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Chronicles of Gardening: Around my Garden

In my previous gardening article, I have covered all the plants my grandmother and my sisters grown in our garden. If you have not already read it here is the link: https://saudhaminimylaram.in/2020/08/01/chronicles-of-gardening-from-my-very-own-garden/

In this article I will take you through my present day garden and all the plants I am growing currently.

The first thing I did when I started was to do away with all the nursery plants. They died anyway, not for the lack of trying on my part. They just needed more chemical compost and I vow to keep my garden organic.

Thinking back on my grandmother’s keen interest in growing organic vegetables urged me to start growing vegetables at home again. I started with Chillies and Tomatoes at the same time. For Chillies, I used one dried red chilli’s seeds and for tomatoes, I used the one or two rotten tomatoes at the end of a batch. Chillies take a bit longer to sprout when compared to Tomatoes, but once they do, they grow pretty fast. Now I have one green chilli growing already and my tomato saplings are still trying to grow. I am tagging this is a Hit.

Chilli plants
Tomato Saplings

While cooking bitter gourd, I separated the seeds for my garden. It took them no time to sprout and become a creeper. It is still growing. I am tagging this – a Hit!

Bitter Gourd creeper

Similarly with dosakaya (one type of cucumber) I tried once, but probably the seeds were too small for which they did not sprout. I tried again with bigger seeds and had two sprouting. But due to the continuous rains in Hyderabad, both saplings died with excessive water. I am tagging this -a Miss!

I wanted to have brinjal (egg plant) plant as well and I don’t know what possessed me to soak its seeds in water for a couple days, but I did. Two days later the concoction just smelled too bad and I had to throw it away. I tried with seeds directly too, but they did not sprout or the ruddy ants ate them away! I am tagging this as a total Miss!

I tried to grow peas too from dried peas directly without soaking them first. At first they started to sprout and gave up eventually. I will try again with soaked peas and post the results in my next gardening article. For now this is tagged as a Miss!

Growing mint at home is probably one of the easiest things. While you are cooking, just look for mint stems with slight bit of roots at the end, they can be as small as 5 mm. Put the stem with root in the soil and ensure the roots are covered sufficiently. Water it on daily basis and you will have a pot full of mint ready in no time. I am tagging this as a Hit.

Mint

In the past, I remember growing fenugreek at home and I wanted to do it again. But this time around I had roasted fenugreek instead of dried (Mistake number 1). So I soaked the seeds for a week, till they started to sprout. I transferred these sprouts to a pot and covered it with more soil (Mistake number 2). The sprouts were struggling to find their way out and most of them died struggling. The two odd sprouts that somehow managed to come out are looking malnourished. I am tagging this experiment as a Miss.

Fenugreek Sprouts

Growing up, I always wanted home grown seasonal fruits. I used to pit the seeds wherever I found space, of all the fruits I have ever eaten. Of course not all have succeeded in growing. We only have Custard apple and Black Plum trees thanks to my pitting. It does not take special skills to grow seasonal fruits in your own gardens. As long as you have the seeds, sow them, water them daily and hope for it to grow. I am tagging this as a Massive Hit!

Custard Apple
Black Plum (Kala Jamun)

At the beginning of the summer, I tried growing Sapota from the seeds I had. I even put sufficient water but I didn’t succeed. Maybe it was a wrong time to grow Sapota. I am tagging this -a Miss!

I have two trees which I don’t know how they came to be, but they just did. 1. Lemon and 2. Hibiscus.

For fifteen odd years, my father had trimmed this lemon plant whenever it grew beyond the two feet mark, thinking would be a huge tree if we allowed and it would be difficult to manage it. Sometime after the fifteen years, I don’t know if my father gave up or this plant is plain stubborn and hell bent on growing, it is now a fully grown tree giving us unlimited supply of lemons. And a person can have only so much of lemonade in their lifetime. We do share excess lemons with our neighbors, I have made lemon Pickle with 80 odd lemons and yet we still had 60 left. I tried selling it to vegetable vendors, due to the superstitious believes attached with lemons, no vendor was willing to take them, even for free! So, what did we do? We re-distributed them to our neighbors. Again! Probably even they are thinking why we give away so many lemons. I am feeling conflicted to Tag this.

Lemon Tree

Hibiscus also magically started growing in our garden. It is a very shy plant in the entire lot; it gives us one flower in two months if we are very lucky! Like any good Indian neighbor I checked with my neighbor’s hibiscus plants and how many flowers their tree gives on daily basis, plenty! If not today, someday in the near future my plant might give us plenty of flowers too. So, I am tagging this – a grudging Hit.

Hibiscus Plant in my Garden
My Neighbor’s Hibiscus

When we were kids, we stayed over our cousin’s place during one of the summer holidays. I remember going on a morning walk and picking up Moduga (Botanical name: Butea Monosperma ) leaves, which our paternal grandmother made plates out of! Since then I was strangely obsessed this tree. A couple of years ago, in our office premises, the local government were distributing these saplings and I could not pass the opportunity to have this plant in my garden. It is still small, so we have not started to use these leaves as substitute for our plates yet. And we are expecting flowers next season, which are used as primary ingredient in organic Holi colors. I am tagging this as a Hit!

Butea Monosperma

Not only I, one of our domestic helps is also fond of gardening and she takes it upon herself to find the plants that are not already in our garden and plants them herself. Creeping Daisy is one of them. It almost died last year before it started to spread throughout the entire patch. It is still in growing phase and it flowers occasionally. I am tagging this as a Hit!

Creeping Daisy

There are a couple of plants growing in my garden and I am unable to identify them. We only kept them because the leaves are pretty. Readers, if you are able to identify them, please let me know what these plants are in the comments section. I want to know if they are dangerous in any capacity, so I can do away with them.

Unknown Plant #1
Unknown plant #2

Here are some of the hacks I use to keep my garden green and growing.

Hack #1:

We can create our own organic compost at home. If you have space in a corner of your garden, make a pit and dump all your cooking wastes such as: Vegetable wastes, egg shells, fruit wastes, etc. You can add dried leaves from your own garden too in the mix (I leave the dried leaves at the roots until they become over bearing.  They decompose and become natural growth supplements), cover the pit and leave it for a month or so. You can add this compost to your plants for their growth enhancement.

Hack #2:

Do not throw away the broken pots. The plants don’t care the shape of the pot. They just need soil to grow. As long as you are able to put enough soil to grow something in it, use it. If you feel the shape of the pot is ruining your garden, just remember, there is no award given for people with best looking gardens.

Hack #3:

Water your plants on daily basis, even in summer. I am not asking you to put excessive water. Just drizzle some water and that’s about it. This is the main reason we have seasonal fruits coming around the year without any break.

Hack #4:

Do not try to beautify your pots, just because they look shabby. Once you color your pots, come rainy season they will be back to looking shabby with patchy mud. Leave them in the earthy natural colors, that’s how they grew in wild before you and I started caring for them.

Hack #5:

Save the water used for washing vegetables and cooking in general and use them for watering your plants, they have natural supplements which enhances the growth.

I hope you liked this segment on gardening. Do try the hacks and let me know the results in the comments section.

Saudhamini Mylaram

HR by profession. Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do apart from gardening, cooking and driving.

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