Trying Summer and welcome rains 2013

Flickers of  nagging plagued me for weeks, reminding my absence from the blog posts. I must admit that I was active on the much maligned social network,  posting about gardening and social activism ( mainly about water  and power supply issues of our local areas). I was also kept busy with health issues, family gatherings and a few weddings. If you think I have neglected my Terrace garden, you are very right I did.

One silver lining was that I had time to rethink on my gardening strategies. I am tired of procuring various stuff like cow dung , urine , sugar cane juice etc etc and make Panchagavya and other organic plant fertilizers. My domestic help too was playing tough, and finally the cow went away from the neighbourhood, much to my helper’s relief.  I am out of making Panchagavya or Jeevamrithum, which are now readily available in our city , every other day of the week.

Luckily I found a milk supplier who has agreed to deliver the raw materials, if I need. I am humoring him by ordering milk from his Goshala , though I find it fairly diluted with water (hope he is using good water and not borewell). There you have it, when one door closes , other opens.

The next step was to experiment with the much publicised Compost tea. One fine day, I scouted for the fish tank aeration pump, with the help of a nice auto driver, who knew where it could be bought. It is strange, how the easiest tasks of yesteryears, become difficult when one is getting advanced in years and lacks transport for easy mobility. On the other side, the city auto drivers are kind enough to take me to various places and wait for me to finish the purchases. The advantages of old age and cheap transport.

That accomplished, I went ahead and started the Compost tea. Faithfully I also added a few drops of my home – made fish amino acid( Christian Alvares Luzong inspired) , and earned disgusting looks from the family. I was requested  to shift the concoction to the Terrace and save them the perils of my experiment.  However, watching  those lovely air bubbles , gave immense inspiration and strength to stand firm. It seems that the plants too love the spray of the Tea and they are responding well.

Meanwhile, the papaya gave some more fruits. The Jasmine plants gave a good harvest.,and still doing so. the old brinjal plants also revived. The Ivy gourd is happy with the tea.   I have seen some beans too coming up with vigour, along with a few capsicum plants.

papaya!! 003

summer heat 2013 010 summer heat 2013 011 summer heat 2013 012 summer heat 2013 013 summer heat 2013 025 summer heat 2013 026 summer heat 2013 031 summer heat 2013 032 summer heat 2013 033 summer scanty garden June after rains 2013 001 June after rains 2013 004

Whatever this plant is, it is relishing the drink.

summer heat 2013 036

The sad episode which marred the joy of early  arrival of the rains,  was the uprooting of my dear Gulmohar tree of 30 years. It was a blow to the tree, and to my sense of  being eco-friendly , when the strong winds brought the tree down  on our compound and balcony, damaging electric and telephone wires. Those winds  of 4th / 5th June 2013 , damaged many  such trees  in the city . As if that was any consolation for me.  The electricity department expressed their inability to help us, and we had to get costly private help, and a very stressful time to get it cut and disposed, without major damage to our house. I feel a sense of loss.

2013-04-11 07.38.32

But there is always a beginning once the rains arrive and cools down the atmosphere. The materials supplied by the A.P. Horticultural Department is to good use. I prepared Amrit Mitti during the summer and have started greening the heap. Mitti for the new seedlings for the year 2013.

June after rains 2013 003

June after rains 2013 002

Hope to keep the blogging instincts alive , along with the Terrace Garden.

About gardenerat60

As you guessed, I am a retired executive, looking for hobbies. Stumbled into gardening after reading blogs. Always wanted to use eco-friendly items in daily life. So, there was no heistation in deciding to put the vast terrace balcony to use for organic garden.
This entry was posted in Beans, Brinjal, capsicum, Garden after rains, Gourds, growing papaya, Jasmine, monsoon, Panchagavya, terrace garden, Tree cutting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Trying Summer and welcome rains 2013

  1. I was about to close my PC when the mail arrived. So happy to see you updating the blog after long time. I am so sorry for Gulmohur, one of my favorite trees, since my childhood. But they are notoriously shallow rooted in South India and are one of the first to go in strong winds.

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Thanks Prasad. You are the first too!

      I usually post at this hour, since the house is quiet and the no phone calls and door bells to disturb. Peaceful ‘my time’.

      I recall Ramachandra Guha’s edited a book on M.Krishnan,a naturalist,where in Krishnan had expressed his displeasure that we grow those trees (Gulmohars )from Africa! He was advocating for trees native to India.

      • M Krishnan is my favorite, I read his original book as a child…There is a book by Pradip Kishen, where he talks about all trees found in Delhi both Native as well as naturalized like Gulmohur.

      • gardenerat60 says:

        I heard about Pradeepji’s book. It is about the trees on the NCR ridge , I heard. Would love to read it, if I can get one copy.(Sigh).

  2. The papaya looks lovely 🙂 Here, there is no fear of damage to trees, we need to be careful only with rare cyclones like Neelam. Isn’t there anyway to prevent trees from falling down during such times? They take so many years to grow and it’s a loss if they keep falling like this!! Hope to see increased frequency of posting from your side 🙂

    Destination Infinity

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Thanks Rajesh for encouraging me. It was multiple factors that led to writer’s block ( great words ha).
      YEah, as I have mentioned in comments of Desi traveler, that tree is not our native one. It has shallow roots.

      And by the way we had cyclone in 2000 ., in Hyderabad. Cars and computers were floating in drainage nalas in front of my house.:-(

  3. jaishvats says:

    Hi pattu
    Had no idea thatpanchagaviyam would be used for plants . Thought it was used to purify people like women who just delivered etc 🙂 sorry about ur gulmohar tree . Every time I read abt ur garden I can only think ‘wow ‘

  4. Kiran K Malla says:

    Papaya and Cucumber are nice. Sorry for Gulmohar Tree. It is one of my favorite flowering plants.

  5. Sugunasri says:

    congratulations on your new experiments…Keep it up Ms. Patturaj …

  6. I’m so very sorry to hear about your Gulmohar Tree…I can believe that is a very big loss. You’ve been missed, and I am glad you’ve just jumped back into the blogosphere. Your photos are really nice, and good for you for your compost tea–even if it didn’t exactly get rave reviews from the family! 🙂

  7. Jeevan says:

    That’s good about the auto drivers there… and all are not troublesome until we pay their requested fee. Your experiment with gardening is inspiring. The summer has killed few of our plants while we were away at vacation and we also prevent working on gardening in new house as we still experience extreme heat waves in day time. Glad it rained there, but very sorry for the Gulmohar which is also my favorite tree and used to attract many birds.

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Yes Jeevan. They do demand tampered meter fees. I look at the meter racing and try to control my anxiety. I also calculate how troublesome it would be to travel by car to the markets. Then my anxiety disappears.:-)

  8. Jayanthi Vijayendran says:

    Hi Pattu, good to read your post after a long time. Sorry about the Gulmohar tree, their fiery red flowers add so much colour to summer. Incidently, in one of the TLC shows on TV, I saw a person from one of the villages in N.E.India, prepare a curry with Gulmohar flowers, just like we prepare any other sabji, with tadka and haldi, mirchi!! I remember eating the buds in our childhood, they had a sweet-sour taste. Have to look up a lot of things, such as compost tea and amrit mitti……..interesting things to know.

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Hi Jayanti. Thanks. Yeah, I too remember eating the flower parts in childhood!. A lovely memory now.

      I simply took one flower, while those men were chopping the tree, and preserved it. Then felt bad and let it fly away. We need to let go, I suppose.

      Do let me know about your findings on Compost tea. Amrit mitti is totally awesome, though cumbersome to prepare.:-). Now it smells so good, I keep picking out one handful and inhale:-)

  9. aamjunta says:

    Very well written. Now, I should also try gardening…

  10. Rachna says:

    So nice to see a post from you Pattu after a long time. And glad to see that your terrace garden is making progress. Lovely pictures.

  11. meowpurr says:

    I am waiting for my pink jasmine to flower. The compost tea and panchagaivyam! Wow you are such a deep gardener as i can see from all the lovely harvest. Good luck. Sorry about the gulmohar though!

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Thanks Devi for the encouragement. I would love to smell those pink jasmines( Chameli). Now that monsoons have set in, they start flowering here in August.

  12. magiceye says:

    Good to see you back!! As also the rejuvenation of your plants. Sorry about the gulmohar though.

  13. mpuppal says:

    Welcome back Pattu! You were really missed. Glad to see the lovely pictures of your thriving garden.

  14. My Say says:

    happy to see you back Ma’m !!
    only recently I found .. you had posted on IndiBlogger 4 days back
    loved the pictures of the fruits of your love and dedication !! Inspiring !

  15. Malou says:

    What a lovely garden you have out there! One thing that I miss a lot is having a papaya tree. They grow in abundance in the Philippines and the fruit is very versatile ripe or unripe. I love making pickles from the unripe papaya or cooking them with coconut cream as vegetable. I love the ripe ones too as a healthy dessert. 😉

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Thanks Malou. Yes, Phillipines has number of fruits and vegetable growers , who are doing wonderful organic farming. We have many people in our facebook forum, who encourage us to follow their methods.They are doing commendable jobs.

  16. dilipnaidu says:

    Yes “Trying summer and welcome rain” is what we in Pune too went thru’ 🙂

  17. arati says:

    always sad to lose a tree, though the gulmohar is not native to the region, hence more prone to falling in the rain. .. such incidents should make the authorities more inclined to planting native trees that can withstand the weather more. the other aspect to consider is to make sure the branches are not felled to a side, leaving the tree a bit ‘mis-balanced’

  18. Indrani says:

    So good to have a post from you after so long! i liked your concern for trees and I too feel sorry for the Gulmohar tree. Keep updating us on your garden. 🙂

  19. arati says:

    thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments.

  20. Very sorry about your gulmohar tree, We had a copper pod tree very close to the house which was damaging the structure and had to get it felled; I understood then that the loss of a tree can be felt like that of a person.
    Your gardening experiments are very encouraging especially when you post such great results

    • gardenerat60 says:

      I am touched Vidya, when I read about your experience in felling a tree to protect the house. It was a sad day indeed.

      I am back on full swing, sowing and raising seedlings. They all look cute and wanting to come up!. Thanks for the encouraging words.It keeps me going.

  21. kayemofnmy says:

    Your photographs added to this wonderful story. Is it hard work preparing all those solutions? I am interested to know from you what kind of composting is simple and possible for everyone to do as I feel the soil in cities, soaked through with all those deadly poisons thanks to the lack of environmental control could do with a lot of nourishing for better, healthier veggies.

    • gardenerat60 says:

      KayEm, sorry, the comment was lying in Spam, and retrieved just now.I cant understand how!

      Thanks for the kind words. I just cut vegetables, fruits peels,coffee, tea waste, etc into smaller pieces, mix with some dry leaves, and cocopeat( to absorb excess moisture) and store in a pot / bucket. Once in a while , I try to turn it around. But most of the time, I let it go . If it has not crumbled over a period of time, I re use it with more vegetable waste and other stuff. Sometimes , the fruit flies or other pests do create problems. I just ignore, since the pots are on the big terrace in a corner.

      I usually use them when I do re potting or fresh potting.

  22. shivani says:

    Dear Pattu first things first. Thank you for voting for my post. Makes me feel good that you liked it.
    Now i am wishing…wishing you were my neighbor to guide me and give me a hands on training to do what you do . i have done things too with whatever space i had wherever i have lived. Wish u could chk out some of those posts of mine. Pls Pls do visit me on-

  23. uma says:

    You are good at multitasking !
    And love your garden. I’m just a starter with small pots of flower plants 🙂

  24. sangeeta says:

    hi,your post is very enlightening and interesting.I have a fairly good interest in gardening.What makes your gardening distinguished,is organic gardening,which is still not common to the people.

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Thanks and welcome here Sangeeta. True Organic gardening is full of headaches, but the satisfaction outweighs the pain. I love the way more and more younger people are keen on Organic gardening. Good for all of us.

  25. sugandha118 says:

    All the very best for your garden…had a pleasure reading it

  26. Manimala Tenneti says:

    Dear mam, My friends and i came across your blog as we too are interested in home gardening and maintaning terrace garden since 15 years, would like to see your garden.please can u give your address and phone no ?we stay at safilguda. with regards manimala

  27. shovonc says:

    Always a pleasure.

    • Gitanjali says:

      Dear Pattu Ma’m,
      I chanced upon this blog today and I loved all your posts! My husband and I are eager amateur gardeners and like to get our hands dirty experimenting and growing things here in our house in Bglore I.e. whenever our dog allows it :). It is lovely to see all the pictures you’ve put up and I quite liked the white brinjals. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.
      regards, Gitanjali

      • gardenerat60 says:

        Welcome here and Thanks Geetanjali, for those sweet words. Wish you great satisfaction in raising your plants. We too have a big dog, but we keep him away from vegetable garden on the terrace.

  28. Asha Ram says:

    What a hearty harvest! Green thumb indeed 🙂

  29. Anand says:

    Can you give the recipe of the Compost Tea. The articles and photos are inspiring to revisit our forgotten passions. Thanks a lot.

    • gardenerat60 says:

      This recipe is from our member Upendra Sainath, who was kind enough to post it for us. Hope you too will benefit from this.

      Compost Tea Works Wonderfully. However the Tea is generally ready in about 6 hrs after starting it. From there on, Every time you use the tea, you can add fresh water to the bucket without changing the compost in the bag. As you keep using the tea, Keep adding water. Bubbling can be run throughout.

      Some People switch on the bubbler only for a while and switch it off later on. That should not be done. Because this is an Aerobic process and the bacteria in the compost needs oxygen & food to reproduce and multiply. These are those beneficial bacteria for the plants. So Bubbling has to done continously. Some people actually use a stick and stir the water in the bucket some 20 times in both directions once in every 15 min and so on for abt 6 hrs. But here the process in simplified by using a bubbler. Power consumed by the bubbler is also very less.

      One most important Indicator of a Good Compost tea is the smell. The tea should smell really good and fresh. I have received queries from several people complaining that the water is smelling like black or drainage water. This bad odour comes when the bacteria in the water dies. Usually the bacteria dies when it becomes anaerobic that is lack of oxygen or no oxygen. When aeration doesnot happen properly in the bucket the water tends to smell like black water.

      The colour of the tea looks absolutely fine in this case. That is how it should look. You can also add some starch powder/Besan powder/Senagapindi along with Molasses/jaggery as food for the bacteria in the compost. However when you add these powders the colour of the tea differs and looks lighter. Doesn’t matter it still works well.

      One can Use a socks/ Pillow case also to hold the Vermicompost in the bucket. The size of the bag depends on the quantity of tea you intend to make.

      However the Vermicompost in the bag must be replaced with fresh compost and some more molasses must be
      1. every week if you are using the tea every day for your plants.
      2. Every 10-12 days if you are using tea on alternate days.
      3. Every 15-18 days if you are using the tea every 3 days or so.
      The Color of the tea usually indicates the quality of the compost tea you are making. The darker the color the Stronger it is. So the Color Indicates when you are supposed to change the Compost bag.

      What Else?… Yes there are so many benefits of Compost Tea.
      1. Can be used as a foliar spray(Spraying on leaves) which helps reduce lot of Foliar diseases. Leaves will start looking healthy, fresh and strong which reduces pest attack. The Stronger the plant, the lesser the pests is a thumb rule.

      2. Compost Tea increases the amount of Nutrients available for the plants as against the solid compost(in the form of soil) which has lesser nutrients. As said earlier by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the Compost by making a tea out of it we actually multiplying the nutrients available which means more nutrients to the plants with the same amount of compost and also in liquid form.

      3. Also increases the bacteria and nutrient level in the potting mix which is generally limited owing to the limited size of the container and restricted addition of compost. So instead of regular plain water one can add Compost tea. This works two ways.. Nutrition and water for plants. Two jobs in one. By regular addition the potting mix is so healthy and strong that breakdown of toxins also happens.
      4. Studies say that Using Compost tea increased the flavour of vegetables and their Nutritional Qualities. We have had excellent results so far. Those of you in the Facebook group must be familiar with Sai Kalyan Vempati’s Roof top garden which was totally maintained using Compost tea and he had received Excellent Results. Humongous harvest too.

      Most Importantly Making and Using Compost tea is easy, cheap and very effective. One can Make their own using a handful of compost and all other materials are easily available when compared to Jeevamrutham which also works wonderfully but you have to go and buy frequently. Especially in cities it is not available everywhere and the cost is also too high (In my Opinion) probably because of the demand. Also Consider the amount of time and Energy(petrol also) in acquiring Jeevamrutham. Look for Local and simple solutions. “

  30. matheikal says:

    I’m falling in love with you, Pattu.. 🙂

    I threaten a visit.

  31. Dilip says:

    Awaiting your next post 🙂

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