Many a times you’ll notice that, especially, as a beginner that your plants have shrivelled and died or have become someone else’s food (pests). At such times you need to realize that such things are natural and not to be hard on yourself. It’s ok. Learn and re-plant.
Gardening is fun, healthy and one of the most popular hobbies. Through this column we plan to make you a well informed gardener so that correct methods, precautions and care can be practiced.
For every plant, the most vital ingredient apart from Sunlight, Air and Water is Soil or Dust. This contains all the nutrients that the plant needs and these nutrients are created by the action of micro-organisms on dead matter. As a gardener, it’s important to keep your practices organic and natural else you’ll harm the soil, the plant and eventually the ecosystem.
The soil needs to be tilled when the soil compacts or when water is not seeping through. This also helps in aeration of the soil. Add a thin layer of organic fertilizer such as gobar or worm poop (vermi compost) once a month as this keeps the micro-organisms happy and eventually your plants happy. Add another round of fertilizers when the plants begin to flower. Plants consider this as a treat and need the additional nutrients and minerals while fruiting.
The important nutrients that plants require from the soil are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium which is also known as NPK.
Nitrogen (N) helps plants use carbohydrates to gain energy. It controls how plants take their form and how they function inside, and helps plants make protein that help them grow strong and healthy. The good sources of Nitrogen are hair and worm poop.
Phosphorus (P) is known to help plants during photosynthesis, provides energy transfer and storage, and also helps plants efficiently use water. Seedlings and roots grow more quickly and vegetable and fruit production is increased when plants get enough phosphorus. The important sources of Phosphorus are Rock Phosphate and bones.
Potassium (K) is very important in the plant photosynthesis process and in helping plants metabolize their food to get energy. It leads to stronger flowers and fruits and makes the plants pest resistant. Banana peels and wood ash is a good source of Potassium.
The other important nutrients are calcium, magnesium and sulphur also known as macronutrients while the minerals that constitutes ‘micronutrients’ are boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. It should be noted that overuse of nutrients will do more harm to the plants and the ecosystem than good.
While watering your garden, look for growth of any wild plants as this is in competition for nutrients with your cultivated plants. To curb the growth of such weeds, mulch. Mulch is a material (such as decaying leaves, bark, or compost) spread around or over a plant that provides a buffer from hot and cold temperatures. It also retains water to keep the roots moist, keeps weeds out and prevents soil compaction. Apply a layer of mulch, around an inch thick over your soil to prevent the growth of any such wild plants.
Remember that when the soil is lively, the Plants are happy 🙂
Author: Vaibhav Dugar
Me, I am a Green Warrior and yes you are either with me or against me! On paper I’m a telecommunication engineer but professionally, a farmer. Work takes me setting many-a-farms, tilling many-a-lands and playing with soil which I thoroughly enjoy. I love playing football (avidly), going cycling, watching Formula 1 and writing!
If you need company to watch Formula 1, pit stop at Vaibhav.Dugar [at] EkTitli.org
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