Stuck at home during the lockdown? How about spending some time with the nature? Let us start gardening, protect our lush-green plants during summer and get some positive vibes! Science has stated that gardening is one of the coolest exercises, which promotes positive energy by relieving stress and enhances our mood. It’s April, the sun has started to go harsh and now it’s time for us to take care of our plants and trees in the garden—filled with fruits and flowers—and to protect them from this rising temperature. Here are some ways in which you can protect your plants in the garden:
- Fixed Watering Routine: Watering the plants is very important, especially during summers. But oh, remember not to water too much! Have a fixed watering routine—this would help the plant in establishing deep roots and will avoid roots to be on the surfaces. The vegetable plants need to be specially taken care of. Be sure to water your vegetable plants according to their needs.
On extremely hot days, you must water the plants deep, either at night or early morning, so that water doesn’t evaporate quickly. You may also sprinkle water on the leaves after sunset, but do not do this often as this may lead to fungal infections in plants.
Feed Your Plant: A healthy plant needs healthy roots, healthy roots need healthy soil and healthy soil needs us to ensure it is full of good nutrients, is well watered and gets some good sun and air. A good soil already has some organic ingredients like the good fungi, bacteria, insects, etc.; that provides nutrients to plants. Ornamental plants rarely require extra fertilizers; however, crop plants require a lot of additional food, which can be a mix of animal wastes, neem cake, vermiculite etc.
Mulch: Mulching creates a physical barrier between the soil and the atmosphere, thereby insulating the roots from extreme heat and preventing water evaporation. Spreading a 2-inch thick layer of wet or dry grass, or dried leaves or husk over your soil is one of the best things you can do for your garden. If this is not available, you can also go for old newspapers, cardboards or your online delivery boxes by wetting them. This would create a cooler micro-climate within the garden beds.
Shades: Giving your plants a little shade during the hottest hours of the day, especially vegetables and soft medicinal herbs, helps in extending their life and increases productivity. Keep your plants in shade between 11am to 3pm to give them some relief from the harsh sun rays. For tomato plant, you can cover the 50% of the plant with white shades, 70% of the delicate plants can be covered with green shades. Morning sunshine is always the best for the plants.
New Plants: If you plan to add new plants to your garden, plant them on a cloudy day and make sure that they have sufficiently been watered. You can also increase your plant’s survival rate by using a combination of half mulch, half potting mix. You can plant aromatic herbs such as Mint, Tulsi, Lemon grass, Lavender, Oregano, Ginger, and Rosemary etc. You can consider summer flowering for your garden, for example Jasmine, Lilly, Lotus, or different types of night blooming plants like Quisqualis, Polyanthus All these are summer plants and will create a soothing fragrance in your garden. In vegetables, Tomato, Lady’s Finger, Eggplant, Cucumber, Bottle Guard etc. are also a good choice. Basils, Amarant, Sorrel are also a good option for leafy vegetables.
Harvest crops: Ensure that you visit your garden regularly and examine your plants. Go out regularly and examine your plants. Collect the vegetables as well, so that your plant isn’t burdened with the weight of fruits and veggies. Over ripe fruits and vegetables may cause fungal infections.
Weeding: Weeds absorb all the precious moisture and nutrients from your plants. They are very tough and manage to flourish even though the worst conditions. Also, they attract pests, diseases and infections that cause harm. Instead of spraying any chemicals, they should be removed from the roots. The smaller the weed, the easier it is to destroy. Summer is the time when you can compost weeds, because in high temperatures, it will naturally destroy the seeds of weeds.
This article is written by Ms. Kanchan Vishwakarma, Horticulturist, IIM Indore.