves shiny.

2. Benefits of using Vermicompost tea after 1 week of soaking

If compost is soaked for 1 week in water, it will result in a more concentrated, dark-colored solution. While soaking vermicompost in water, it is important to stir the solution occasionally to ensure proper mixing of the compost with water.

  • Strong fertilizer: Vermicompost tea obtained by this method is indeed a strong fertilizer due to its higher concentration.

Steps to use it:

  • Take this tea (there’s no need to sieve it at this point) and dilute it with water at a ratio of 1 part tea to 4 parts water.
  • Give this diluted tea to your plants gradually until it starts to flow out from the bottom hole of the container.
  • The compost residue left after separating the tea can be incorporated into the soil as a soil conditioner.

Vermicompost tea can be applied to all types of plants

vermicompost tea
liquid tonic can be given to all types of plants

This vermicompost tea is enriched with nutrients and can be given to all types of plants, including indoor and outdoor plants, flowering and non-flowering plants, and succulents.

a) For indoor plants when using only vermicompost tea, apply it once every 45 to 60 days.

vermicompost tea in indoor plants
liquid tonic can also be given to indoor plants

b) For outdoor plantswhen using only vermicompost tea, apply it every 20 to 25 days.

Note:

  • Ensure that no other fertilizer is applied to the plants for 10 days both before and after using vermicompost tea.

Why is Vermicompost Tea recommended instead of solid form?

Vermicompost tea is often recommended over vermicompost (solid form) for many reasons:

1. Vermicompost (s0lid form) cannot be used as a spray for plants. 

2. For small seedlings, a liquid tonic is recommended. A liquid form of nutrition is suitable for small seedlings.

seedlings
liquid tonic is easy to give in seedlings

3. Additionally, for cuttings and Lecca balls, vermicompost (solid form) cannot be added directly. It is preferable to use liquid tea filled in a spray bottle.

4. Some plants require regular nutrition every 15-20 days for optimal growth. Adding vermicompost (solid form) again and again every 15 days may disrupt soil structure. Therefore vermicompost tea is a more suitable option.

5. A small amount of compost can produce significant amounts of tea, which can effectively nourish all plants. In contrast, solid manure, if available in limited quantities, may not be sufficient for all plants.

6. When adding fertilizer or manure to plants, it is also important to water the soil. This helps the soil absorb nutrients from the compost, which is a slower process than providing a nutrient-rich tonic (like compost tea) directly.

At last:

  • Liquid tonics significantly enhance plant growth, and vermicompost tea is particularly effective when used as a nutrient source for plants.

Also read:

1. Benefits of Seaweed Fertilizer

2. How to make Cow Dung Fertilizer

Happy Gardening !!!

aloe vera propagation

How to Propagate Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is not just good for your skin; it is a plant that you can easily grow and share with others. Whether you are a pro at gardening or just starting out, growing Aloe Vera can be fun and satisfying. It has become a favorite in gardens and homes globally.

How to Propagate Aloe Vera: Tips

In this article, we will explore how to grow Aloe Vera, make it healthier. Let’s jump into the simple steps to propagate Aloe Vera.

Why Propagate Aloe Vera?

Although it is common to purchase mature Aloe Vera plants, there is a joy in watching new shoots emerge from the roots, forming clusters of vibrant, green offspring.

Propagation not only expands your Aloe Vera family but also allows you to share this resilient plant with friends and family. Additionally, propagating Aloe Vera is a great way to breathe life back into stressed or aging plants, ensuring a continuous cycle of growth and rejuvenation.

Setting the Stage: Planting Aloe Vera

The journey begins with a careful selection of pots and soil, creating an environment conducive to Aloe Vera’s preferences. 

Follow below steps, 

1. Selecting a Pot:

    • Choose a broad-sized pot with drainage holes at the bottom.

well-draining soil mix

 

2. Preparing the Pot:

    • Cover the bottom hole with newspaper to prevent soil from washing out.
    • Fill the pot with a well-draining soil mixture.

3. Planting the Main Aloe Vera:

  • Plant the main Aloe Vera in a slightly tilted position at the corner of the pot.
  • Fill the soil around the plant for support.
  • Water the soil until water drains out from the bottom hole.

4. Adding Pups:

  • Once the main plant is established, place pups in the soil at an appropriate distance.
  • Ensure the soil is well-moisturized before adding pups.
  • Do not water again after placing the pups.

Important note:

1. First, make sure the soil is wet enough by giving it a good amount of water.

  • It is important to water until you see water coming out from the bottom of the pot.

2. After that, you can place the baby plants (pups).

  • But here is the trick – don’t water again right away.
  • Succulents like Aloe Vera or Snake plant have small roots, and giving them too much water can be harmful. They might not like it, and their roots can get messed up.

3. So, the rule is to wet the soil well first, put in the baby plants, and then hold off on more water.

  • Let the soil dry out a bit before watering again.

This way, your aloe vera and similar plants can stay happy and healthy.

Propagation of the Pups & Repotting

1. Pup Propagation:

    • Wait for the pups to grow into small plants.

2. Precautions for Repotting:

    • Ensure the mother plant is healthy before repotting.
    • Gently remove pups with some soil to avoid damaging roots.

3. Repotting Process:

    • Place pups in separate pots, ensuring leaves do not touch wet soil.
    • Cover wet soil with dry soil and set the pups.
    • Always do the repotting in the evening.

4. Acclimating to Sunlight:

    • Initially, place repotted plants in indirect sunlight.
    • After 2 days, expose them to sunlight for 2-3 hours.
    • Monitor for signs of stress; if observed, wait a few more days before introducing direct sunlight.

5. Repeat Propagation:

    • After 2 months, new pups will appear, and the repotting process can be repeated for further propagation.

Reviving Stressed Aloe Vera:

1. Identifying Stress Signs:

    • Yellowing with black spots on dried leaves indicates stress.

black spot on aloe vera

2. Reviving Process:

    • Remove all damaged leaves, roots, and branches.
    • Repot the plant following the above-mentioned steps.

3. Survival Period Without Soil and Water:

    • Uprooted Aloe Vera plants can survive for 6-7 days without soil and water.
    • Repot within this timeframe to ensure survival.

By following these steps, you can successfully propagate, care for, and revive Aloe Vera plants.

Must read:

Aloe Vera Care: Pest Attack & Black Spot

Happy Gardening!!

rose plant

How to Care Rose Plant in Summer Season

Roses thrive in winter, blooming beautifully from October to March (in India). However, they struggle during the summer months. High temperatures make them sluggish, causing slow growth with little blooming.

rose-3703471_1280

Caring for rose plant during the summer season is crucial for maintaining their health and ensuring they bloom beautifully later on. Roses require different care depending on the season. Let’s discuss how to treat them during the summer.

How to Care Rose Plant in Summer Season

1. Promote Root and Leaf Health

Since roses tend to produce fewer flowers during hot temperatures, prioritize nurturing the roots and leaves. Healthy green leaves can withstand heat better and will support robust flowering later in the season.

pruning rose plant
pruning of buds & flowers
  • Remove any buds or flowers that start to grow to prevent the plant from channeling its energy into blooming, which can weaken the overall plant.

2. Protect from Sun and High Temperatures

Temperature and Sun heat both are at their top during this time. Both of them have a leading hand in spoiling this plant during summer.

  • If temperature and sunlight are controlled to some extent then plants would recover to a great extent.

(i) Avoid Direct Sunlight:

Dry soil of rose plant
Avoid direct sunlight

Shield rose plants from direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. Place them in a shaded area or under a green net to reduce exposure to intense sunlight.

(ii) Prevent Heat Transfer:

High temperatures can cause the floor beneath the pots to become hot, transferring heat to the plants.

  • Place jute bags on the floor and wet them with water to create a barrier between the hot floor and the pots. This helps regulate the temperature around the roots.

(iii) Misting On Plant

Contrary to the belief that misting can lead to fungal issues, lightly misting the leaves of rose plants can be beneficial during hot weather.

  • This helps cool down the plant and prevents excessive water loss through evaporation. It also helps remove dust from the leaves, promoting better photosynthesis.

3. Watering Tips

Watering is a critical aspect of caring for rose plants, particularly during the hot summer months. Here are some essential tips to ensure your roses receive the right amount of water and maintain optimal moisture levels:

watering rose plant 1

(i) Monitor Soil Moisture:

Keep a close eye on the moisture level of the soil around your rose plants. The soil should always retain a slight amount of moisture to prevent the branches from bending and withering. Ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out completely, especially during the summer heat.

(ii) Timing of Watering:

Water your rose plants either in the morning or evening. Providing water in the morning helps kickstart the process of photosynthesis, as it occurs in the presence of sunlight.

  • Morning watering also helps replenish moisture lost during the heat of the day. If necessary, you can water in the evening as well, but always check the soil’s moisture level first.

(iii) Use Normal Temperature Water:

watering rose plant
watering rose plant

Always use water at normal temperature for watering your rose plants. Avoid using warm or hot water, as it can shock the plants and cause damage.

  • Ensure that water from water tanks is not too hot before using it for watering. Additionally, when using sprays, ensure the water is at a normal temperature.

(iv) Avoid Overwatering:

Avoid overwatering
overwatering in rose plant

While roses may require more frequent watering during the summer, be cautious not to overwater.

  • Overwatering can lead to root rot and fungal issues. It’s better to water deeply once rather than multiple shallow waterings. This helps prevent root rot by allowing the soil to retain moisture for a longer duration.

4. How to Keep soil moist for a longer duration?

moist soil of rose plant
moist soil of rose plant

To keep the soil around your rose plants moist for an extended period, you can employ the following techniques:

(i) Adding Potting Mixture to the Soil:

Create a potting mixture by combining compost and coco peat in equal parts, along with a quarter portion of sand and rose-bloom fertilizer. Ensure thorough mixing of all components.

Loosen the existing soil around the plant and remove the top layer.

  • Incorporate the prepared potting mixture into the soil. Both compost and coco peat have excellent water retention properties, effectively locking moisture within the soil for a longer duration.

(ii) Mulching:

Mulching involves covering the soil surface with materials that absorb and retain water, preventing direct exposure to sunlight.

  • Various materials can be used for mulching, such as dry leaves, rice husks, water-absorbing fabric, water-absorbing carry bags, or even a green net. These materials allow air to pass through while keeping the soil moist.

Tips to do mulching:

  • Cover the soil with your chosen mulching material and water as usual. The mulch helps slow down evaporation, ensuring the soil stays moist for longer periods.
  • When it’s time to apply fertilizer, simply remove the mulch, apply the fertilizer, and then replace the mulch.
  • Additionally, mulching helps suppress weed growth.

5. Black Spot on Rose leaves

black spot on rose leaves
black spot on rose leaves

Sometimes, rose leaves may develop black spots or show signs of damage, turning yellow, which are often caused by fungal infections. 

  • Apply fungicide monthly to prevent black spots and yellowing caused by fungal infections. Mix 2-3 pinches of fungicide in 5 liters of water and apply to the plant.

6. Pest Attack on Rose Plant

During summer, protect roses from pests like mealybugs with neem spray.

  • Boil neem leaves, dilute the decoction, and apply weekly. Neem oil spray is an alternative if neem leaves aren’t available.

Taking these measures helps safeguard rose plants during the challenging summer season. It’s crucial to show care and attention to the plants during this period of intense heat, focusing on their sustainability rather than expecting abundant flowering.

Happy Gardening !!

gardening mistakes

6 Common Mistakes to avoid in Gardening

While doing gardening, we often make some mistakes, which we should not do. Due to this, our plants are not able to grow that well. Whether you are experienced or a beginner, you should know these few things which I am going to tell you through this article.

1 – Do not ignore “Tilling of Soil”

Soil tilling

Generally, people make lots of efforts for the growth of their plants like giving fertilizers on time, feeding humic acid or bio enzymes, pruning at regular intervals, and many more things but they do not give much importance to the basics of gardening that is doing “tilling of the soil”.

The tilling process is important for various reasons-

  • It makes the soil soft.
  • Soil nutrients get shuffled up and down.
  • It maintains good aeration.
  • Roots become strong and healthy.

Once a week, tilling of the soil should be done for the optimal growth of the plants.

2 – Not using the proper technique of spraying pesticides

Pests attack is very common in plants and in particular season insects like mealy bugs, aphids, ants, spider mites plus many others start growing.

Pesticide spray
  • To get rid of them various pesticide solutions are available and prepared. To refrain from insects proper process of spraying needs to be followed.
  • First of all remove all the insects from affected plants by using cotton buds, tissue paper, or any cotton cloth. Clean all the leaves, branches, and all the parts of the plants.
  • After that, spray the solution on each and every part of the plants, the side of the leaves, all the branches, on buds or flowers. If even a single insect remains on the plant then there would be a pest attack again and questions will arise on the effectiveness of the solution.
  • So, here solution would not be a culprit but proper methodology needs to be followed.
  • Follow the treatment on every alternate day until the plant is pest-free.

neem pesticide spray

3 – Selecting the wrong Pots Structure

Despite the material, the structure of the pot matters a lot.

  • Avoid narrow pots because, at the time of tilling, repotting, giving compost or fertilizer, and removing weeds, space is needed to loosen the soil. In narrow pots, we do not get proper space, either the pot will break or the plant will get damaged.
  • Be it, ceramic, plastic, or cement but opt for broad-size pots. Soil would get enough sunlight, tilling can be done easily and the aeration process would be maintained in broad-size pots.

4 – Adding chemicals to compost

kitchen waste

 

When composts are made at home (any compost – leaf compost, kitchen or cow dung compost), naturally it takes 2 and 2.5 months to make. All the material gets decomposed in the presence of bacteria and fungus which is a slow process.

  • Some people are accelerating this process by adding chemicals to it and compost gets ready in 7-10 days, which is not the correct method.
  • No chemicals should be added to get pure organic compost, moreover, if anything chemically manifested things (compost) is added to the plant then it will deplete the nutrition level of the soil.
  • Fruits, flowers, or vegetables grown by adding this compost would not be organic hence they would be chemically injected which is not good for health.
  • To fasten the process of compost making, add organic or natural; things like buttermilk, vermicompost, sour curd, or worms. All these things will accelerate the process of decaying material.

5 – Not feeding Fertilizers to the plant

Heavy feeder plants like flowering, fruiting, and vegetable plants need fertilizers at regular intervals. They will look beautiful and tempting at nurseries because proper care of them is taken there but after getting them at home, many of them would stop growing.

  • These plants need fertilizer every 20-25 days.
  • NPK, micronutrients, or any other organic fertilizer should be given to the plant to meet the nutrient level of the soil for the booming growth of the plant.

6 – Incorrect way of using Neem Oil

Neem oil is an organic oil and the best pesticide but many people complain that after using neem oil their plants get burnt. Well, the problem is not the neem oil here but the problem is how it is used.

  • Neem oil is strong so when applied to the leaves, the pores of the leaves get blocked and the process of photosynthesis gets seized.
  • To refrain from this, always spray neem oil in the evening and keep the plant for the night as it is. The next day, in the morning before sunrise, wash the plant properly with ample water.
  • Neem oil will do its work at night so make sure leaves with neem oil do not get exposed to sun. While washing, oil might fall in the soil but that is ok.

Happy Gardening!!

How to use Neem Oil to Protect Plants from Pest Attacks

Neem oil is indeed known for its versatility in gardening. It is considered relatively safe for plants when used appropriately, and it is often used in organic gardening.

It serves as a natural pesticide, helping to repel various insects such as mealybug, aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, leaf miners, beetles, etc. Additionally, neem oil is effective in treating fungal infections in plants.

neem pesticide

The oil, derived from the neem tree’s seeds (Azadirachta indica), is recognized for its organic insect-repellent properties and antifungal characteristics. Furthermore, it acts as a natural fertilizer, promoting healthy plant growth. It is important to follow recommended application guidelines to ensure its effectiveness without causing harm.

In this article, we explore how neem oil can do many helpful things when mixed with different ingredients.

What is Neem Oil?

Neem oil is produced by crushing the kernels found within the seeds commonly referred to as “nibor”, of the bitter neem tree.

neem kernel

  • The byproduct, neem cake, is also obtained during this process and is used in gardening. It is true that the neem oil produced through this method is considered pure and potent, but it should not be applied directly to plants undiluted as its strength may harm them.
  • Neem oil produced by companies is often formulated with emulsifiers to make it water-soluble and suitable for plant application.

Why Neem Oil is preferred as Insect Repellent?

When it comes to keeping insects away, there are many insect-killing products available in the market, nursery, and online, but not all of them are safe for edible plants like tomatoes, coriander, curry leaf, tulsi, etc. Treating these plants with regular insect killers may make them unsafe to eat.

On the other hand, neem oil is organic and safe for plants. It doesn’t pose a risk of contaminating the vegetables you plan to eat.

Always use Water-Soluble Neem Oil

When using neem oil for plants, it’s important to ensure that you’re using a water-soluble formulation. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Water-Soluble Neem Oil:

  • Look for neem oil products that are specifically labeled as water-soluble. These formulations are designed to easily mix with water, ensuring proper dispersion and effectiveness when applied to plants.

2. Ease of Application:

  • Water-soluble neem oil can be conveniently mixed with water in a sprayer or watering can, making it easy to apply to plants as a foliar spray or soil drench. 

3. Reduced Residue:

  • Water-soluble neem oil leaves minimal residue on plant surfaces, reducing the risk of buildup and potential phytotoxicity. This ensures that plants remain healthy and free from unsightly residues.

How to use Neem oil in gardening?

spray bottle

For the best results, it is recommended to spray neem oil in the evening. This is to avoid potential leaf burn because some plants treated with neem oil can be sensitive to sunlight.

In the daytime, plants use sunlight for photosynthesis to make their food. Neem oil can block the pores of leaves, which might interfere with this process.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to thoroughly wash your plants with water the next day before exposing them to sunlight.

“So, always spray neem oil during the evening to ensure it works effectively without harming your plants.”

Benefits and Uses of Neem Oil for Plants

1. As a Safeguard

  • Even if you don’t see any visible insects on your plants, you can use neem oil preventively once a month.
  • Mix 2.5 ml of neem oil with 1 liter of water and thoroughly spray the solution on the plants. This acts as a safeguard against potential pest issues.

2. As an Insect Repellent

a. Heavy Infestation of Insects:

  • If your plant is heavily infested with insects, consider relocating it to prevent the potential impact on nearby plants.
  • Conduct a thorough hard pruning by removing all infected branches.
  • Keep the plant in the shade and then spray neem oil as a protective measure.

b. Mild Attack of Insects:

  • When insects mildly infest leaves, buds, or branches, isolate the affected plant from others.
  • Promptly remove any visible insects, wash the plant thoroughly with clean water to eliminate remaining insects or their eggs, and remove dust from the plant.
  • Ensure a clean surface before applying neem oil, as it may not be as effective on plants covered with dust.

How to use Neem Oil to protect Plants from Pest Attacks

1. For the Insect-Infested Plant:

  • Dilute 5 ml of neem oil in one liter of water and spray it on all parts of the plant.

2. Follow this schedule for effective insect removal:

    • Day 1: In the evening, spray the prepared solution on the plant.
    • Day 2: In the morning, wash the plant properly with clean water, and in the evening, spray neem oil again following the same procedure as Day 1.
    • Day 3: Wash the plant again with clean water and observe whether the plant’s condition is improving or not.

Now, according to the prevailing situation, follow the steps:

 

1. STEP 1: 5 ml Neem oil in 1 liter of water

  • If the situation improves, continue with the same process for 8 days alternatively.

2. STEP 2: 5 ml Neem oil in 1 liter of water + 2.5 ml of Dishwasher

  • If the situation doesn’t improve, consider adjusting the spray solution. Dilute the mixture with a dishwasher or liquid hand wash (using half the quantity of neem oil).
  • Create a solution by mixing 5 ml of neem oil, 2.5 ml of dishwasher, and 1 liter of water.
  • Continue with the same application routine, spraying in the evening and washing in the morning on alternate days for 8-10 days.

3. STEP 3: 5 ml Neem oil in 1 liter of water + 2.5 ml of Dishwasher + 2 spoons of Garlic Water

If the hand wash solution proves ineffective, incorporating garlic water can be the next step.

  • To prepare garlic water, grind a few cloves of garlic thoroughly, boil them in 1 liter of water, and strain the mixture when it cools down.
  • Add 2 spoons of garlic water to the neem oil solution.
  • Apply this combined solution on alternate days for 10 days, spraying in the evening and washing the plant in the morning. This approach should contribute to the recovery of your plant within the specified timeframe.

Following the outlined methods should effectively eliminate the insects, but exercise caution for the next 15 days. Maintain careful observation of the plant and keep it in isolation to ensure sustained recovery and prevent any potential re-infestation. Spray neem oil again if there is any visibility of insects.

3. As a Disease Antidote:

When plants fall victim to diseases like leaf curl or exhibit signs of distress such as turning red, swift action is key.

  • Prune away the affected portions of the plant and follow up with a neem oil spray. If caught in the early stages, this approach can lead to a prompt recovery for the plant.

At last:

By following specific application steps, one can harness the full potential of neem oil to protect and revive plants in a natural and sustainable manner.

Happy Gardening!

How to grow Ajwain Plant at home

The Ajwain plant is also known as Mexican mint or Indian Borage. The Ajwain plant has the same aroma and taste as carom seeds. In fact, by touching only one can sense that it is an oregano plant.

The green leaves of the Ajwain plant are called oregano and it is also used in pizza. Most people know it just like that, but these leaves have many benefits. This also gives flavor and a different taste to the food. You can also make oregano at home by drying Ajwain plant leaves. But for this, first of all, know that if you want to plant an Ajwain plant in the house, then what do you have to do for this?

In this post, we will discuss some important points which will help you to grow an Ajwain plant at your home.

Best season for Ajwain Plant

    • It blooms more in the summer as it is a summer plant.
    • Sunlight required for this plant is 1-4 hours maximum, not more than that. Otherwise, it will not flourish accordingly.
    • During winters, it grows at a slow pace and needs to be covered to prevent it from the craggy cold.
    • The duration of February to October is the best for the growth of this plant.

Water requirement for Ajwain Plant

    • It is a succulent plant. Hence, it needs less water.
    • Give water when the soil looks dry.
    • Do not over-water.

Best Soil Mixture for Ajwain Plant

1. Garden soil

    • Always take soil that is available in your area.
    • Plants grow healthy in environment-friendly soil.

2. Compost (half of the garden soil)

    • If the soil lacks any nutrients, compost is required to meet the particular level of nutrients and minerals.
    • The quantity of the compost (vermicompost or cow-dung compost or kitchen compost) should be half of the garden soil.

3. Sand (half of the compost)

    • Take river sand which is available near your area or any construction site.
    • Sand is an essential component because it prevents the soil from becoming hard like stone.

4. Cocopeat

    • Cocopeat holds the moisture for a longer duration.
    • The quantity of cocopeat should be the same as sand if sunlight comes to your area for 3 to 4 hours.

note: the quantity of cocopeat should be half of the sand if the exposure to the sunlight is for 1 to 2 hours.

5. Neem Khali (neem cake)

    • Despite all these products neem Khali (neem cake) can also be added in small quantities.
    • Mix all the material properly and it is a perfect soil mixture for the Ajwain plant.

Best pots for Ajwain plant

  • Clay pots are the best pots for the Ajwain plant, an approximately 10-12 inch pot is sufficient for terrace or balcony gardening.

From where to purchase the Ajwain plant

  • This plant is easily available in all the nurseries by the name of “ajwain plant” and can be bought at the price of Rs 40-50.

How to plant Ajwain plant in the soil?

    • First step: Fill the pot with soil and give water, so, that the soil settles down easily.
    • Second step: Create some space in the soil and place the cutting inside the soil.
    • Third step: Water the soil slowly. Give water from a spray bottle, so that the soil of the pot becomes wet. Water again for the second time till the water comes out of the bottom hole.
    • Fourth step: Keep the pot in a shaded area where there is no direct sunlight.
    • It will start growing in a few days.

Important points to keep in mind

To grow the Ajwain plant in a pot, it is important to keep some points in mind:

 

    • Plant Ajwain plant in the summer season.
    • Avoid over-watering.
    • Fertilize the plants every 25 days.
    • The pot should be wide, but the height should not be high. This makes it difficult for plants to grow.
    • Mix vermicompost and cocopeat in the soil.

Medicinal use of Ajwain plant

The Ajwain plant is rich in many nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and thiamine, due to which it is used as a medicinal plant.

    • It gives relief from knee pain.
    • It also helps in gastric pain and acidity problems.
    • Consumption of 2-3 leaves in a day is enough for the pioneered problems.

Kitchen’s king ingredient

    • These leaves can be used in making vegetables and snacks.
    • To prepare different dips.
    • In Italian dishes also, it adds flavor.

Best fertilizers for Ajwain plant

    • Ajwain plant does not undergo the process of flowering and fruiting hence any heavy fertilizer like chemicals, DAP, or NPK is not required. Organic fertilizers are always preferred.

Suggested fertilizers are-

1. Kitchen Compost Tea

    • In the process of making kitchen compost, the liquid residual is obtained called kitchen compost tea.
    • It acts as a very healthy tonic for the optimum growth of the plant. Dilute it with double the quantity of water and give it to the plant every month.
vermicompost tea
vermicompost tea

2. Vermicompost Tea

    • Dilute one spatula of vermicompost with 1 liter water and keep it aside for 24 hours.
    • After 24 hours, take the upper water (leave the settled compost behind) and mix it with 4 liters of water. Pamper the Mexican mint with this tea every 30 days.

3. Mustard Cake Liquid Fertiliser can also be given thrice ( February, August, and November) in a year when the weather is not very humid.

Cutting & pruning of Ajwain plant

    • 3-4 times pruning of the leaves and branches in a week is suggested for the booming growth of the plant.
    • These branches can be used as a cutting for the growth of new plants.

Pesticides

    • Generally, it does not get attacked by any pests. Still, once in 3-4 months neem spray can be done to it.

It was all about the Ajwain plant.

Watch the below video to know detailed information on “Ajwain plant”

Keep Planting !!

Aloe Vera plant

How to Grow and Care for Aloe Vera Plant

In today’s world, almost everyone is aware of the benefits and uses of Aloe Vera, particularly its ability to thrive and propagate easily. However, to make the most of its benefits, it is important to know how to care for it properly. In this article, we will discuss several tips to help you maintain healthy and lush Aloe Vera plants.

How to Grow and Care for Aloe Vera Plant

 

Tip 1: Healthy roots are essential for a thriving and robust Aloe Vera plant

Aloe Vera

To strengthen the roots:

1. Ensure the soil mixture is optimal.

  • A well-draining soil mix, such as a cactus or succulent potting mix, promotes healthy root growth.

2. Maintain balanced watering practices.

aloe vera watering

  • Overwatering can cause fungal infections, attract insects, and promote bacterial growth in the roots.
  • It may also lead to root decay.
  • Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings to prevent these issues.

Tip 2: Sometimes, ignorance is bliss when it comes to caring for Aloe Vera plants

This resilient plant does not demand excessive attention or care.

  • Once you have ensured it receives adequate sunlight, water, and well-draining soil, you can largely leave it to thrive on its own.
  • Aloe Vera plants typically produce pups, or offsets, which can be planted separately.
  • After planting, minimal intervention is needed; the plant will flourish and eventually bloom without the need for fertilizers or frequent repotting.

Tip 3: Choose Broad Pots for Aloe Vera Planting

When selecting pots for your Aloe Vera, opt for broad containers rather than deep ones.

  • Aloe Vera plants require ample space to spread out and thrive.
  • Consider using a pot that is approximately 6 inches deep and 14 inches wide, or any rectangular-shaped container that provides sufficient room for the plant to expand its roots and grow comfortably.

Tip 4: Optimal Sunlight Exposure for Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera plant

While Aloe Vera can tolerate bright indoor light, placing it on a work desk indoors might hinder its growth potential.

For optimal and healthy growth, it is best to expose your Aloe Vera plant to direct sunlight.

  • Aim to provide as much sunlight as possible to promote its magnificent growth.

However, be mindful to protect the plant from scorching heat.

If temperatures soar to extreme levels, consider relocating the plant to a shaded area to prevent damage.

  • Balancing ample sunlight with protection from excessive heat ensures the best conditions for your Aloe Vera’s thriving growth.

You may also read:

Aloe Vera Plant Care: Pest Attack and Black Spot

Tip 5: Optimal Growing Season for Aloe Vera

The ideal growing season for Aloe Vera is from late September to late November, which coincides with autumn.

  • During this period, Aloe Vera exhibits maximum growth potential.
  • To ensure robust and blooming growth, it is advisable to prepare the plant beforehand.

Before September arrives, take all necessary measures to prepare the soil, apply fertilizer, and address any other requirements to facilitate optimal growth during the upcoming season.

  • By preparing in advance, you can set the stage for your Aloe Vera plant to thrive and flourish during its peak growing period.

Tip 6: Pruning

Remove any dead or damaged leaves regularly to encourage new growth.

  • Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant.

Tip 7: Fertilizer

Aloe Vera plants are not heavy feeders. Fertilize sparingly, using a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength, only during the growing season (spring and summer).

Tip 8: Pests and Diseases:

Aloe Vera plants are relatively pest-resistant, but they can occasionally attract mealybugs or aphids. Treat infestations promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Tip 9: Propagation:

Aloe vera pot

 

Aloe Vera plants can be easily propagated by removing offsets (pups) that grow around the base of the plant.

You may also read:

How to Propagate Aloe Vera

Happy Gardening!

Make Your Own Garden!

Perfect Soil Mixture for Summer Plants

Soil is the daily bread for the healthy growth of plants. It has to be nutritious, well-drained, porous, and lightweight.

Importance of healthy potting mixture:

1. In ground gardening, soil enriched with compost is typically adequate for promoting healthy plant growth. However, for container gardening, additional amendments and nutrients may be necessary to ensure the soil is conducive to plant growth and productivity.

Soil mixture

2. Plants planted solely in normal soil without sufficient nutrients may encounter difficulties in growth after 4 to 5 months. Additionally, they could be vulnerable to diseases, pests like mealybugs, and other infections due to the absence of essential nutrients necessary for their growth and overall health.

Mealybugs on plant leaves
Mealybugs on Hibiscus plant leaves

3. Usually, clay soil is utilized, but it tends to harden after being watered 3-4 times, making it difficult to penetrate even after troweling, resulting in limited water absorption at the bottom of the pot.

4. Soil requires an assortment of minerals and nutrients to enhance its fertility for optimal plant productivity. The potting mixture must be carefully balanced to promote robust growth and development of plants.

Soil Mixture for Basic Gardening

Let’s start to prepare soil mixture for summer plants like Tulsi, Hibiscus, Curry leaf, Pumpkin, Ridge Gourd, and many others.

1. Collect Soil from local surroundings

Soil mixture for plants
garden soil

Gather soil from local areas, whether it’s red, black, clay, or sandy in composition.

    • Thoroughly clean the soil, removing any plastics, glass pieces, old roots, and stones.
    • Once cleaned, expose the soil to sunlight for a day to eliminate ants, insects, and fungi.
    • After 24 hours, when the soil is completely dry, lightly sprinkle water over it to make it damp before mixing.

2. Add Compost- to maintain the minerals and moisture level of soil

Vermicompost
Vermicompost

Compost is a valuable resource packed with essential nutrients and vital components, often referred to as “black gold.” It has the capacity to retain water for extended periods, preventing soil from drying out quickly, while also enhancing and refining its texture.

    • To enrich soil with minerals and nutrients, compost is indispensable, whether it is vermicompost, kitchen compost, leaf compost, or cow dung compost.
    • It is recommended to add compost in an amount equivalent to half the quantity of soil. For example, if you have 20 kg of soil, you should add 10 kg of compost.

3. Add Cocopeat- to hold the water for a longer run

coco peat

Coco peat significantly lightens soil and prolongs water retention.

  • During the intense heat, it serves as a growth catalyst for plants by regulating pot moisture and temperature.
  • Once coco peat is incorporated, frequent watering of plants becomes unnecessary.
  • It is recommended to use coco peat in an amount equal to half the quantity of compost.

4. Add Sand to make Soil Porous

river sand
Adding sand in soil mix

  • Frequently, water accumulates at the soil’s surface, impeding proper drainage and hindering water absorption to reach plant roots below.
  • To address this, sand is added to enhance soil porosity and facilitate better drainage, preventing waterlogging. It is essential to balance the addition of sand and coco peat in equal quantities.
  • Avoid using sea sand for potting mixtures due to its salt content; instead, opt for river sand, readily available from construction sites.

5. Add Neem Cake Powder – to protect the roots from pests

Neem cake powder
Neem cake powder

Neem cake powder provides protection to plants against diseases, infections, and insects.

  • High-quality neem cake typically emits a distinct smell, so it is advisable to monitor the intensity of the odor while incorporating it into the soil and cease adding if a strong scent becomes noticeable.
  • As a general guideline, around half a kilogram of neem cake powder is sufficient for approximately 20 kilograms of soil.

6. Add fungicide to prevent fungus in plants

cinnamon powder
cinnamon powder

Fungicide combats fungus in plants effectively.

  • You can either prepare a fine powder of cinnamon as a fungicide or use Saaf fungicide powder.
  • The quantity of fungicide should be half of that of neem cake powder.

Process:

soil mixture

 

    • Now, mix all the ingredients properly and uniformly.
    • After mixing, it can be stored in any container.
    • This soil can be used for transplanting plants and for existing plants as well.
    • For existing plants, remove the upper layer of soil and add this potting mixture.
    • This potting mixture is very light in weight, it can retain water for a longer span, it has all the nutrition plus it will keep your plant pest free.

PRECAUTION

Many people have sensitive skin, in that case gloves can be used otherwise this work can be done with hands also. Hands should be properly washed and sanitised after preparing potting mixture.

Happy Gardening !!

Keep Planting !!