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Happy World Environment Day 2016

Happy Environment Day 2016

As the title says, I would like to wish all of you an very happy environment day. Ideally speaking, every day of the year should be environment day isn’t it? You bet! Well we are definitely not in an ideal world. So we really need to think ways we can contribute to a greener environment. Doing your “bit” is not enough!. 364 days of abuse to the environment and you will do your “bit” for just one day? Isn’t fair.

Lets own up the mess we created and start cleaning it up. Start creating green spaces. Plant a tree where ever you can. Start with your terrace, setup a garden. Grow your own veggies. Spread the word and have more people start their own gardens. By doing this we are inspiring our kids to take on gardening and agriculture as a way of life.

World Environment Day Speech

World Environment Day Speech

My environment day started with an awareness talk on Urban farming to a very enthusiastic group of 50+ people who were part of a Patanjali Yoga Samithi. The session started at 6.30 AM and went for an hour.  I was amazed by the interested the kids showed at the event. My talk was on How to start your own terrace garden and how to take care of it.  We also discussed on Dos and Don’ts of gardening. The morning couldn’t have been better. I felt the need for awareness creation regarding growing your own food and urban farming as a whole. If we don’t do it, then who? So, I am committing to create more awareness creation sessions of this sort to ensure gardening takes on again as a hobby and a way of life.

So buckle up. We are going to the paint the town green!

Many people are inspired to start something towards a greener environment but they are not sure how. This is where awareness creation helps. If you want me to give a speech/talk on importance of urban farming and growing your own food. Please drop a note and me and my team will get in touch with you.

Please share this post to as many of your friends who stay in apartments/villas/communities.

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Growing Kale in your garden

Growing Kale: Tips on How to grow kale in your garden

Growing Kale How to grow Kale

Growing Kale – Dino Kale

Kale also known as borecole is a plant that belongs to the species Brassica Oleracea. Kale plant comes in green or purple leaves. Though it belongs to the same family of cabbage, Kale plant doesn’t form a head. Kale plant is very nutritious and is rich in iron and vitamins like A and C. Kale plant is a must have for any gardener when it comes to healthy eating.

Kale plants are very hardy and robust. They do well in different growing conditions.Kale plants also grow well in winter. Growing kale is possible in moderate soils, though they love well drained, organic matter rich soils.

Types of Kale – Kale Varieties

There are several types of kale to choose from while growing kale. These varieties are available

  1. Curly Kale  – Frilled leaves
  2. Dino Kale – Long leaves with mottled- savoy like appearance
  3. Red Russian Kale – Frilled leaves
  4. Purple Kale

Tips on How to grow Kale

Though kale is hardy, properly planting kale plants will give good harvests. Kale prefers soil that is well drained as stated above and does well in locations that receive full sun. Kale prefers temperature that is between 18-25 deg C or 65 to 75 deg F. Growing kale in temperatures outside of their optimum range will result in leaves that are bitter. One tip is to ensure the soil is covered with mulch to keep the soil/potting medium temperature lower. If you are Growing Kale in India, then the right time to start planting is during September and October. You can plant them every month to get continuous yield all winter long.

Growing Kale - How to grow Kale plants

Growing Kale – Curly Kale Plant

Planting Kale Plants

Kale plants are started from seeds. Read seed starting techniques before planting kale. For planting kale earlier in the season, you might want to start the seeds indoor to avoid frost damage in the temperate weathers. For tropics, planting kale seeds can be done at the start of the winter. Growing kale is very easy. Simply sow the kale seeds in potting mix or soil roughly about 1 cm or 0.5 inch deep. Keep the soil moist to speeden the germination process. Planting kale can be done once the weather is right. You can plant kale either in the outdoors or in a container that is big enough.

 

I planted kale by starting them from seeds. I had two varieties of Kale with me, Curly Kale and Dino Kale. Like other plants in the brassica family, kale has a shallow root system. So ensure the soil doesn’t dry out. Growing kale plants is so easy and fast. Kale plants mature in about two months. Since you are going to only harvest the leaves, kale plants leaves can be harvested as early from a month from planting.

Harvesting Kale

Kale leaves can be harvested from the bottom up. Take the older leaves and leave the younger ones in the plant for them to grow. Growing kale is so quick that you will be harvesting them sooner than you thought.

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Growing Zinnias – Tips on How to Plant Zinnias

How to grow Zinnia Flowers and Zinnia Care

Growing Zinnias - How to grow ZInnia flowers

Growing Zinnias – How to grow ZInnia flowers

Zinnia flowers (Zinnia Elegans) are very colorful and an addition to your garden that it will make it vibrant. With so many different colors and growing habits such as tall and dwarf, planting zinnias in your garden is worth it. In this article, you will learn how to plant zinnias in your garden.

Vegetables take a prominent place in my garden. Atleast they used to. Thanks to my 2 year old daughter, I have started to add flowers in my garden and Zinnia is the first one I chose because it is so easy to grow zinnias.


There are lots of zinnia varieties to choose from.
Zinnia F1 Hybrid Tall
Liliput Zinnia
Zinnia Yellow Flame

How to grow Zinnia Plants

Growing zinnia doesn’t cost you a bomb. In fact, it is so easy and cheap to grow zinnia, if you are starting the plants from seeds. Zinnia plants are started from seeds. You can plant zinnia seeds yourself or you can buy zinnia plants in a pack from your local plant nursery or a garden center.

Starting Zinnia Seeds

Seeds of zinnia flowers have to be directly sown. They can be sown in a container where it will grow or out in the ground. Once germinated, zinna seedlings don’t like their roots disturbed. Zinnia plants don’t transplant very well. So, if you wish to start growing zinnia plants indoors first, then plant them in plugs or small pots. So that while transplanting zinnias they dont get into transplanting shock.

While growing zinnia plants, remember to space them correctly. There are different varieties of zinnia plants. Liliput Zinnias are very small and they can be planted densely.Where as Zinnia  are little bigger and need lot more space between plants.

Tips on Zinnia Care

Growing-ZInnas-Zinnia-Flower-picture

Pink Double ZInnia Flower

 Once the zinnia plants have started growing, pay attention to watering them. They dont like their foliage too wet. Zinnia leaves that are too wet are prone to Powdery Mildew. This is an important point to remember when it comes to zinnia care.

Zinnia plants dont need too much water and also avoid overheat watering. Keep the foliage and the flowers dry. With right amount of watering, you can keep the zinnia plants happy and flowering for a long time.

Deadheading Zinnia Plants

Deadheading is another important aspect in growing zinnia flowers. You might be wondering “What is dead heading?”. Deadheading is a gardening term used for the removal of dead flowers or spent flowers that are withering or fading away. Deadheading is done to maintain the plants appearance and also to ensure the flowering continues. It is a known fact that when a plant produces seed from its flowers( especially in Annuals), it stops growing and reduces flowering. Production of seeds somehow concludes its purpose in the world. Amazing isn’t it?

These are some of the tips on how to grow zinnia. Not just zinnias, you can apply these to many other flowers. Now you know how to grow zinnias, you can easily make a wonderful garden with zinnias. Go! grow some zinnia flowers in your garden.

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How to grow Parsley in your garden

Information on How to grow Parsley

Growing Parsley - How to grow Parsley Parsley, known by the botanical name Petroselinum Crispum, is a herb grown for its aromatic flavor. Parsley is used in many dishes and also used as a garnish. Growing Parsley not only is useful in the kitchen but also as a beautiful ornamental plant. Parsley leaves some what resemble cilantro in appearance. The nutritious plant is rarely affected by diseases and pests.

Parsley is a biennial. In tropical places, it continues to grow as long as the weather allows it. In temperate weather, Parsley herb is treated as an annual. Parsley can be grown in containers or out in the garden. Check out this article on How to grow Parsley.

Tips on When to plant Parsley seeds

Parsley is started from seeds. They seeds are tiny and are very slow to germinate. If you are planting parsley seeds, patience is the key. Parsley seeds can take up to 20 days or 3 weeks to germinate. Germination takes longer in colder weather and shorter in warm weather. For colder climates, parsley seeds can be started indoors and planted when spring arrives. Germinating seeds is easy if you know how to sow the seeds

How to grow Parsley

Parsley seeds are very tiny, so they should not be buried. Parsley seeds should be just sprinkled over the top and a spray of water is given. Cover the seeds with a polythene film to hold the humidity in. The seeds will germinate in 3 weeks time. Because of the tiny size of the seeds, it is sometimes difficult to sow just 1 or 2. It is common that multiple parsley seeds get sown and later the parsley herb plants are thinned to one or two per pot.

Parsley herb tolerates average soil but it is recommended that it be planted in soil rich in organic matter and well draining soil when growing parsley. Always choose a location that gets full sun to partial shade when Planting Parsley. Parsley herb needs very little maintenance. Just keep the herb watered and the weeds removed. Weeds can be reduced by adding mulch around the parsley plants. If you are planting parsley in a container, ensure you have a good potting soil.

Harvesting Parsley

One of the best thing about growing parsley is that you can harvest parsley leaves through out the year. Some times the leaves will start to curl indicating the right time to harvest those leaves. For good flavor, harvesting parsley leaves in the mornings are best. Parsley leaves are best used immediately after harvest while fresh. However, freezing parsley leaves is also an option.

With these tips on how to grow parsley, you can easily add this amazing herb to your garden. You will appreciate why growing parsley at homes makes so much difference in flavor and taste.

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Growing Amaranth – How to grow Amaranth Plant in your Garden

Guide to Growing Amaranth in your garden

Growing Amaranth - How to grow Amaranth Plant

What is Amaranth ? Amaranth, a collective name for all Amaranthus plants is a short lived. Amaranth leaves, amaranth grain and amaranth stem are used for cooking. Amaranth plant is such a versatile plant that almost all parts can be consumed. Amaranth leaves are full of nutrition. Growing amaranth is fun because amaranth plant can be grown as an ornamental plant also. Amaranth flowers are brignt colored and sometimes they grow upright or trailing down. Amaranth flowers produce seed that is referred to as Amaranth grain. The leaves are used as Amaranth greens.

Amaranth in Tamil – முளைக்கீரை , Amaranth in Hindi – Chaulai. Amaranth in Kannada – Dhantu Soppu(Dhantina soppu)
There are many varieties of Amaranth. Some of them are used for Amaranth grain and some of them used for Amaranth leaves. There are also different leaf colors. There is a green variety and also a purple variety. Amaranthus tricolor is a striking ornamental plant. The following are used for grains.
    
   Amaranthus caudatus
   Amaranthus cruentum
   Amaranthus hypochondriacus
   Amaranthus retroflexus

If you want to grow amaranth plant it for Amaranth leaves, then the following amaranth varieties can be considered

    Amaranthus dubius
    Amaranthus tricolor
    Amaranthus viridis
    Amaranthus cruentus
    Amaranthus blitum
 

Amaranth Benefits

– Easy to grow
– Good source of protein.
– Gluten free

Tips on How to grow Amaranth:

Amaranth plant doesn’t demand lots of manure. Amaranth plant can handle average soil to moderately rich soil. Enrich the soil with manure or fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen. Amaranth leaves needs good amount of light. More light it receives the leaf color becomes bright.

Growing Amaranth From seeds

Amaranth plants are grown from seeds. Amaranth seeds are very tiny. So sowing them can be little tricky. Traditionally, amaranth seeds are sown by mixing the seeds with fine sand. Then the mixed sand is sprinkled over the ground or the container in which you are planning to grow amaranth.  Amaranth plants are very hardy and can tolerate average soils. They need very little care.

Harvesting Amaranth

Amaranth leaves:

When it comes to harvesting amaranth, there are two parts to it. If you are growing amaranth for its leaves, the harvest can be started just after 3 weeks from sowing. Tender leaves are much creamier and tastier. Allowing the plants to grow will result in Amaranth plants that are 7-8 feet tall. Amaranth plants develop a thick stem which is also consumed.

Amaranth grains

Amaranth grains are seeds that develop after the amaranth plant flowers. Harvesting amaranth seeds takes more time than harvesting amaranth leaves. The amaranth flower stalks start drying out when the amaranth grains are ready to harvest. If you gently rub the amaranth flower, you can notice the grains dropping out. At this point, the flowers can be cut and dried. Flowers can be beaten inside a bag to release all the grains and it can be winnowed to get the seeds to separate from the chaff.

Now that you know how to grow amaranth for its leaves and seeds, it should be easy for you to start growing amaranth in your garden.

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