GARDENING WHILE LOCKED DOWN

The transition from spring to summer is the time to replace winter flowering plants with plants that bloom in summer. It is a busy time for garden lovers and a boom time for nurseries and garden shops. Thanks to Corona and subsequent lock down, all sellers are closed and preparations of summer flowers have been thwarted. No seeds, no seedlings! We are going to miss Zinnias, Balsams, Portulacas, Sunflowers and the likes. Is there something one can do? Will our beds & pots remain high and dry? Not really.

KITCHEN

Many planting materials are available right in your kitchen and with the vegetable seller, the latter being open. Read on to know what and how to grow.

POTATOES

Potatoes are great to grow in beds as also in pots.They will yield not only greenery and potatoes itself, but pretty flowers, too, though not as showy as our regular summer flowers.

TO BEGIN

I am sure you have built up an emergency stock of potatoes for the lock down period. Just take it out and have a look. Many of the potatoes would have sprouted and look like the picture below. Left to itself, each sprout would grow up into a plant. But why use the entire potato when we just the need the sprout.

POTATO SPROUTS

DIVIDING THE POTATO

So, you take a knife and scoop the bud out of the potato.

SCOOPING THE SPROUTED BUD-1

See the picture above and below. Following this method, you could make four or 5 plants out of one potato and will still be left with enough of the potato to make potato curry.

SCOOPING THE SPROUTED BUD-2

Bury the sprouted bud about 2 to 3 inches (50-75 mm) in prepared soil in pot or in bed as you want. Sprinkle water very lightly. In 3 to 4 days, the plant will show up.

Potato plants yield, cute small sized flowers too, as seen in the picture below.

POTATO FLOWER

WHERE ARE THE POTATOES

You need to dig the potatoes up. The small sprout you put in should give you a bunch of potatoes.

POTATOES ARE UNDERGROUND

CILANTRO/CORIANDER

CORIANDER WHOLE SEED

Coriander seeds are an essential part of any Indian kitchen. In North India, they call it “Dhania”. The seeds are the seeds (or the fruit) of the plant named “Cilantro”. Take a cup full of the whole seeds, as shown in the following picture. If you have powdered “dhania” only, you can get the seeds easily from your local grocery shop.

ZOOMED IN VIEW OF A WHOLE CORIANDER SEED-
About 2mm in Diameter.

Take a few seeds in the palm of your hand and pressing the palms of the hands together, give a rubbing motion. Most of the seeds will split into two halves. See the picture below.

SEED SPLIT INTO TWO

Do this for all the seeds. After you are done, your bowl of seeds will look as below.

SEEDS READY TO SOW

Sow the seeds now, as you usually sow any other seed. You can put into pots or beds. as you like.

Cilantro germinates very fast, requires good sunshine and you know what to do with its fragrant leaves,

CILANTRO PLANT IN BLOOM

GINGER

Ginger is another veggie of daily use and its planting material is available right in your kitchen. It grows underground and and loves to proliferate.

GINGER PIC SHOWING ITS BUDS

The two pointed things you see on either side of the ginger pieces above are its buds. These are going to grow into full plants, above ground, while Ginger that you use, proliferates underground. All you need to do is to bury Ginger pieces, like above, about 2 to 3 inches (50-75 mm) below ground, water regularly and wait and watch your Ginger plant come up as depicted in the picture below. Again you can grow in pots or in beds.

GINGER PLANT

RED CHILLY

Red chilli is an easy and great plant to grow. It provides the chilli for your food and the plant has great decorative value too, provided you dont pluck the chillies and let them turn red.

For planting material, again, you need to go so far as your kitchen and find what you see below:

DRIED WHOLE RED CHILLIES
SHELL and SEEDS SEPARATED.

Take a bowl of these things and crush them. Return the red shells to your kitchen for use in curries and retain the seeds. You have now chilli seeds without having to go out of your home.

CHILLI SEEDS

Sow the seeds as you would sow any other seed, give it water and sunshine, until you have the wonderful plants depicted below.

CHILLI PLANT

MINT or “PUDINA”

Just in case, you didnt know, the so called ‘green chutney’ is made from leaves of ‘mint ‘plant’. It is really easy to grow.

MAKING CUTTINGS

Buy a bunch of fresh looking “pudina” from you veggie seller. Separate the stems as shown in the picture above. Using a sharp knife, remove the 5 to 6 leaves from the lower end of the stem. Take care to cut the leaf about 2 mm away from the stem.

DEVELOPING ROOTS ON CUTTINGS

Put the stems in a glass half full of water. Keep it a partially shady location. In a few days (3 to 5), the cuttings will throw roots. They would be visible through the glass. You can then, take the cuttings out and plant them into soil=again in pots or beds, as you like. Plant 2 cuttings for every plant you want, because cuttings developed in water have high mortality.

With plenty of sun and fair amount of watering, you should get loads of this fragrant and tasty herb.

GROWN UP PLANT

TOMATOES-to be added

SMILE A WHILE

A Man Worked at a Gardening Factory

At this gardening factory, at the back, there was a large pile of dirt. All the employees were told they could have as much of this dirt as they wanted or needed.

This specific man would take on wheelbarrow of dirt out of the factory each day. The security guard began to get suspicious, thinking that this man was hiding something in the dirt. On the 7th day of this, the guard confronted him. The man happily allowed the guard to search the wheelbarrow. This continued for years, the guard just absolutely *sure* this man was stealing something. Every day, he’d search the man’s wheelbarrow, and every day, nothing.

After 20 years of working for this gardening company, the man retired. As he left for the final time, the guard made a final plea.

“Look man, I won’t get you in trouble or anything, but If I don’t know, it will haunt me forever. Please, tell me. What are you stealing?”

The man looked up at him and smiled before speaking a single word.

“Wheelbarrows.”

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