Saturday, 11 March 2017

How to plant a tomato

How to plant a tomato

planting from the pot Add calcium, bone meal and compost
Fill the side minimum 1" below ground level

water full after planting.

How to plant a fruit tree

How to plant a fruit tree .

How to plant a fruit tree on ground.

Planting a fruit tree is very important. A fruit tree has to survive for more than 30 years in cold winter and harsh summer. For that the root system has to be healthy. The organic matter in the pit is often ignored. Organic matter serves as a reservoir of nutrients, air and water,  reduces compaction and surface crusting . It increases water infiltration  into soil. It reduces clogging and increase drainage.

Diameter 18 inch depth 18inch
Make a pit  about 18 inch diameter, 18 inch depth. Fill the bottom six inch with organic matter like dried leaves, peat moss, compost   mixed with ¼ dirt.  Sprinkle 10 table spoon of bone meal inside the pit where the root will touch the soil for building healthy root system.

A pit for planting

Then place the pot plant one inch below the ground level and fill the side or gap  with:  1)compost, 2) peat moss or dried leaves or organic matter  3) dirt or soil at 1: 2: 1: ratio. If you got potting soil that can be used instead of the above. Make sure there is no air gap on the side or bottom. 
If it is grafted tree make sure the  graft is above ground
Make a raised  border around the tree to keep the water and manure 

Best time to plant a fruit tree is  2nd half of March, April and first half of May. That is the stage when trees are awakening after the dormant winter and spring towards summer season. This is based on Vancouver climate.

Please watch the first video. That will give you a better picture.
 2nd video is also helpful.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Garlic- Easy to grow in Canada and America


Why do you grow garlic in Canada and America.

It grows easily well in Canada and America. The imported garlic is grown with chemicals banned in certain countries. The imported garlic is picked much before it gets here and sprayed with methyl bromide ( a toxic substance)  which stops sprouting. When you buy these imported garlic you are doing " buy one get one free" you get frequent illness too.
Read this:

Garlic varieties are divided into two:  hard neck and soft neck. Hard neck has large cloves and cold tolerant, and delicious. Smaller soft neck cloves grow well in warmer climates is common in super markets and stores for a long period.

Highly rated varieties for BC coastal gardens are: purple softneck, Musica, Red Russian, Italian Porcelain.


Use a hoe to form 3 inch deep furrows spaced 8 inch apart. Space cloves 4 inches apart, and cover with 2 inches soil on top.

Plant garlic 2 to 4 weeks before the frost  in  fall to harvest in summer. When planted before frost, the roots will go deep and the plant will remain dormant and will start growing in spring, when weather improves.  It is better to plant in the middle of September or third week of September or beginning of October in BC,Canada.  After planting cover bed with 4 inch layer of loose straw mulch to prevent from frost and weed. However do not mulch in climates with wet, mild winters. As soon as you notice new growth pull the mulch away from the plants in to spaces between furrows.

Garlic in pots
Plant garlic 1 to 2 inch deep 4 inch apart in good potting soil.
Growing tips.

Avoid too much watering after the flower bulb is formed. The deep roots will collect water. Clear any humus that can create fungus especially close to the bulb. If the bulb is planted too deep that may cause fungus on the bulb.
Garlic leaves taste similar to garlic chives. You can cut one or two leaves off the plant as soon as they become 8 inch tall with a sharp knife.

Cut the scapes ( flower)  when they emerge from the  from the topmost  leaves just as they begin  to curl. Removing scapes encourages the bulbs to grow bigger.
When half the leaves have yellowed use garden fork and loosen the soil pull it out.

After harvesting mature bulbs tie six plants together and hang them in warm, dry, shady spot for 3 to 4 weeks until the papery wrappers are very dry. Use used tooth brush to remove excess soil and trim the roots. Keep the bulbs in cool, dry , non frost spot for around six months to one year. Keep them  in net nylon bags in open cartons. Garage without heating may be a better spot. 

You can easily grow them in your backyard or pots. The shoots in spring  in Canada and America look so beautiful when there is no much greenery around. Moreover you will get organic pesticide free and chemical free garlic too.

Read this  to know how good is  imported garlic we get in super markets.Ref:

useful video

Saturday, 9 April 2016

How to start a vegetable garden

How to start a Kitchen  garden?

Have you ever considered growing your own vegetable garden? Perhaps you may not know how to grow one, you may think there is no time, you may think there is no space to plant. The reasons may be too long. But look at the expression of vegetable garden owners. “ there is an intense flavor in my home grown vegetables” “They are fresh and delicious” “No pesticides”” Organic” “Self-reliant” “satisfaction of eating your own produce is immense” “I love peace and solitude in my garden” “Look at the miracle of a tiny seed growing to big plant” “It revitalize the energy, be with nature, what a privilege!”  “Bye-bye to frequent illness, and avoid diabetes, and cancer” "I am happier and healthier now"  Do you want to be happy and healthy   as these gardeners?
Michelle Obama.
She learned first   how to garden and then started  teaching
gardening to students in White house garden

You don’t require rocket science to become a good gardener. A little thirst for knowledge, patience, and love of nature will make you master gardener.

Start  small

One of the common errors for beginners do is planting too much too soon without knowing  how, when and what to grow. It is better to be proud small gardener than a frustrated big one.  So start small.

Tips to start

1.   Location. Select a sunny location. Vegetables require 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.  The more the sunlight they receive, the greater they grow well.
2.   Soil. Plant in good soil. Read the detailed portion.

3.   Space your crops properly. Plant  them in  in required distance. Follow and planting space guide on seed packets. Plants too close  may  not grow well due to lack of sunlight, water  air and nutrition.

4.   Use good quality seeds

Swiss Chard
The life of any garden is in the soil. Rich soil consists of humus or organic matter which will provide pockets or “pore space” for air and water.

 When new homes are built or during construction the rich organic top soil is removed by machine and bottom soil from the hard pan are exposed. The first step is to remove the hardpan soil and add 2 ft of top soil or add some organic matter on top.

Take care of soil, soil will take care of the plant.

The most important resource in any garden is the soil, in which the plants grow.  Any soil may support plant, but good soil increase the health, strength and beauty of the plant. Fertile soil is well-drained, aerated and rich in organic matter rich in micro-organisms and bacteria. It should help water retention, nutrient retention; provide plant food, support   and thermal insulation.  Digging will improve drainage, and adding organic matter will improve the soil texture and beneficial bacteria.

There are different soil types. 

There are sandy, clay, loam, peat and silty soil

Type of soil
How  to improve
Very slow to drain water, heavy and difficult to work. Surface cracks in dry weather
Improve drainage, Dig and add organic matter, add lime,
Light and very free. Drains very fast and nutrients are drained fast.
Add organic matter  and fertilizer
Add organic matter  and fertilizer if/ as required
Very acidic, slow to drain. Lacks nutrients. Add lime  as required to control PH
Improve drainage. Add lime
Soil is slow to drain, heavy and difficult to work like clay. Surface cracks in dry weather
Dig to add organic matter. Fertilize as required.

 The soil pH

The degree of acidity and alkalinity (the pH) of the soil determines the nutrients absorption by the plant. The soil acidity and alkalinity are measured on a scale of pH ranging from 0 to 14. A pH below indicates acid soil and above 7 is alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. Most plants grow in between 5.5 and 7.5 pH.
How to improve the soil

Humus or organic matters are essential to improve soil and sustain plant growth.  It is the life of the soil By adding organic matter regularly will improve drainage, fertility, and increase water retention of the soil. The decomposing of the organic matters will improve bacteria and microorganism of the soil.   To keep the soil fertility apply organic matters regularly like  composts, dry leaves, wood mulch, and coir pit, leaf cuttings, grass clippings  etc. to soil.  Producing your own compost from household waste will give you manure as well as solve the problem of waste.  To maintain the same level of fertility, it should be remembered, “Whatever comes out of soil should go back to the soil”. Or else it will lead to depletion.

 Garden  Tools.

1) Garden hand fork
2) Trowel

3) Garden fork
4) gloves
5) Homi digger ( A very good Korean garden tool)
6 ) Pruning scissors
7) Water can


Decide what you want to grow. Categorize your requirements.

1.   Herbs- Mint, Parsley, celery, coriander, oregano, rosemary

2.   Leaves- Kale, Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, spinach

3.   Roots- Potatoes, beet root, carrot, radishes.

4.   Beans- bush beans, pole beans, broad beans.

5.   Onions, garlic, shallots, chives

6.   Tomatoes- Cherry tomato, Roma, medium, big. 

7.   Squash and pumpkin, zucchini,cucumber

8.   Others: Chilly, capsicum, red spinach, bitter gourd

9.   Fruit trees. Plum, apple, blueberry, strawberry, grapes, raspberry.
Designing a vegetable bed

Making a raised veg garden.

Raised bed structure
Raised bed veg garden solves   a lot of problems.  It warms up even quicker in winter, reduce weeds and stops roots from other trees . It keeps well drained soil rich of oxygen for the roots.

Don’t make your bed more than 4 feet wide.  You can easily reach the garden from outside without stepping inside the wee drained soil.
How to make a raised bed? See the video

 Container garden. Please see separate chapter.

Watering plants

Watering is crucial to the plants for their growth, health and prevention of disease. Air temperature, soil type, cloud cover, wind, natural precipitation, and plant maturity all determines the amount of water and how often you will need to water.

It is better to water in the morning before day warms up. If watering in the evening the water or humidity remains on the foliage and if temperature drops down below 12 Deg C it will damage the leaves, and promotes fungus and other diseases.

Saturate the roots
Water the soil. Soak fully the roots not the leaves. Soaking will promote the roots to go deeper and save the plant from draught. Over watering may result in draining the nitrogen from the soil.
Insulate soil with mulch or organic matter like straw, hay etc. to hold the moisture and prevent weeds.

Foliar feeding

It is better to be done in the morning.

You can do wonders. Gardening improves your happiness, health and wealth as well as your family and community. Your contribution can change the world. Wish you happy gardening.

For further Reading. See        karshakan school

Click "Discussions" to see the videos.

Frozen home grown fruits ( grapes and gold plum)
for winter smoothies and juice

Saturday, 28 November 2015

How to grow curry leaves in India and North America

How to grow curry leaves in India and North America.

Curry leaves plant is a native to Indian subcontinent. It's leaves are aromatic sweet and pungent.

Vancouver - In summer the plant is  kept outside house

Growing conditions.
Curry leaves love warm humid climate. Now it is getting popular in cold countries like UK,USA and Canada. In colder zones it should be planted in containers and taken indoors in winter months.  It is found the plant is very healthy when it is kept outside sunny spots in backyard or front of the house in summer months from May 15 to September 30. Take it indoors when the temperature drops to 10 deg C in the night. If exposed to cold temperature of the night  and frost, the plant may die.

How to grow in India
Take a pit one foot deep one foot diameter. Mix dolomite lime 400 gm with the soil. After one week add cowdung or sheep dung half bucket, quarter bucket coconut peat, 2 handful of neem cake. Neem cake is a fertilizer as well as organic insecticide. Mix all together and plant the curry leaf plant.
If in terrace use big bucket instead of grow bag. The plant has to survive for years.  There are plants which is 35 years old in buckets. Use cowdung or sheep dung half bucket, quarter bucket coconut peat, 2 handful of neem cake. Neem cake is a fertilizer as well as organic insecticide. Half bucket of soil. Mix all together and plant the curry leaf plant.
The most important resource in any garden is the soil, in which the plants grow.  Any soil may support plant, but good soil increase the health, strength and beauty of the plant. Fertile soil is well-drained, aerated and rich in organic matter rich in micro-organisms and bacteria. It should help water retention, nutrient retention; provide plant food, support   and thermal insulation. 
Use diluted panchagavyam, fish manure or amino acid once in two weeks. Make a simple green tea, dilute and apply every two weeks.
How to make green tea
Use peanut cake, neem cake and cowdung in a proportion of 1:1: 10. ie one portion of peanut cake, one portion of neem cake,  and 10 portion of cowdung. Mix together. Add water to dilute. Keep for   4 to 7 days.  Dilute while applying. Apply one foot away from the stem.
Enjoying the summer outside the house in Vancouver
 If you find it difficult to get peanut cake and neem cake, just buy some raw peanut, soak for 6 hours in water and grind it. Add with cow dung and water. Keep for 4 to 7 days. Dilute and apply.
Don’t over water the plant. Too much water will encourage fungal growth.

Some people tried diluted curd, fermented sambar etc on plants on ground and found it promotes better growth. Anyway keep them little away from stem. Monitor daily to avoid fungal growth.

How to grow in North America and Canada.
Use  a  self-watering container  and potting mix to plant the curry leaf plant.

How to make potting mix in Cold countries for container garden.
Self watering pot from Walmart
Use 1:1:1:1 proportion of pre-soaked 1) Coir peat or peat moss, 2) vermiculate or perlite,  3) compost and 4) soil .If you want to be lighter you can use  1:1:2  proportion of 1) Coir peat or peat moss, 2)vermiculate or perlite  and 3) compost  . No soil. Add a handful of slow releasing fertilizer.   If you cannot do this use potting mix from some reputed companies available in garden shops.

The most important resource in any garden is the soil, in which the plants grow.  Any soil may support plant, but good soil increase the health, strength and beauty of the plant. Fertile soil is well-drained, aerated and rich in organic matter rich in micro-organisms and bacteria. It should help water retention, nutrient retention; provide plant food, hold tree and support thermal insulation. 

How to make potting soil video- click here
Use nitrogen rich fertilizer occasionally in a month or two. Don’t fertilize in dormant stage of the plant ie in winter.
Don’t over water the plant in winter. Too much water will encourage fungal growth.

Cut the leaves with a pruning scissor or knife.

 The self watering pot from Walmart Vancouver.
This is a good container.

During heavy rain you may come across black spots. Apply pseudomonas bio pesticide 10 gram with glue  on the leaves.  Other insect is that eats the leaves. Apply a mixture of neem oil, kandari chilli, and garlic.

Additional Tips
1.       Don’t overwater it especially in winter.
2.       Don’t plant it in windy spots.
3.       Use sunny spots outside the house in summer. Don’t place the container in windy spots.
4.       Plant in small container and upgrade the size as the plant grows.
5.       Place it on window sills inside the house in winter.
Beginning of pest attack. Leaf with water dew like liquid, sticky,  later will become white colour
6.       Apply  compost rich in nitrogen.

The plant can be propagated by root cuttings (sucker plants) and from seeds. Sow the seeds in good quality potting soil.

Dried seed- the black one.

curry leaves in winter- Spray diluted (with water )buttermilk or fermented kanji vellom (rice water)

See the youtube video  for further knowledge

How to make potting soil for container gardening
Pruning and harvesting

How to make DIY potting mix