Sunday, January 15, 2017

December 2016

Hello friends,

Though there's a lot of activities at my gardens, I am unable to keep this blog up-to-date, and to respond to your queries or publish your comments on time. Apologies.

We are constantly trying to revive our ground, which has been covered with debris and poor quality of soil up to about 2 ft or so. Slowly and steadily, the plants are showing good health. Under the coconut tree, have planted spinach. These are hardy plants, and seem to be growing well without any pampering. Weekly once, I pluck the leaves to use them in cooking; works great as a pruning technique!

One ground our banana plants are yielding sweet harvest. Fig tree has tiny fruits but the birds eat them before we do. That's absolutely fine! There's eggplant plants, corn, tomato, chilli, basil, pomo, lemon, and other plants growing as well.

Our ground garden WIP
A portion of our terrace garden got an uplift - metal holders, metal stand (refurbished from one of our properties), and newer plants. One of my cats loved the cool space, and slept peacefully in the container. My cats love to be around when I am working at the gardens; they like to sniff plants and flowers, play in the mud, and then they nap. Cute helpers!
A portion of our terrace garden
These are Chrysanthemum seedlings that bought for Rs. 10 each. The root-growth was beautiful, and the seedlings were healthy. Will be transferring them to containers.
Seedlings of Mums
My mother had a lovely garden; due to intolerable damage from bandicoots, she got the space cemented. She has a stunning Hosta, which blooms fragrant flowers. I got a bulb from her; praying that the bulb grows to be a stunner.
Hosta flowers from my mother's garden

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous New Year!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Bountiful Nov 2016

Hello friends,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your comments, and for the delay in updating the blog. November has been kind on my plants. We have enjoyed multiple harvests of some leafy vegetables and bananas. Here are photo collages that provide a glimpse of my gardens. Happy Monday!

Today's harvest of spinach, sponge gourd, tomatoes, cowpeas, curry leaves

Organically grown bananas, chillies, and orchids

Outburst of colors at terrace!

Pink spatika, spinach, cowpeas

First harvest of bananas

Matchstick bromeliad, dragon fly, sampige, peace lily, second batch of bananas 

Pink pentas, which grew from seed, attracting bees
Ground orchid attracting bees

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August gardening diary 2016

Aug 15, 2016: Leafy vegs grown from seeds look healthy. Had sown potato eyes a week ago; now the plants stand tall. Got a handful of tender double beans. Sambar onions sown sometime last week have grown well. Okra and chilli seedlings transfered to our land garden; more seedlings waiting to be moved. Of course, our cats love to help us at our garden.
Independence Day gardening
Aug 8, 2016: Food from our garden - a dry curry from banana flowers and a dal from leafy vegs! Double beans went straight in to pulao. Fresh produce always tastes good even when cooked by an average cook such as myself. 
Curry from banana flower, and leafy vegs
Aug 8, 2016: More Barleria or Spatika White flowers are ready to bloom, at our terrace garden. This season's plants have been grown from seeds saved during previous year. The plant can be grown from cuttings as well. Needs good soil, water, and sunlight; also grows in semi-shade. During flowering season, the flowers bloom nonstop, and look so pretty.

Aug 7, 2016: Sundays are beautiful because a helper comes to assist us at our land garden. The land is mixed - portion of hostile and portion of good soil. Been neglected for more than a decade and half. Construction debris is worst; and impossible for me to dig; the helper is God sent! Together we have cleaned a good amount and planted healthy plants. Waiting to see the results; some plants are starting to flower. Today's harvest from land are two banana flowers, handful of leafy vegs, and double beans. Worth every sweat, pain, and dirty hands and feet! 
Banana flower, double beans, leafy vegs
Aug 1, 2016: Green Monday! Freshly plucked leafy vegetables from our land garden makes a tasty sambar.
Leafy vegs

Homemade Organic Moringa Powder

Here's one of the organic products that I make at home from our Moringa (or Drumstick) tree. The tree, organically grown, has been with us from generations, and several people have taken cuttings of this tree, and grown healthy trees. 

I pluck a lot of leaves, dry them in shade, and then in Sun/heat to remove all moisture, and then powder the leaves. The result is beautiful Green healthy powder! I also make chutney powder from Moringa leaves. I add a spoonful of powder or handful of leaves in sambar or chapati dough. From the leaves, I prepare a dry curry with dal and freshly grated coconut.

I have been observing the MRP of Organic Moringa Powder that's available in the market; at present, one gram of this powder may cost anywhere between Rs. 1.25 to Rs. 2. Growing the plant at home, especially when the plant is low maintenance and can grow in big containers as well, ) is cheaper (on the longer run) than buying the product.

Check this website to know more about benefits of these leaves:

Bottom right - leaves drying inside house; Bottom left - leaves completely dry/zero moisture; Top - leaves powdered in a mixer

Powder made from Moringa leaves


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sage Herb Plants

I grow Sage plants in small plastic containers, at our terrace garden. 

First time I held the sage leaves was when one of my American friends/business clients/coworkers gifted the leaves. A very well-thought gift! Even though he had no idea about meditation, he had found out that burning sage helped in purification of space/people, and would help during my meditation.From then on, I kept searching for seeds/cuttings of sage; found them only after a couple of years at Bangalore. Now it's a breeze to procure this plant!

The Sage plants like the Sun and well-drain soil. The plants can be grown from seeds and cuttings. Seeds are available online. Cuttings available at the now-trending Lalbagh Botanical Garden Flower Show stalls, and other nurseries. Check the health of the roots before buying the plants. Sometimes the cuttings may be newly planted, and the roots may not have developed. During rains, I keep the Sage plants in a protected area; excess water can rot the roots. Rodents don't seem to attack containers housing Sage plants, at our garden. Check this site for information about pest attacks

The plant is a herb, and has several medicinal properties. Read more information about benefits of Sage. It is used in cooking dishes. A few vegetables that can be cooked with Sage are Beetroot, broccoli, carrots, eggplant, onions, peas, Swiss chard, pumpkin, and others. Check this useful website, The Essential Guide to Herbs

Happy Gardening!


Friday, August 5, 2016

Hydrocotyle Vulgaris or Marsh Pennywort

What's the plant of the day, you ask? It's the Hydrocotyle Vulgaris or Marsh Pennywort.

There's confusion about this plant, and I have corrected my previous blog, Welcoming July. This plant is commonly mistaken to Brahmi or Centella asiatica. As already mentioned, I grow this plant both in soil and in water. Have used plastic pots with a soil mixture to grow the plants; grows in average quality soil. No extra effort made in growing the plant. The runners are easy to propagate. Doesn't ask for fertilizers. Haven't seen any pest attacks. 

It's a happy kind-of plant. The Green adds life to a dull corner of the garden. The flowers are tiny and so pretty. I have placed these plants (, in water,) almost everywhere in my terrace garden. Remember that these plants aren't drought-resistant; please provide water as and when required, especially if planted in soil. I have also used this plant as ground cover; looked excellent! 

I use a few leaves (less than 8) while cooking a curry or sambar. The taste is a little earthy. Well, there's no record of medicinal benefits or hazards from consuming the leaves of the plant. If you want to consume the leaves or other parts of this plant, please use your judgement and do your research. For starters, see Pennywort

Who's that, you ask? That's Zorro, stray friend of our cats; eats, drinks, sleeps, and makes merry at our house. He is least scared of us. This morning he dashed straight inside, when I opened the front door! He's a chatty cat; likes to converse. :-)

Hydrocotyle Vulgaris and Zorro


Sunday, July 31, 2016

White Butterfly Ginger Lily or Suruli Sugandhi

Hedychium coronarium or White Butterfly
Ginger Lily or Suruli Sugandhi flowers have been blooming for a while now, at our land garden. Today several flowers have bloomed at once, and the fragrance is intoxicating!

These flowers are offered to Lord Ganapa, mainly, is what I remember. Most of the houses grew this plant during my growing days; I don't see many/any now. The plant has medicinal properties as well.

Yes, why not; the plant can be grown in containers. It is a low maintenance plant; can grow even in moderate soil; little amount of fertiliser during flowering season or prior (or once in a quarter) is sufficient; watering once a day during harsh summer, and during other seasons, water as per humidity level/requirement.

See Datasheet, and also see Propagation of White Ginger Lily.

White ginger lily
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