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How to keep your plants healthy
Mar 17, 2015
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How to keep your plants healthy


While some people are naturals at gardening, others are not. And plants can be really confusing at times, given so many different kinds of soil or fertilizers. But don't lose heart. Like you learn different languages, music or dance, gardening too is an acquired skill.


Poet PB Shelley had once said, "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" Reinstating the poet's line, albeit in a different perspective, it could very well be a signal to all those green thumbs who have been planning a makeover for their balcony garden. For this is the time to replace your Petunia, Cineraria, Calendula, Chrysanthemum, Marigold and Dahlia with Periwinkle, Zinnia, Portulaca, Gomphrena, Calliopsis, Lily etc and enjoy a prolonged display.

 

Container gardens could also be a solution for those staying in rented apartments.Vegetables like cucumber, bitter gourd, pumpkin, chillies or even watermelon can be easily planted in pots and grown slowly through summer.

 

Trust us, it's not just fun, but really satisfying! You can't turn the sun off, can you? It's not just humans who suffer in the heat of summer, plants too need prop er hydration and care. And with some precautions, the sea son can be really good for your plants. So, before the plants and shrubs you tended to all winter wither in the scorching heat, here are a few tips to keep your greens healthy and blooming this summer.

 

POT POLICY

 

Now that the temperature is gradually soaring, it's time for a soil check.

 

Potted plants can be kept in a cluster. That way, they will face sun from one side only.

 

The plant soil should get more nutrients in summer to sustain high growth and extra energy that is required after the dormant winter.

 

Apply manures like cow dung, bone dust, vermicompost, hoofs and horns and oil cakes once in two to four weeks.

 

The morning sun is best for potted flowers and vegetables.

 

PLANT CARE

 

Sometimes, plants attract pests.Apply pesticides, preferably natural ones.

 

Indoor plants do not require direct sunlight. But make sure they get at least bright natural light.

Sprinkle water twice a day for terrace plants. In case of potted plants, allow excess water to run out from the bottom of the pot into a saucer placed below.

 

Plants should be pruned occa sionally to remove damaged parts and to help fresh growth.

 

Plants should never be permitted to wither. You can also cover the top layer of the soil with mulch (decaying leaves, bark or compost, spread around or over a plant to enrich or insulate the soil), containing wooden pieces, twigs, dead plant leaves etc. It will not only provide extra fertilizer for the soil, but will also help retain moisture. Small pebbles may also be used to cover the soil from losing moisture. Sometimes, to make the leaves shine, wipe it with a soft, damp cloth.

 

FERTILIZERS

 

While planting a sapling or shifting it to a bigger pot, you can either use manure or water-soluble feed each week to 10 days all throughout summer.If you don't add nutrients to the soil at regular intervals, plants in containers, pots and hanging baskets will suffer.

 

Fertilizers are now available in various forms like powder, pelletssticks and liquids. Pellets sticks are the easiest to use. Liquids dissolved in water are best for house plants as they are evenly distributed throughout the potting medium to all roots.

 

Vegetables like chillies, pumpkins and brinjals often require extra manure for healthy growth.

 

RIGHT CROPS FOR SUMMER

 

Certain vegetables thrive well even in pots. You can either grow them in deep pots (12-18 inches in depth) or use planter boxes instead. However, it is very important to choose the right vegetables -the ones whose roots don't grow very deep. Get started if you want to grow vegetables at home.Cucumber, bitter gourd, pumpkin, watermelon, lady's finger, a variety of chillies and brinjal are best to plant this season. "For the proper growth of vegetables in your balcony, the pot size should be of 8-10 inches," advises Dr Rahman.

 

SUMMER BLOSSOMS

 

Summer adds colour and beauty to a garden because it is time for blossoms. It also means more heat and high humidity.Therefore, germination of the seeds becomes faster in the humid and warm soil. Bright indirect light usually is sufficient to encourage good flowering. It is good time to plant some flowering saplings like Periwinkle, Zinnia, Portulaca, Gomphrena, Calliopsis, Amaryllis lily et al.


source : thetimesofindia