Homes and gardens

Laying the foundation of good gardening

Gardening begins with soil preparation. If it is about growing plants in pots, then it is a case of having ready a potting mix in the right combination and packed with all the necessary nutrients. The tips are based on the shared experiences about soil care in our group, Organic Garden Foundation.

Before taking this step — the very first — it is necessary to ask ourselves three basic questions.

1. Is the soil porous and therefore, helps drain water?

2. Can the soil

retain enough moisture ?

3. Does the soil contain all the essential nutrients?

If the soil is too clayey or hardened, the roots would not spread and cannot breathe easily. The soil should also retain moisture and at the same time, make for water stagnation. In other words, the soil should not be too dry or too soggy. Moreover, if the soil is bare and does not have the necessary nutrients — Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Pottasium — it will not help in growth of the plant.

An ideal potting mix would be about having a combination of garden soil or red soil, cocopeat and composted cowdung or vermi compost along with a few micro nutrients.

The ratio to be followed here is — 1:1:1

For a 12x12 grow bag which would hold 15 kg of potting mix, we can prepare the mix in the following proportions.

1. For five kilograms of soil, have five kilograms of compost and fill the remaining portion with cocopeat.

2. Composted cowdung and vermi compost can also be added in the ratio of 2.5 kg each.

3. Along with the above micro nutrients like potash Mobiliser, Tricoderma, Azosphyrillium, and Pseudomonos can be added one teaspoon each and 100 grams of neem cake powder.

The combination of all of the above would serve as a well-balanced power-packed nutritious feed for the plant. The active microbiological processes help the plant roots absorb the required nutrients and make for overall healthy plant growth , flowering and fruiting resulting in a good yield.

Nutrients like Amirthskaraisal, Jeevamirtham, Gana Jeevamirtham, Panchagavya and waste decomposer should be administered periodically on a calendarised basis as foliar spray and also as a soil applicator.

(Raghu Kumar is an admin of the Facebook group Organic Garden Foundation)

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 5:36:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/laying-the-foundation-of-good-gardening/article33256394.ece

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