… is now, so start that garden today, says Hema Vijay
The rains have been kind to the city in the last few weeks, and now is the best time to set up or expand your garden. The sowing season for our part of the world theoretically extends up to the month of February. But by sowing now, you can maximise on your garden’s growth and yield.
“Specifically, it is best to sow seeds or plant saplings at sundown, maybe between 4 to 6 p.m. in the evening. This gives time for the seed or sapling to acclimatise itself before experiencing the heat of the day. And planting in September/October ensures that the growing plant needs less post-plantation care from us, as nature takes care of it largely in these months”, says Dr. R. Pauline Deborah, Professor of Plant Biology, Women’s Christian College. Just before sowing, soaking the seeds in panchagavya or cow urine (both of which may be sourced from country medicine shops and a few nurseries) for about 10 minutes, bestows germ resistance to the emerging plant.
Almost every plant that can be grown in our region can be planted now. This includes vegetable yielding creepers like the various gourds, greens, flowers and fruit and nut yielding trees. Even plants like beans, cauliflower, rose etc, which are otherwise hard to grow in Chennai, will come up well during this season.
“For creating the plant bed for sowing, dig a two feet hole and lay a half-foot layer of coconut husk or sugarcane baggasse and cover it up with a soil mixture of one part manure, one part river sand and two parts red earth. This will help the soil retain optimum moisture”, says S. Indrakumar, veteran horticulturist and president, Home Exnora. And finally, it is advisable to sow the seeds/plant saplings along a straight line, so that you will not get confused if the plant that pops out of the soil surface is a weed or the plant you sowed.