Growing Okra in Pots….

Growing Okra doesn’t require a lot of space and it is easy too. Many people have less success rate with okra but if you follow few points,it is as easy as maintaining a common ornamental plant. This edible plant exhibits showy flowers, adding beauty as well as food to the garden. Not all of us in India are familiar with the name Okra, So you might even wondering “What is Okra?” But lady finger plant is something that everyone knows.

Planting an Okra Seed

Select a pot for the okra plant that is at least 10 inches in diameter. Using a large container/pot is essential for its growth.

Due to its taproot, okra doesn’t transplant well that’s why you’ll have to directly plant the seeds in the container or a biodegradable pot. Sow 2-3 okra seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep in each pot. Water with a sprayer and keep the seeds in a bright, warm place, the substrate should remain moist until seeds germinate. The germination takes 5 to 10 days after sowing. The more warmth, the faster the germination

Soil & Watering

You can use a soil less potting mix, containing equal parts sphagnum peat, sand and vermiculite, or amend garden soil with equal parts garden soil, organic matter, sand and vermiculite. The soil you use must be loamy and crumbly; it must be well draining too.You can also add a lot of compost or aged manure to provide the constant supply of nutrients to your okra plant.

Okra requires slightly moist soil. Water regularly to keep the soil uniformly moist and particularly more from the beginning of the flowering period and until the end of production.

After a month plant will start flowering. It has very beautiful yellow flower which later turned into Okra.

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Fertilization
This plant requires lots of nutrition.Mix manure in soil to provide nutrients to the plant, Also, at the time of planting, you can add balanced fertilizer if you want. Once the plant has reached the height of 6 inches, apply a dose of balanced fertilizer again.

Later on, feed the plant with low in nitrogen fertilizer to produce more flowers & fruits.

Pest control-

Watch out for aphids and mealy bugs during the growing season. Check under the leaves for signs of infestations. Aphids are usually spread by ants.

This is a beautiful vegetable to grow. Plants, flowers, fruits all add up more beauty to your garden.

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Harvesting
Okra requires frequent harvesting. It blooms about two months from planting, and the fruits appear 5-7 days after flowering. The fruits/pods are harvested when they are still tender.

“HAPPY GARDENING”

Growing brinjals in pots

That’s one of the most amazing experience i have. Growing this beautiful vegetable is all fun and all together a learning experience for me & my kid. I was able to show him how a flower can turn into a fruit. Any book will never do justice to the practical experience of life.

Growing brinjals is something everyone should try. This plant belongs to the same family of tomato & capsicum & growing them in containers is not that difficult. I called my plant a “fighter” because it had survived all the difficult times. I had this baby eggplant in small cup & i went outstation for few days. In hurry i forgot that plant in my balcony. I was expecting a dead plant but what i saw was a miracle. My this baby had survived all sunny days without water. That day i realised this plant is a true fighter & it has come to give me fruits for sure & it happened & happened so beautifully.

Every parent or an adult in this world should grow plants and also allow their children to take part in this activity. If you don’t have a garden or a backyard,all you can do is plant them in containers. This is very easy; all you need is the soil, a lay pot, some seeds and a place which will receive plenty of sunshine and air. Here are few tips for growing eggplants/brinjals in a pot:

1 Seeds:- You can choose any varieties of brinjals (from black long to black round or purple long, purple round) anything. My plant was purple long variety & it grows very well in containers. You can get seeds anywhere from a plant nursery or you can start your own seeds at home also. I have tried both ways & it worked for me.

To prepare your seed at home, all you have to do is take fresh brinjal of your preferred variety, cut it into half & squeeze out the seeds & keep it in water for sometime. Then let the seeds dry for a day & plant them.

2 Planting- Start your seeds in seed tray or plastic cups or ice cream cups. i usually prefer to plant them in small icecream cups because it is then easy to transplant them in big pots.. Take a cup. put few holes at the bottom & filled it with fertilised soil. Put two seeds in it.Cover it with soil & water it regularly till seeds germinates.

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 After your plant reaches a certain height, transplant it to big pot. This plant grows very fast so you should plant one eggplant per pot. Do not overcrowded it by putting 2-3 baby eggplant in one pot. They grow very fast & need lots of space. Soon you will find flower buds & that’s the indication that fruits will be coming soon.

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Flower:- That’s the most important stage. Eggplant flowers are very beautiful big purple flowers with yellow centre. The best part about these flowers are that they are self pollinating flowers. So possibility of getting fruit is on higher side. Still you need to look after your plant at this stage very much. Most of the time flower drops off without producing fruit. It is advised that plant should not be in any kind of stress. Soil should be moist & well drained. You can add natural fertilizer rich in potassium & calcium. That will help plant in producing more fruits. After sometime, you will notice baby brinjal coming out & that is the most beautiful sight ever.

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This baby will soon grow into beautiful brinjals. Best part about brinjals is you can harvest it at any size. Make sure skin of the fruit is glossy & soft. Don’t over ripe it otherwise it will be bitter in taste.

Pics of my brinjal plant with brinjals:-

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“HAPPY GARDENING”

Growing radishes in containers…

As we all know radish, is a root crop, and it is pungent or sweet in taste with a lots of juice. Radishes can be white, red, purple or black, and in terms of shape, it can be long and cylindrical or round. They are eaten raw, cooked or pickled.

if you want to involve your kids into gardening,radishes should be your first pick.It can be ready in just 30 days.Quick yielding vegetables are boon to the impatient gardener. And most of the kids are impatient.

Another best part is radishes can be grown in containers very well. There are many varieties of radishes, white long, white round, pink long, pink round. We can grow all of these varieties in containers.

How to grow radishes:-

I grew two varieties of radishes, one is white long & other is french breakfast radishes. You need big deep pots or buckets for white long radishes. For french radishes, use any tray which is 6 inches deep.

Planting– Radish seed can be sown just 1/2 inch deep & seed will germinate in 3-4 days. I have involved my son in whole process. From planting seeds to water it daily, from checking for pests to final harvesting.

Thinning– This stage is very important. After your seedling emerges, thin them to one. There should be enough space between the seedlings otherwise due to overcrowding, radishes will not grow. Now all you need to do is water them daily. No fertilisers are required. My radish plant after a week.

Harvesting- Radishes can be harvested in 30 days. You can keep them for 10 more days to get the bigger ones but do not keep them for more than 10 days. If you delay harvesting,  it will be starchy & bitter in taste. After 15 daysimg_20161227_073229325

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“Happy Gardening”

How about growing some potatoes in your balcony!!

The most important thing to make your child excited about gardening is choosing those fruits & vegetables that are easy for them to grow. I had planted many vegetables with my son in my balcony & believe me results were very satisfying for both of us.

One day i was explaining my son about vegetables that grows inside the soil. Though he understood it theoretically but i still wanted to explain him with examples. I went straight to the kitchen & found few seeded potatoes. The eyes were emerging from it. I told him, “Look at this potato, you can grow a plant from it & also you can grow new fresh potatoes from these few seeded potatoes” He was amazed just by the thought of it.

Growing potatoes is like a science experiment because you get involved in whole process. . Your potato can work itself as a seed. So explaining this to a kid is so exciting. During the whole process, my son’s eyes got widen as if he is observing a miracle in front of his eyes. He questions me. “Mumma how can this plant is growing so tall just from a potato?  ” Is it possible,to grow potatoes at home? “How long will it take ?”Can we see potatoes from outside also? “How do we know that potatoes have grown?& so on. I just can’t explain the excitement level of my kid.img_0840

Here i’m explaining how to grow potatoes in containers in your balcony/terrace garden:-

Chitting: Chitting is the term used for sprouting of potatoes. Usually you will find seeded potatoes in your kitchen. If you don’t have any, all you can do is just keep your potatoes in a closed paper box for few days. You can use egg tray also. In few days you can get seeded potatoes. I have a lot of sprouted potatoes in my kitchen so i skipped this chitting process.

Planting:  You need big  deep pots for this. You can use big garbage bags also. Fill your pot with potting mix only 4 inches deep. Place your sprouted potatoes. If its a small potato, place it whole. If its a big potato, cut it in two halves.Each half should have two eyes on it.Cover your potatoes with some soil . Do not fill the whole container. Within 4-5 days you find few leaves emerging from it.

These plants grows so fast that your kid will never get bored in the process because everyday will be a new experience for him. As your plant starts growing, fill your pots with some more soil, so that its stems get covered not leaves.After 15-20 days, the plant look like this.

Fertilizing– After 20 days, you should add any organic fertilizer, which is rich in potassium & Calcium. This will help in forming more stronger roots & plant will produce more tubers. Repeat the same process after 40 days also. Keep filling your pot with soil as plant starts growing. Fill it till it reaches the rim of the pot. This is how my plant with few flowering buds looks after 1 month-

Harvesting- Usually it will take 60-90 days for a potato plant to prepare for harvesting. My plant is 45 days old now.Still there are few days left for harvest. Will update my blog after harvesting potatoes.

How will you know that your plant is ready to harvest:

You plant starts making tubers after it flowers. Gradually your plant dies completely. That is the time when you should harvest your potatoes.

My son is super excited about the gardening experiments going on in our house. This is our potato story . Do try this at your home & share your experience.

How & why i introduced gardening to my kid

Arjun (My son) is an inquisitive child. He always wants to know the why’s of each & every thing. From the day, he started speaking, his questions always surprised me. This generation kids are very smart & very observing. Much beyond our imagination.

The most important thing for an inquisitive child is exposure & inputs from all fields.A kid will ask, what he observed. So if they see you giving water to plants, they will observe & ask questions related to it. Its like a chain, for your every answer,they will have a new question. In this way their horizon  of knowledge develops.

I’m not saying gardening is the only activity you should introduce to your child but it can be one of the best activity for your children. They will not only get knowledge but it will teach them a lot more. They will learn patience, taking ownership of things, be responsible.

I had introduced gardening to Arjun when he was only 3 years old. Every year we visited Arjun’s grand parent’s house. We have a farm over there. Because of that farm, Arjun could see how vegetables grow, where did he get rice from, how fruits grow. So he got an over view of the subject quite early. He started asking me more specific questions. One day he asked me why these potatoes & carrots are growing under the soil. Why leaves are green in colour? He was just  3 year old then.

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The farm visit was more like a few days picnic for us. I wanted to give him more exposure. We started growing small plants at home, I bought few plants from nursery &  told him to plant it in another pot. We bought few kids gardening tools for him. He started enjoying spending time with plants. I had observed a parenting instinct in him so early. He started caring for his plants, like we care for our children.

He get that connect with plants now which make him observe, feel & enjoy the whole process. I have given him the ownership. It is his responsibility now to take care of the plants that he grew. So every morning he observes the plant, give water to it. We grew few vegetables also &  he helped me in all stages. From sowing of seeds to harvesting.

He is now 5 years old & we share a different kind of bond together. We can enjoy an activity together. We taught him a lot about life’s important things  just by relating it to plants. Like “If you don’t care what you have, you will lose it one day” Best explained through plants, if you don’t care , don’t water your plants daily, plants will die.

Altogether what i feel is just let your kids explore. There is nothing as magical as seeing a life growing in front of your eyes. Just imagine the lifestyle of this generation kids , they have limited space, limited time, always distracted by so many gadgets. They don’t know what is the pleasure of playing in soil, get hands & clothes dirty. They have no connect with the soil  & how will they have, they are always so distracted.

Initially, may be they will not show interest. Half of the kids don’t want to even touch the soil,they feel their hands will get dirty. But once they start enjoying, there is no end.

Let your child give a way out from their gadget world to spend few minutes with their best friends for life.

“Why try to explain  miracles to your kids when you can have them plant a garden”- Robert Brault