Capt. Retd.) S K Bhandari

A Gardening Hand Book for the Novice. A gardeners’ companion. Reading it will make you a master gardener.

Agro Synergy & Floriculture Consortium

16, Chakrata Road, Dehra Dun 248001 Mobile +91 9358525643 Email


Dedicated To My respected mother Shrimati Sushila Bhandari




Subject Introduction to gardening A Healthy Plant’s Requirements Water Requirement How to Judge If A Plant Needs Water Humidity Food and Air Liquid Fertilisers What to Grow - Herbs -Palms -Dracaens ,Cordyline & Yucca -Ferns -Ficus -Arums -Flowers -SEASONAL PLANTS (ANNUALS) WINTER BLOOMS -SEASONAL FLOWERS (ANNUALS) SUMMER BLOOMS -FLOWERING CLIMBERS (PERMANENT CREEPERS) -FLOWERING BULBS – Summer and Rain season -Plant Care -Grooming And Care -Cleaning Leaves -Looking After Flowers -Trimming Steams and Shoots -Hoeing -Weeding -Stopping -Dead heading -Top dressing -Nutrient needs of flowers -PROPAGATION -Sowing seeds -Sowing Seeds - Procedure -Repotting of Seedlings -Dividing Plants -Dividing Procedure -Layering -Tip layering -Air layering -Runners -Stem-Tip Cutting -Indoor Hanging Baskets -Planting an Indoor Hanging Basket -Foliage plants for indoor hanging-baskets -Grouping Plants in Hanging-Baskets - Indoor Plants -Vegetables -Companion Plants -Lawns -Soil pH Ranges -Garden Layouts

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Capt. (Retd.) Satish Kumar Bhandari 09358525643

Introduction The joy of growing something be it a flower plant, a vegetable, a fruit tree, a shrub, or a climber can be experienced only by a gardener. If we see, around us, there thousands of people growing plants and every day many more join the lucky group of gardeners. Some of the advantages of home gardening are, to breath fresh air all day long, refreshing aroma from the flowers, home grown vegetables etc. Most important is the exercise it provides to the gardener. In this Gardening hand book, you will learn about 'Home Gardening’. Plants which are ideal for the home garden. Both outdoors as well as indoors and how to take care for their proper growth. Some of the subjects covered are — · Plants, their watering and feeding needs. · Growing your own plants from seeds. · Growing plants from cuttings, grafting, air layer grafting and leaf rooting methods. · Flowers and their growing season. · Common house flowering plants and their growing season. · Common house vegetable plants and their growing season. · Plant care. · Gardening tips.


A Healthy Plant’s Requirements Water Requirement Most plants like to be watered only after their soil dries out. Excess water causes root rot, which causes the plant to decay, so always be sure to wait until your plant is thirsty before you water it. Plants absorb water from the soil, through their small, hair-like root. The water moves into lager roots and from there to the stems and finally to the leaves. Too little water is the cause of wilting of leaves & flowers which first droop and later become crisp and brown. Each plant has its own need for water, some requiring more than others. Large plants need more water than small ones. Also, plants need less water in winter than in summer, because in winters the soil remains moist for a longer period. As a result during winters the plants may need no watering for a number of consecutive days, whereas in summers, the watering may have to be as frequent as twice a day. Whenever watering is undertaken, it must be thorough. Frequent inadequate watering draws surface roots to the top, causes rapid transpiration and exhausts the plant. Watering must be done in the early morning or in the evening when the soil around the pot is not hot. Should watering become necessary during the bright sunshine, the pot should be removed to shade the soil allowed to cool down, before the plant is watered. All flowering plant needs generous watering when the buds are forming and it is in full bloom.

How to Judge If A Plant Needs Water The experienced gardener know that more houseplants die through being excessively or insufficiently watered than from any other reason? To judge if a plant in a pot needs water rub a finger or thumb on the potting soil to assess its moisture content. Another simple way of understanding the plant's need for water is by observing the colour of the soil in the pot. When the soil is dry it becomes pale and it crumbles, but if wet, it is dark in colour. Eventually, most houseplant gardeners use this method to assess the need of water.

Humidity Most houseplants are tropical plants and come from places where the humidity (the amount of moisture in the air) is as high as 70, 80 or even 90 percent. The amount of moisture in the air influences the health and growth of plants. Deserts cacti in hot regions have thick outer layers that reduce the amount of moisture they give off. Most plants however, need a humid atmosphere to prevent their leaves and stem becoming dry. Spraying them regularly with water from a spray bottle or sprinkling water on the leaves; or setting them on a tray or a plastic saucer filled with pebbles and water, will increase the humidity around the plants and helps raise the humidity

Don't Spray Water 1) When the sun is shining. Water globules act as lenses, intensifying the sun's rays and burning leaves. 2) During evenings, especially in autumn & winter as wet leaves attract pests and disease germs. The plants should be given Mist-spray in the morning, so that the moisture has a chance to dry before the onset of night. Grouping of Plants create Humid Atmosphere By placing plants in groups a humid micro-climate (a small area with high humidity) can be created around them. Moisture given off from the surfaces of leaves is trapped. When a plant is displayed on its own, moisture soon evaporate. Keeping the Atmosphere Humid Regularly mist-spray smooth-surfaced leaves in summer. However, take care not to spray water on flowers, as they then soon decay. Place a piece of plastic sheet in front of the flowers while spraying. A few plants such as philodendrons and the Swiss Cheese Plant must be mist-sprayed in summer to prevent them from becoming dry and hard. Excessive Humidity 1) Soft leaves soon decay, especially if hairy. Moisture becomes trapped around the hair on the leaves. 2) Leaves that are close to the stems create traps for water. 3) Flower petals, especially when tightly packed together, become covered with a furry mould. 4) Plants with masses of soft leaves closely packed together become infested with decay.  Food and Air The soil of plants must be "well enriched‖, which means that the soil should be rich enough for the growth of the plant and able to retain the moisture. The soil may be enriched by adding organic and inorganic manures .Organic manure is manure made from wastes of plants and animals (decomposed leaves and cow dung). Inorganic manure is made chemically and is, therefore also known as chemical fertiliser. The manure is added to the soil in the plants, three to four times in a year. Once before winters, then before the onset of summers and again before the rainy season. The soil is loosened a little by digging and the manure is put around the plant on top of the soil. While digging the soil, take care not to damage the roots. The day you loosen the soil, do not water the plant. The interval between loosening and watering of soil helps in the aeration of roots and absorption of water from a greater depth. Fresh air should be able to circulate in the rooms where, indoor plants are placed in, even if it's only through the wire mesh of the windows.  Liquid Fertilisers A Chemical or Organic Concentrated fertilisers when dissolved in water are called liquid fertilizers. These are applied to the potting compost at ten to fourteen-day intervals during summer.

If the potting compost is dry, first water it. This is because when it is dry there is a risk of the fertilizer damaging the roots. Also, if it is dry the soil-ball contracts and leaves a gap around the inside of the pot, through which water and fertiliser will escape and be wasted. Thoroughly agitate the water, ensuring that the fertilizer is completely mixed. Apply this before it gets settled at the bottom of the container.  What To Grow Herbs An Herb Garden for your kitchen as this will flavor the dishes cooked by you and make them palatable. Some of the easiest herbs to grow in your garden are:

Coriander (Hara Dhaniya): 1. Crush 2-3 tsp of coriander seeds (saboot dhaniya) with the foot by placing on a piece of paper, so as to divide each seed into 2 parts. 2. Dig the soil in a pot to loosen it. 3. Sprinkle seeds. Gently mix them with the fingers with the soil. Some get mixed and some show on top. 4. Water generously. Cover with a transparent polythene and place in a warm, lighted place. 5. Now water only when the soil turns dry. 6. The seedlings take about 15 days to come out. 7. Once the seedlings are out, take care to protect them from the birds.

Mint (Poodina): 1. Choose a bunch with thick stems. 2. Loosen the bunch to separate the stems. 3. Discard any yellow leaves. 4. Select 10-12 good stalks. One or two may have a few hairy roots. These will start growing faster. 5. Loosen soil in a pot by digging it lightly. 6. Dig 2" deep and plant 2 stems together. Similarly plant all of them, planting two stems together in each hole. 7. Press on the sides of the stems lightly. 8. Water generously. Water every day.


Sweet Basel 1. Select good black/brown coloured seeds. Rub it in your palms to remove the outer cover. 2. Dig the soil in a pot to loosen it. 3. Sprinkle seeds. Gently mix them with the fingers with the soil. Some get mixed and some show on top. 4. Water generously. Cover with a transparent polythene and place in a warm, lighted place. 5. Now water only when the soil turns dry. 6. The seedlings take about 15 days to come out. 7. Once the seedlings are out, take care to protect them from the birds.

Green Chili (Hari Mirch): 1. Select 4-5 good, big and thick dry red chilies. Take out seeds. 2. Loosen soil by digging. 3. Scatter seeds. Lightly mix the seeds with the soil with your fingers. 4. Water generously. 5. Water only after the soil turns dry.

Palms If you grow some Palms in your garden they will not only beautify the garden but also add a touch of royalty. The palms are remaining ever green throughout the year and you need not plant them afresh every season. Palms also make wonderful indoor plants. The palms can also, be grown as an indoor plant as they not like too much light and cannot stand direct sunlight. Find a place which has some light, but not too strong light. It is always better to keep two palm plants for a single indoor location. Keep one inside your room for a few days and then put it outside, but not in direct sunlight. Bring the one outside to replace it, altering the plants. Some of the palm which will charm you and your visitors are given below:

Areca Lutescens Palm This the most common palm grown in the garden. The Areca palm is also called the golden feather palm. Its botanical name is areca Iutescens. The leaves of the young plants are rather floppy and irregular, but they become more sturdy and regular as they grow older. Areca originates from Madagascar, where it is usually warm and so the golden feather palm is therefore not adapted to low temperature. Put in a warm place where even the night temperature does not drop below 15°C (59°F).Areca grows best in a lighted spot out of the midday sun. Water the plant regularly, but it does not need too much water.

Caryota (FIsh Tail Palm) The leaves of this palm have triangular leaflets which look like fish tails. It needs as sunny location within-direct sunlight. It always needs a temperature of 15°C (59°F), preferably a lot higher and regular watering. Never let the potting soil dry out, but do not let the plant stand in water either.

Washingtonia Filifera (Desert Fan Palm, Petticoat Plant) The leaves are folded like a fan. Threads are released from the edges along the entire length of the leaf forming curls. In summers, water the plant liberally and in

winter do not let the soil dry out completely. Feed occasionally. This palm tolerates the cold. It should not be kept in direct sunlight, although some light is essential for the proper growth.

Kentia Palm (Howeia Forsteriana) Their long leaves intertwines and from an elegant fan of foliage .It loves a bright spot but the afternoon should be avoided. It needs plenty of water. Dracaens ,Cordyline & Yucca These plants are closely related and all belong to the agave family. All three plants have a common shape. The rosettes carry on growing upwards as the old leaves drop off. In this way a long stem develops with a bunch of leaves at the top. It is this architectural shape, which has made them so popular in modern interiors. Besides, they are very strong and survive even in un-favourable conditions.

Dracaena Deremensis This is one of the easiest to grow houseplant. It can be grown in the sun but will also tolerate shade. The best place for it is full light without too much direct sun. It grows quickly when it is watered regularly, but it should not be over watered. Older plants develop a tuft of leaves on the top with bare stems, because the lower leaves keep turning yellow and dropping off as time passes. The leaves are green as well as the variegated varieties with pale yellow bands on the green leaves are commonly found.

Cordyline Fruticosa The bright green leaves have a pinkish red margin and often have cream coloured margins as well. Whether the plant keeps its colour or not, depends on the location. If they are put in strong sun, the plants tend to lose their intense colours. To retain their colours, it is better to put them in a light spot out of the sun. Water sparingly at short intervals so that the soil remains moist. In winters the soil can be kept a little drier.

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Yucca Elephantipes The pointed, spineless leaves tolerate the full sun and also stay healthy for a long time with less light. It requires less water, so water moderately during summers and scantily in withers. Outside in the fresh air, it grows quite quickly than when placed inside a room. Ferns Ferns grow better in a slightly cooler atmosphere because the relative humidity tends to be higher. The heat damages the ferns. Some of the common ferns, which make good houseplants, are given below:

Adiantum Hispidulum The leaves are made up of leaflets attached in long rows to leaf stalk, which are, in turn carried on black stalks. When put outside, place it in a shady and sheltered spot.

Adiantum Raddianum (Maiden Hair Fern) A very delicate fern which responds immediately if not treated correctly. If the humidity of the air is too low, or if the fern has not been watered, the edges of the fine leaflets dry out. If you let the fern stand permanently in water, the whole plant dies, especially in a cool room. Put this fern in a light spot, but not in direct sunlight. These plants like humid places so the best place in the house for this fern is the bathroom.

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Ficus The unusual combination of withstanding low light and low humidity has made Ficus a most popular indoor houseplant. Some of these plants grow to great heights whereas some varieties grow to just a few centimeters above the ground.

Ficus Benjamina It has small glossy leaves. Some have plain dark green leaves but variegated varieties have leaves, which are mottled-green and milky-green with a lot of white. It does not need much light and manages to grow well in the shade too, although the variegated varieties need more light and higher temperatures. The plant does not need too much water. So do not water until the soil has almost dried out and make sure that no water remains standing in the pot. Sometimes you might see that the leaves are dropping. Leaf drop may be the result of too cold a location, or a draught or of lack of water.

Ficus elastica (Rubber Plant) The rubber plant if kept in the light grows straight towards the light, branching like a crown only at the top. In a fairly dark spot, it will not usually branch, and will grow as a straight plant. Occasionally wipe the leaves, dip in buttermilk to give the leaves a beautiful sheen. It does not need too much light and no direct sun light. It can survive in the shade also. It does not require too much water, so water only when the soil feels dry. Arums These have beautifully coloured and shaped foliage. These also have special flowers which are arranged on a spadix. The spadix is surrounded by a so-called spathe, a protective bract. Arums are tolerant of shade and dry air and this makes them ideal houseplants. Some of the popular varieties are given below:

Monstera Deliciosa "Swiss Cheese Plant" The leaves of the young plant are heart shaped. When the plant is grown in a light and not too dry spot, the new leaves will get deeply cleft margins. In ideal conditions, the leaves get larger and develop oval holes, making the plant look very ornamental. A light, humid location out of the sun is ideal, although it will grow in

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semi shade and tolerate dry air reasonably well. Water liberally in summers and less in winters.

Aglaonema Commutatum "Silver Queen" The leaves are about 8" long with patches of light colour along the veins. Keeping them healthy indoors is a great job. They do not like dry air and it is therefore necessary to spray water frequently or to use the "tray method". (This is done by putting the plant on an upside down saucer in a tray, and filling the tray with water to just below the bottom of the pot). It can take plenty of water, so what freely during summers and keep the soil moist in winters.

Philodendron Erubescens "Blushing Philodendron" A strong plant which does not need much looking after. It has thin red flushed stems which need support and so the growing plants are often tied around a moss stick. It does not need much light and water. Flowers The flower plants are the heart of the garden. The add colour and rhythm to the garden when in full bloom. The flowering plants are covered under the following heads: SEASONAL PLANTS (ANNUALS) WINTER BLOOMS SEASONAL FLOWERS (ANNUALS) SUMMER BLOOMS FLOWERING CLIMBERS (PERMANENT CREEPERS) FLOWERING BULBS SEASONAL PLANTS (ANNUALS) WINTER BLOOMS (Sowing time-March in the hilly area and October in the plains)
Name/Time taken for blooming from sowing Alyssum 2 – 3 months Aster 3 – 3 1/2 months Flower Description White, pink, purple and blue. Mixed coloures in single and doubles Orange is the most popular colour besides, yellow lemon and ofwhite. Single and double. New types are pale colours with dark centers. Light Requirement Notes Pinch the tops for heavy bloom. Remove dead flowers for longer blooming period. Pinch the tops for heavy bloom. Remove dead flowers for longer blooming period If you pinch early, it will encourage bushiness and thus produce more flowers. Grow in beds and pots.

Shad to Sunny


Calendula 2 1/2-3 months

Sun or light shade

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Name/Time taken for blooming from sowing Candytuft 2 – 3 months Carnation 5 months Flower Description White, pink and purple clusters. Single and double with or without fringged petals, Colours--white, cream, yellow, pink, red, purple, orange, maroon, etc. Vivid colours, crimson, yellow, white, bronze or one colour merging into another, or with distinct zone of a second color. Clusters of white, pink blue flowers appear at the top centre of the plant. Plants branched with feather-like foliage. Flowers are yellow, pink, crimson and white. Light Requirement Notes


Grow in beds and pots. In the hills the planets can be cultivated as perennials. Grow in beds, borders, edges and even pots. Plants are prepared from tip cutting and planted as early as August to begin blooming by November. Grow in pots or beds Excellent as potted plants grows well in area where sunlight barely reaches Starts flowering as early as September, right up to March. If protected from rains, it can even be sowed in August. When plants reach a height of 10 inches, pinch off the growing tip to encourage branching for better flowers. Remove all buds, except the terminal ones. Grow in beds or in pots. Grow in beds or in pots. Remove dead flowers and branches for higher bloom.

Full sun

Chrysanthemum 3 months


Cineraria 2 1/2 – 3 months

shade or semi shade

Cosmos 2 1/2 months

Sunny or semi shade

Dahlia 3 months

Big flowers of 4"-5" diameter, impressive. Wide colour range.


Daisy 3 – 3 1/2 months Dianthus 3 – 4 months

Various mixed colours. Mixed single and double coloured. Large funnel shaped flowers wide range of colours, single or double. A tall plant.

Semi sunny Sunny

Hollyhock 3 1/2 months


Gerbera (Root Division) 3 -4 months

Various coloured

Semi sunny

Gazania 3 – 4 months

Various mixed colours

Semi sunny

Must be used against a wall because it is a tall plant. Flowerings continue even in early summer when other plants dry up. Also in pots. Grow in beds or in pots. Remove dead flowers and branches for higher bloom. Excellent cut flowers. Grow in beds or in pots. Remove dead flowers and branches for higher bloom. Excellent cut flowers.

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Name/Time taken for blooming from sowing Flower Description Light Requirement Notes

Nasturtium 2 months

Bright, yellow, orange, flowers with lots of rounded leaves.

Full sun

Pansy 3 months Petunia 3 months

Several beautiful flowers of 2 1/2 "-3" diameter, marked with lines Comes in small ("2") and large ("4") sizes. Several colours. Tinny flowers in small clusters. All colours

Sun or partial shade Good sun

Phlox 3-3 1/2 months


Remove some of the leaves before the blooms form to enhance colour effect. Avoid rich soil as it produces too many leaves and delays flowering. Grow in beds, borders and hanging baskets. Ideal for borders and rectangular planters on garden walls. Grow also in beds and as ground cover. Continues to bloom even with the onset of summer Grow in beds, borders, pots and rock gardens. Blooms well till beginning of summer. Sow as early as August.

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Candy tuff


Chrysanthemum Small














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SEASONAL FLOWERS (ANNUALS) SUMMER BLOOMS (Sowing time-Oct in the hilly area and March in the plains)
Name/Time taken for blooming from sowing Balsam 4 months Celosia (Cockscomb) 2 1/2 -3 months Gaillardia 3 1/2 -4 months Love Lines Bleeding (Bleeding Heart) 5 – 6 months Marigold French (Targets) 3 31/2 months Marigold African Large 3 31/2 months Portulaca Single and Double 3 – 4 months Sunflower 3- 4 months Verbena 3-4 months Vince Rosa (Sadarbhar) 3 – 4 months Zinnia 3 – 3 ½ months Flower Description Flowers single or double in white, pink, purple and red. Pink, orange, red, crimson, gold, velvety, plumes or crests. Single and double flowers in yellow, red. Light Requirement Notes Plants do better in high humidity. So if dry conditions prevail, sprinkle often. Can also be grown as winter annuals. This is a slightly earlier sowing season. December to April suitable for beds. Plants continue to flower for a long time. Should be pruned after blooming season. Plants continue flowering well after the rainy season. Best flowering March – May and Oct to Nov. Can be grown from seeds as well as cuttings. Retain cutting over winter indoors or in shade. Grow better near south facing walls. Flowers always face the sun. For bushier growth and more bloom pinch the top after 2 months. Avoid rains directly hitting the plants. Pinch off early beds to encourage growth. Keep removing dead flower to get better & more blooms.

Sunny or semi shade

Full sun


Crimson white mix heart shaped with red tail like droppings Mixed Orange, Red and Yellow Orange, yellow and white Single and double coloured in various shades – Red, pink, yellow, orange and maroon Flowers are large and yellow, single or double. Blue, White, Pink and multi-coloured in single and double. Pink, white, blue and maroon. Single coloured and with white/yellow centre. White, rust, dark brown, maroon, copper red, yellow etc. Single & double small (1 1/2") or large (6") flowers.







Sunny and Semi sun


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Bleeding Heart

Marigold French

Marigold African





Vince Rosa


FLOWERING CLIMBERS (PERMANENT CREEPERS) (Sowing time-March in the hilly area and February in the plains)
Name/Time taken for blooming from planting Bougainvillea 3 – 5 months Cleroonendron Splendors 3 – 4 months Jasmine 3 – 4 months Passion Flower 3 -5 months Railway Creeper 3 – 4 months Flower Description Popular shrub also grown as climber. Flowers commonly deep pink, red, yellow, white; thorns arise from leaf axils. Evergreen climber, dark, glossy leaves. Tiny scarlet flowers, in clusters. A bunch of fragment white flowers which give out a lovely fragrance in the evening. Beautiful watch dial form flowers in purple, pink and blue colour Funnel shaped light purple flowers. Notes Pruning should be done to encourage growth of new stems. Prune the plant at the on set of summer. A vigorous climber which gives better flowers if pruned every year during the monsoon. Clerodendron is useful as a screen or wall climber. Should be pruned after flowering to check excessive growth. Should be pruned after flowering season Should be growing in spring or in early summer.


Cleroonendron Splendors


Passion Flower

Railway Creeper

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FLOWERING BULBS – summer and Rain season (Sowing time –April - May in the hilly area and Feb - March in the plains)
Name/Time taken for blooming from planting Flower Description Light Requirement Notes Plants bulbs 3"-4" deep for early flowers and 6"-7" for delayed blooms. Space bulbs 8"-10" apart. To avoid rotting of bulbs. Water very sparingly till leaves appear. Avoid applying water to the flowers as they get damaged. Life of the flowers is from sun rise to dusk. Plant the bulbs 3‖ – 4‖ deep and space bulbs 12 -18 inches apart. Plants bulbs 3"-4" deep for early flowers and 6"7" for delayed blooms. Space bulbs 8"-10" apart. To avoid rotting of bulbs. Water very sparingly till leaves appear. Plant bulbs 3‖ – 4 ―deep and 12 – 18 inches apart in beds or single bulb in pots. By varying planting depth and size of bulbs you can vary the flowering time in order get blooms successively. Deeper planting and smaller bulbs gives delayed flowers and vice versa. Manure should be added 15 days before planting bulbs. Plants bulbs to a depth of2"-3", inter space 6"-7" apart. Or plant 2 to 3 bulbs may be removed or left in-location waiting for the next flowering season.

Amaryllis 2 – 4 months

Cone shaped various coloured


Achimene 3 – 4 months Caladium (Fancy and Lance leaved) 3 – 4 months

Beautiful, delicate paper like flowers in pink, white, purple and blue colour. Beautiful multi coloured and variegated in Green, red, pink, purple and maroon colour. Flowers are flared-tuber on tall graceful spikes. Many colours - white, pink on on white, red, violet, etc. Bright red coloured flourletts forming into a round ball.

Semi sunny

Indirect sun and shade

Gladiolus 2-4 months


Haemanthus (Football Lily) 2 – 5 months

Semi sunny

Tuberose 3- 3 1/2 months

Tabular, white waxy flowers on a central spike Surrounded by narrow, long leaves.


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Football Lily


Plant Care Grooming and Care By the removal of dead flowers, the flowering period can be extended. Also, the removal of shoot tips encourages a neat and attractive plant, while supporting and training stems also creates a neat appearance. From early autumn to late spring, the Pink Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) creates a wealth of white or pale-pink flowers. When young plants have shoots 10-18 inches long, insert the support into the potting soil. Pliable canes are just pushed into it, while plastic loops are attached to the rim. Carefully cult and train shoots around the support, taking care not to bend or kink them. Repeat this task several times throughout summer, and regularly feed the plant to encourage growth. Cleaning Leaves Proprietary, ozone-friendly sprays are available, and these are ideal for large-leaved plants, while hairy-leaved types and bristly cacti can be cleaned with a small soft brush. Support large leaves with one hand and gently wipe a damp cloth or spray with one hand and gently wipe with a damp cloth or spray with a leaf-cleaner. Do not do this when the plant is in strong sunlight. Clean plants with many small leaves by gently swirling them in a bowl of clean water, allowing excess to drain, and dry in gently warmth but away from direct and strong sunlight. Remove dirt and dust from bristly cacti, as well as hairy-leaved plants, by using a small, soft brush. Blowing strongly on leaves while brushing also helps to remove dirt. Looking After Flowers Decaying flowers left on plants encourage others to rot, and the decay may then spread to soft leaves. Also, the removal of dead flowers encourages the development of others. Pull off the stems of cyclamen flowers that have faded and started to wither. Hold the stem firmly and tug sharply, so that it comes away from the plant's base. Do not just remove the flowers. Pinch off dead flowers from azaleas. Do not leave parts of flowers, as this encourages the onset of decay around soft shoots. Hold the shoot firmly while carrying out this task.

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Trimming Steams and Shoots Some plants have a sprawling, scrambling and climbing nature and although this is often part of their attraction, occasionally stems need to be trimmed. Always trim them from a leaf-joint, using a sharp knife, scissors or just by holding the stem firmly and snapping it sideways. Never leave a short piece of stem as this encourages the onset of decay. Slightly woody stems, such as those on azaleas, are best trimmed with sharp scissors, cutting back to a leaf-joint. This encourages bushiness and the development of side shoots. Encourage young plants to form a bushy base by nipping back young shoots to leaf-joints. If this job is neglected. Plants become bare at their bases and unappealing. Hoeing Hoeing or forking is an operation in which the surface soil around the plant, is loosened with a hoe (khurpi) or a fork and is turned inside out. The hoeing may be up to 7-15 cm (316in.) depth. The object of hoeing is to keep the soil porous so that light, air and water may reach the roots better, to improve moisture-retention capacity and to remove weeds. Hoeing has to be done carefully so that the surface or stem roots are not damaged. Hoeing should be done when soil is moist or dry but not wet and soggy. The best procedure for hoeing is to water the plants in the morning, hoeing them in the evening and then watering in the morning. An interval between hoeing and watering helps in the aeration of roots and absorption of water from a greater depth. Sudden exposure to heat during the hot sunshine period or to cold at night may cause damage to the roots. Weeding Removal of weeds is called weeding. Weeds, besides competing with the garden plants for nourishment, are also sometimes hosts to pests and diseases, which are transferred from them to the garden plants. They should, therefore, be removed as soon as they appear. Stopping means pinching of a growing shoot of a plant. Stopping also includes removal of side shoots growing from the axis of the leaf joint with the main shoot as in balsam, larkspur, or tomato, in order to let the energy of the plant be diverted fully to the flower stem. Stopping may be done more than once in a season, depending on the growth of plant and its variety. It is better not to stop more than one or two big shoots and 3-4 small shoots at a time in a plant. Disbudding means removal of all but one or two selected buds on a stem. Plants which have large and decorative flowers need more disbudding than those with small and medium flowers. Chrysanthemum, dahlia and carnation require heavy disbudding, while roses need comparatively less of it. Dead heading Removal of withered flowers from the plant is called dead heading. Flower is produced in nature for producing seeds and as soon as seeds are produced the natural function of the plant having been over, it dies or rests. Therefore, a garden plant should not be allowed to seed except for purposes of collection of seed. Removal of withered, dried flowers is thus to prevent the plant from seeding.

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Top-Dressing Large Houseplants When plants in pots become too large to be repotted, they are top dressed in spring. Allow the surface soil to dry slightly, then use small trowel (tool for digging) to scrape away the top 1-1.5 inches. Replace the surface soil with potting soil. Leave a space between the top of the soil and the rim of the pot, so that the plant can be watered without the water over flowing, when the soil in the pot becomes dry. NUTRIENT NEED OF FLOWERS Flowers need proper nutrients just like you do. One way to help your flower gardens come alive is to give them what they need. Understanding Fertilizers in General Fertilizer is plant food (nutrients) for flowers, trees, shrubs, and other flora. Nutrients are available in various amounts in nature, and plant life needs these nutrients to survive and grow. The primary big 3 of the nutrients that plants need large amounts of are: Major Plant Nutrients:    Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium

Nitrogen – This is the main nutrient for new green growth. This is especially important for plants that are mostly all leaf such as grasses. As a result the ratio for lawn fertilizers has a higher 1st ratio number meaning more nitrogen in the mix. Phosphorus – This nutrient promotes good root development and strengthens the flower or plant. It also results in increased blooms on flowers so lots of phosphorus is great for bulbs and perennials. Fertilizers higher in phosphorus have a higher 2nd number in the ratio. Potassium – This builds strong and healthy plants & flowers and improves the overall health of the flora. These 3 are the ones that fertilizer manufacturers focus most on and they are known as ―macronutrients‖. There are also nutrients that plants do need but in much smaller quantities and these are known as ―micronutrients‖. The more important secondary nutrients are: Secondary Plant Nutrients 1- Calcium – Improves general plant vigor and promotes growth of young roots and shoots. 2- Sulfur – This nutrient helps to maintain a dark green color and encourages more vigorous plant growth. 3- Magnesium – This nutrient helps to regulate uptake of plant foods and assist in seed formation. It is also important in the formation of dark green color and encourages vigorous plant growth. After the major and minor nutrients there are sometimes ―trace elements‖ that play a role in plant nutrition. Trace elements play a role in helping to develop dark green color and healthy and vigorous plant growth. These ―trace micronutrients‖ are:

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Trace      

Micronutrients Boron Manganese Iron Zinc Copper Molybdenum

Manure was once the dominant fertilizer and is still used but less frequently. Fertilizers in modern times are made either synthetically or organically (manure and or compost). The Macronutrients are given a ratio on the fertilizer bag to represent the proportions of the main nutrients that are present in a particular fertilizer mix. For example, a 5-10-20 fertilizer would have 5% Nitrate, 10% Phosphate, and 20% Potash. If a particular flower or plant needed higher phosphate levels for healthy growth the middle number would go up (for example: 5-15-20). Law of Minimum: This law states that plant growth is controlled not by the total resources available, but by the scarcest resource needed by the plant or flower. In other words, extra amounts of plentiful nutrients do not increase a plant’s growth if the scarce nutrients needed were still lacking. Only by increasing the amount of the limiting nutrient can a particular plant or flower have improved growth. PROPAGATION Propagation is a scientific name for reproduction in any form of living thing. With plants, it means making new plants either from seeds or from parts of existing plants. It's usually very easy to make new plants, and it's one of the most rewarding things about gardening. PROPAGATION - SOWING SEEDS Many houseplants can be increased from seeds, whether grown for their flowers, foliage or berries. Others include palms, ferns, insectivorous plants, cacti and other succulents. Whatever the type of plant, the seeds need three basic conditions to encourage germination - moisture, warmth and air. Most seeds germinate in darkness, but a few-such as the Wax Flower (Begonia semperflorens)-need light. These conditions are created by sowing seeds in seed compost that both retains moisture yet allows air penetration, and either placing in a greenhouse or on a warm windowsill indoors.

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Sowing Seeds - Procedure 1. Fill a clean plastic seed-tray with seed compost. If small numbers of seeds are to be sown, use a shallow seed pan. Do not sow different seeds in the same containers. 2. Using your fingers, firm the seed compost, especially around the sides and edges as this is where it will start to become dry if regular watering is neglected. 3. Place more seed compost in the seed-tray and strike the surface level with a straightedged piece of wood. Try to leave the surface of the compost even and flat. 4. Using a piece of wood with a small handle attached to it, firm the surface until it is about 12mm/1/2 in below the rim. Keep the surface clean to ensure an even surface. 5. Tip the seeds into a folded, V-shaped piece of paper and gently tap the end to encourage them to fall on the compost. Do not sow seeds within 12mm/1/2 inches from the edge. Label the box. 6. Some seeds require light to encourage germination, but most need darkness and are covered to three or four times their thickness. Use a fine-mesh sieve to scatter compost. 7. Water the compost by standing the seed tray in a bowl of clean water. When moisture seeps to the surface, remove and allow to drain. Do not water from overhead, as it scatters the seeds. 8. The seed-tray needs to be covered to prevent the surface of the seed compost drying, as well as maintaining a high temperature. Domed, plastic covers are convenient. 9. An alternative to a plastic cover is a sheet of clear glass. However, condensation accumulates on the underside and this must be wiped off every day, the glass then turned upside down. 10. To create a dark environment for dark-loving seed sown on, or almost on, the seed compost's surface, cover the glass with a sheet of newspaper. Remove when the seeds germinate. 11. After seeds germinate, remove the covering and allow air to circulate around the seedlings. Continue to water them by standing the seed-tray in a bowl of water. Avoid wetting the leaves. 12. When the young plants are sturdy and growing strongly, transfer them into small pots of potting compost. First water, allowing excess to drain, then pot up individually. Avoid damaging roots. 13. When the young plants are sturdy and growing strongly, transfer them into small pots of potting compost. First water, allowing excess to drain, then pot up individually. Avoid damaging roots. 14. Gently hold each plant by its stem and trickle potting compost around the roots. Take care not to squeeze the stem-young plants are easily damaged and subsequently may not subsequently may not recover.

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Repotting of Seedlings As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle they must be moved into individual pots, where they have more space and an increased amount of air and light. If not transferred (picked off), they become drawn up, thin and lanky, and eventually unable to support themselves unless assisted by neighbouring seedlings. Additionally, seedlings tightly clustered together are more susceptible to diseases than those with a good circulation of air around them. When Transferring Seedlings Don't use potting compost form unsterilized garden soil, as it may contain pests and diseases. Ensure the roots of seedlings are moist before being picked off. Hold young seedlings by a leaf-if held by the stems they soon become damaged if squeezed. Dividing Plants Houseplants mainly grown for their attractive foliage are best divided in spring. Some flowering types with a perennial nature are also increased in this way, as soon as their flowers fade but preferably in spring. Flowering plants that finish flowering in autumn are best divided in spring. Division in spring enables young plants to become established during summer, while growing strongly. Plants suitable for division include ... Sansevieria trifaciataa (Mother-in-Law Plant) Spathiphyllum wallisii (Peace Lily) Hedera helix (common Ivy) Ferns (Many can be divided) Palms (Many can be divided) Saintpaulia ionantha (African violet) Dividing –Procedure 1. Remove the soil ball from the pot by inverting the plant and tapping the rim on the edge of firm surface. 2. Evidence that division in needed is indicated by a mat of roots around the rootball. A mass of white roots indicates that the plant is healthy and growing strongly. 3. Using fingers tease and pull apart the root-ball into several substantially sized pieces. It may be necessary to cut some roots, but never use a knife to slice through a plant. 4. Hold a young plant in the centre of a clean pot and trickle fresh potting compost around the roots. Firm the potting compost and ensure the plant is at the same depth as before. 5. Water the plants from above and place in gentle warmth. It may be necessary to shade plants from strong sunlight until roots are established and absorbing water. Do not water the plant until the compost has started to dry.

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Tip layering 1. If the plant is growing as a climber, release and lower a shoot. Ensure the potting compost in the mother plant's pot is moist, and fill a small pot with equal parts moist peat and sharp sand. 2. Lower a stem to the potting compost, press in about 2.5cm/ l in deep and use a bent piece of wire to secure it into the potting compost as shown in the picture above. Water the plant to settle the compost around the stem. 3. When young shoots develop from the tip of the stem, use a sharp knife, scissors or secateurs to sever it from the parent. To tidy up the plant, cut the shoot back to its source.

Air layering In case of some plants like shrubs air layering is used as a mode of propagation. 1. Select a soft side branch which has two three nodes, from where the new leaves or branches would appear. 2. Scrap about 1 inch length of the bark. 3. Cover it all around completely with moist moss. 4. Cover it with a transparent plastic sheet and tie both the ends. 5. After 15-20 days root would emerge. 6. Cut it from the main plant side and transplant it in a pot filled with equal parts moist peat and sand and potting soil. Runners Increasing a spider plant: 1. Chlorophytum comosum (Spider plant) develops long, trailing and arching stems with small plantlets at their ends. When pegged into pots of potting compost placed around the mother plant they develop roots. 2. To propagate the plant, use small pieces of bent wire or hairpin to secure the plantlets into the potting compost. Water, place in gentle warmth. 3. When young shoots start to develop from the plantlets, cut the shoots from the parent plant and move them into a lightly shaded position until growing strongly. Keep the potting compost moist.

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Stem-Tip Cutting

Many houseplants can be increased from stem-tip cuttings, each formed from a piece of stem, several leaves and a terminal shoot. They are usually 7.5-13 cm/3-5in long and, if possible, taken from the outer area of the parent plant, where they would have been in good light and growing healthily and strongly. Spindly and weak shoots are not suitable as cuttings. Additionally, ensure that the mother plant is healthy & strong-wilting plants never produce good cuttings. Cuttings need a moisture-retentive yet well-aerated potting compost to encourage rapid rooting, such as equal parts moist peat and sharp sand. Sometimes it is impossible to take cuttings from a plant without spoiling its appearance. Also, some plants grown indoors do not produce young shoots that can be used as cuttings. In greenhouses and conservatories it is often possible to grow plants in out-of-the way positions, specifically to create young shoots that can be used as cuttings. The Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa), Rose of China (Hibiscus rose-sinensis) and the Lollipop Plant (Pachystachys lutea) are frequently cut back in spring or after flowers fade, young shoots then growing from leaf-joints. These are subsequently used as cuttings. Taking Stem-Tip Cuttings 1. Use a sharp knife to cut a strong and healthy shoot from a mother plant, severing it just above a leaf-joint. Do not leave short spurs, as they are unsightly and encourage the onset of diseases and decay. 2. Trim the cutting's base to just below a leaf-joint, at the same time cutting off lower leaves close to the stem. Some cuttings have two leaves at each leaf-joint, others just one. 3. Dip the cutting's base in hormone rooting-powder. Use a small dibber to form a hole into which the stem in inserted 18-25mm/3/4-l in. Do not bury the lower leaves, as this encourages rotting. 4. Firm compost around the cutting's base, water from above, insert short split-canes in the potting compost and cover with a plastic bag. Secure its base around the pot with an elastic band. Indoor Hanging Baskets

Displaying houseplants in indoor hanging-baskets needs care and planning. They attractively fill vertical space but can be difficult to water and look after. Also, they need firm securing points. Although similar to outdoor hanging-baskets, indoor types must be fitted with drip trays to ensure excess water does not fall on the floor. Alternatively, plants can be left in their own pots and all of them placed in a single, wide, large pot that does not have a hole in its base. This is then suspended in an attractive harness. Both flowering and foliage trailing plants can be used; if the position is shaded, use only shade-surviving foliage plants, whereas bright and sunny places can be filled with flowering types.

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Planting an Indoor Hanging Basket 1. Plan the positioning of individual plants before setting them in the basket. Draw a circle the size of the container on a piece of paper and arrange the plants. 2. Form a thin layer of gravel in the container's base to ensure water can run freely into the drip tray. If there are just a few large holes, place broken pieces of clay pots over them. 3. Cover the base with peat-based potting compost, to which has been added a handful of charcoal. Also, clay particles help in moisture retention. Flowering houseplants for indoor hanging-baskets Aseschynathus radicans (Lipstick vine) Aporocactus flagelliformis (Rat's-tail Cactus) Begonia tuberhybrida pendula (Basket Begonia) Campanula isophylla (Italian Bellflower) Columnea microphylla (Goldfish Plant) Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri (Easter cactus) Schlumbergera truncata (Christmas cactus)








Grouping Plants in Hanging-Baskets Instead of removing plants from their pots and planting them in potting compost, plants can be stood in an ornamental pot (without a hole in its base) and suspended in an ornamental harness. The advantage of this method is that the display can be changed as soon as one of the plants stops flowering or becomes unsightly. Flowering houseplants with short seasons of flower can be displayed in this way, but also use a few foliage types to give the display permanency. Example of how to make an indoor hanging basket is given on the following pages. 1. Draw a circle the same size as the bowl on a sheet of paper and place the plants on it. It is not necessary to create a congested group-a few distinctive plants can be equally attractive. 2. Select a flat-based bowl 25-30 cm/ 10-12 in wide and 13-15 cm/5-7 in deep. Form a 2.5 cm/ l in deep layer of pea-shingle in the base. Water the plants and allow draining before putting them in the container. 3. Fill the container with plants from the centre to the outside. Pack moist peat between the pots-it helps to keep the compost cool and to reduce the amount of water they need.

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4. Sphagnum moss placed around the edges makes the display more attractive. However, it is essential that the compost can be seen as the plants must be watered individually. Some plants will need more water than others. Foliage plants for indoor hanging-baskets Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' (Emerald Fern) Ceropegia woodii (Rosary vine) Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant) Epipremnum pinnatum (Devil's Ivy) Plectranthus oertendahlii (Swedish Ivy) Olectranthus coleoides 'Marginatus' (Variegated Swedish Ivy)







INDOOR PLANTS Indoor house plants make a beautiful addition to any indoor space, add color and texture and create an impact and give life to any room. Interior decorators often utilize house plants to help create the mood in the finished space. When selecting your indoor house plants you must be aware of the conditions in which they will be growing. Suitable lighting, temperature, and humidity must be present for your plant to thrive. Choose a plant that will be comfortable in the location it is placed. A healthy, growing indoor house plant will provide you with much enjoyment. Some of the important points regarding indoor house plants which should be kept in mind are as under: light levels required acceptable temperature ranges humidity requirements watering requirements and methods fertilizer needs soil mixtures propagation methods

Indoor house plants will require regular maintenance in order to keep them healthy. Some plants are easier to care for than others, as such you should, before selecting or buying

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plants of your choice, also determine the amount of care required by the plant and time you have at your disposal. If you are new to growing indoor houseplants, you should choose an easy care houseplant that is hardy and requiring less care time. With time and experience you will enjoy caring for your indoor houseplants. Now you can try some of the houseplants that require more exacting care. Although most indoor house plants are grown for their foliage, some will bear flowers and provide a wider range of color in your living space. Flowering house plants tend to need more light than those grown for foliage. If your indoor spaces provide sufficient light, flowering houseplants definitely deserve consideration. One exception is the Peace Lily which produces beautiful calla like white spaths in medium levels of light. In addition to the decorative qualities provided by house plants, research has shown that house plants provide physical and psychological benefits. Indoor houseplants help create a healthy relaxing environment. Studies have demonstrated that people in indoor environments containing healthy house plants exhibit less stress and had lower blood pressure. In the olden days, drafts and open windows were often the way fresh air was introduced into our homes and offices. This continual exchange of air with the outdoors acted to remove the toxins given off by the materials used to build and furnish our homes and offices. As we improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, this natural exchange of air is being reduced and the toxins are being trapped inside the rooms. We need to find another way to clean the air in our houses and offices. Studies have shown that many houseplants improve indoor air quality. Some of the most common toxins in our homes are formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide. Formaldehyde is used in carpets, water repellants, and the pressed wood products used to make furniture. Benzene is found in paints, detergents and plastics. Trichloroethylene is found in paints and adhesives and is used extensively in the dry cleaning industry. Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuel and by smoking. It has been shown that these toxins cause respiratory problems, irritability, headaches and nausea. By cleaning these pollutants from the air, houseplants improve indoor air quality. They also raise the humidity of the air around them. Houseplants improve indoor air quality by absorbing the toxins from the air. By the process of photosynthesis, they give off oxygen thus improving the quality of the air we breathe. Houseplants improve indoor air quality by removing the byproducts of our daily living and working. Our cooking of meals and heating of the building release pollutants into the air. Smoking releases carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. Studies have shown that under average conditions, one large or two smaller houseplants per 100 square feet will be sufficient. In badly polluted environments, for example where there is much new carpeting, more may be needed to provide the same level of air quality.

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By proper selection, placement and care, you can keep your houseplants in optimum health. When indoor houseplants are healthy, they are at their most efficient in removing pollutants and adding oxygen and humidity to the air. Healthy houseplants improve indoor air quality. Although some houseplants have been found to clean the air better than others it is fair to assume that most houseplants will improve indoor air quality. Some houseplants improve indoor air quality better than others. Large Dominant Indoor Plants Large and dominant foliage plants can become permanent features indoors, often creating eye-catching focal points. Some, such as large palms, are superb when seen against a while background. Some of the easy to grow locally available are given below:

Areca palm

Butterfly Palm

Chamendora palm

Footstool Palm

Cyprus alternifolius These are a type of palms. Some of common varieties are; Umbrella Grass, Umbrella Palm, Umbrella Plant and Umbrella Sedge Narrow (grass like bracts in umbrella like heads).

Umbrella grass

Umbrella Palm

Umbrella Plant

Umbrella Sedge

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INDOOR PLANTS Some of the easier to grow available indoor plants are given below: Common Name Botanical Name
Aloe Barbadensis Miller

Aloe Vera Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

Areca Palm


Philodendron Hedera helix

English Ivy Epholepsis exalta

Boston Fern Sansevieria laurentil

Mother In Laws Tongue Ficus Elastica

Rubber Plant Spathiphyllum

Peace Lily

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Plants For Bright Places South-facing windowsills are the brightest positions in a home, but can be too bright for some plants. Houseplants suggested here happily live within 60 cm/2 ft of windows facing south. However, plants such as desert cacti (types that grow in semi-desert regions and at ground-level); succulent plants and pelargoniums thrive on windowsills.





If it’s too bright Net curtains help to make south-facing windows suitable for a wider range of plants in summer. If there is a direct sun then the leaves become pale, thin leaves, shriveled and dry, and eventually falling off. Leaves also wilt, especially at midday and in afternoons. Easy To Grow Desert plants Cacti (Desert Types) There are many interesting-shaped cacti to choose from within this group, including those in families of Ccopiapoa, Chamaecereus, Echinopsis, Lobivia, Mammillaria, Notocactus, Parodia and Rebuntia.









Plants For Shaded Areas No plant will indefinitely survive in total shade, although some grow in shade near a sunless window or where the light is just sufficient to enable a newspaper to be read. If a plant appears sickly, move it to better light to encourage recovery. Because of the inherent difficulties in growing houseplants in little light, those that are difficult to grow cease to be possible options and therefore most are either easy to grow, or present only a slight degree of difficulty. Also, some plants that are moderately easy to grow in moderate light become a challenge when the intensity of light falls. Remember that the intensity of light 2.4m/8ft from a window is only 5-10% of that on a windowsill.

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If it's too dark Stems and leaves turn towards the light, although plants can be given a quarter upright growths. Variegated plants lose their rich colouring and become green. New leaves become smaller, and paler. Lower leaves become yellow, eventually fall off. Shoots become spindly, with long spaces between leaf-joints. Flowers cease to develop. Plants Needing Care Cissus discolor also called climbing begonia has spear shaped to slightly triangular vivid green leaves, marbled purple and white. Syngonium podophyllum, also called African evergreen, has spear like shiny green leaves, which later develop ear like lobes at the stalk end. Syngonium podophyllum Arrohead Vine This is a climbing foliage plant. It has spear shaped shiny green leaves, later developing ear like lobes at the stalk end. There are several variegated varieties. It grows well in soft light and can also be grown in slight shade for a limited period of time. Vegetable Gardening Vegetable gardening is easy. By involving the whole family in growing your own vegetables everyone learns the skills of cultivating fresh nutritious vegetables. It is a way of producing your own food in your backyard that is free of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic chemicals therefore ultimately healthier for you. You will find information and products on the following: various types of vegetable gardens, the necessary tools to make your gardening experience easier and successful and what vegetables to plant. Benefits of fresh home grown vegetables  Vegetable gardening is a way of making use of your own backyard garden to produce fresh food  No harmful chemicals have been used in the cultivation of the vegetables  Know that the food that you produce is safe to eat  You will spend less at the supermarket by not buying vegetables  Fresh home grown vegetables are healthier for you  You will be able to make money by selling any surplus vegetables  Vegetable gardening is also a good form of exercise for everyone  By planting the multi coloured varieties of vegetables your garden can become a place of beauty  Vegetable gardening is also very therapeutic as it is one way of relieving stress  Storing vegetables for days in the refrigerator is a thing of the past  You are saving energy as there is no transportation needed  A fresh just picked vegetable is nutritious and full of flavour

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What Vegetables To Grow and When Easy to grow vegetables and their seasons are give below:
VEGETABLE GROWING TABLE Vegetable Cold regions (5-10 degree C) Cool Late May June Late May June Late May June Late May June Late May June Late May June Late May June Late May June Late May June Late May June Late May June Warm Warm region s (20 region ( 30 – 30 degree – 40 degree C) C) Season Vegetables Sowing Period April - June Feb - March / Feb - Apr / Aug - Sept July - Aug April - June Feb - March / Feb - Mar / Aug - Sept June - July April - June Feb / August Late May Early June April - June Feb - March / Feb - Mar / Aug - Sept June - July April - June Feb - April / Jan - Mar / Aug - Sept June - Aug April - May Feb - March / Feb - Mar / Aug - Sept June - July April - August Feb - March / Dec - Mar / Aug - Sept July - Aug May - June Dec - Feb / Jan - Mar / Sept - Oct October April - June Feb - March / Jan - April Aug - Nov April - July Feb - April / Feb - April Aug - Oct April - July Sept - April Jan - Mar / Aug - Sept Cool region (10 – 20 degree C Hot region (40 – 50 degree C)

Beets Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Lettuce Onions Peas Radishes Spinach Vegetables

Feb - Mar / Sept Feb / Sept Feb / Sept Feb / Sept Feb - Mar / Sept Feb / Sept Feb / Sept Sept - Oct Sept - Oct / Feb - Mar Feb - Apr / Sept - Oct Feb - Mar / Sept - Oct Hot region (40 – 50 degree C)

Cold Cool region Warm Warm regions (5(10 – 20 region s (20 region ( 30 10 degree degree C – 30 degree – 40 degree C) C) C) Warm Season Vegetables Sowing Period June June June June June June June June June May - June May May - June May May May May - June May May March - Aug March - July March - June April - June March - June April - June March - July April - June March - July April - May / July - Aug April - July April - June April April April April April April May June May July May May

Beans Corn Cucumbers Eggplant Melons Peppers Summer Squash Winter Squash Tomatoes

March - April March - April / July - Aug March August March - May March - June March - April March - June May - June March - April

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Companion gardening It has been there since the Birth of Planet Earth. In the jungles and the rainforests of South America, Arunachal, Mizoram and Uttarakhand it grows naturedly. We gardeners may be doing it but without calling it COMPANION GARDENING. What is it? It is all that simple --- you could never have guessed it. - Attracting good bugs and keeping away the bad ones - Adding nutrients into the soil - Sometimes, even as simple as providing a bit of shade for sun sensitive plants There are two ways you can do this. - By planting certain plants together (e.g.: onions and carrots like each other, whereas beans and onions don’t) - By planting additional plants into the vegetable patch (e.g.: marigolds which normally one does not plant along with the vegetable plants, but they are a great companion plant.) - Similarly one does not plant flowers along with the vegetable plants, but some vegetables planted along with the flowers do wonders. If you plant garlic between your rose bushes these will grow better and pest free. Planting roses between each grapevine helps the grapes grow better and also adds a rosy flavour to the grapes. This procedure is new to the grower though in nature it has been there since time immemorial. Lot of experiment has to be done --- like which plant goes with which one and how many of these should be planted to overcome the problem This is good for the vegetables but what about those flowers? There are a number of flowers which you can add to the garden to get astonishing results. Geraniums: Attract pests away from roses and grape vines, distracts beet leafhoppers away from plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tobacco. Marigolds: French marigolds produce a pesticide chemical from their roots, which is so strong that it lasts years a number of years even if no new ones are planted. These will repel whitefly. Mexican marigolds will do the same, but their bushiness and height may affect the growth of some of the tender herbs. Nasturtiums: Works as a trap crop for aphids, and studies say is among the best at attracting predatory insects. They will attract Black Fly. The trees also play their vital role in the Companionship growing. Planting trees and shrubs is help to beautify any garden provided there is enough space. Remember some trees are also companion plants. Local, native trees and shrubs will attract the good pollinating insects (like butterflies, bees, and native wasps), reptiles, beetles and many other garden helpers.

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Companion Planting Guide
Plant Apple Asparagus Balm Basil Beans Companions Nasturtium Tomatoes, Parsley, Basil Tomatoes Tomatoes Potatoes Carrots, Cucumber, cauliflower, summer savory, most other vegetables and herbs. Onions, Lettuce, Cabbage, Silver beet, Kohlrabi Tomatoes, squash and strawberries Deters tomato worm, improves growth and flavour and in the strawberry patch will increase the yield. Dill attracts a wasp to control cabbage moth. Zinnias attract lady bugs to protect plants. Improves growth and flavour attracts bees helps repel flies and mosquitoes Function Climbs tree and repels codling moth. Foes

Rue Onions Garlic Gladiolus

Beetroot Borage

Brassica’s (Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli

Aromatic plants, sage, dill, camomile, beets, peppermint, rosemary, Beans, Celery, Onions, Potatoes, dwarf zinnias. Potatoes, Peas, Beans Lettuce, Peas, Leeks, Chives, Onions, Cucumbers, Beans, tomatoes, wormwood, sage, rosemary Celery Chives, Leeks, Tomatoes, Dwarf Beans Cabbages and onions

strawberries, Tomatoes

Broad beans Carrots

Dill in flower and being stored with apples

Cauliflower Celery & Celeriac Chamomile

Deters flies and mosquitoes and gives strength to any plant growing nearby. Repels stink beetles Garden edging, compost activator, medicinal, foliage spray, nutrient miner, essential to all gardens.

Citrus Comfrey

Bracken Fern grape vines Avocados and most fruit trees


Beans, corn, peas, radish, sunflowers

Potatoes, aromatic herbs

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Plant Dill Fennel French Marigold

Companions Brassica’s

Tomatoes most vegetables. nettles, garlic, chives, tansy, southernwood and horseradish Roses, raspberry

Function Dill attracts predator wasp for cabbage moth. (not F. vulgare or F.officionale) repels flies, fleas and ants Root secretions kill nematodes in the soil. Will repel white fly amongst tomatoes.


Most plants dislike it

Fruit trees Garlic

Geranium Grapes Hyssop Leek Lettuce Marigolds Melon Mint Hyssop, tansy and sage Cabbage, grapes Onion, celery, carrot tall flowers, carrots, radish, onion family Tomatoes, most vegetables Radish Cabbage, tomatoes

helps keep aphids away from roses and raspberries, repels cabbage butterfly Strong aroma - deters insects and encourages bees Attracts cabbage white moth keeping Brassica’s free from infestation. Flowers offer light shade for lettuce Kills couch, nematodes and eel worm Deters white cabbage moth, deters ants and fleas (especially spearmint), will deter clothes moths. Secrete a mustard oil, which many insects find attractive and will seek out, particularly the cabbage white moth. The flowers repel aphids and the cucumber beetle. The climbing variety grown up apple trees will repel codling moth.

Peas and beans



Radishes, cabbages, zucchini cucurbits, fruit trees

Onion and garlic Parsley

Beets, summer savory, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, camomile Tomato, asparagus, roses

Deters rose beetle, improves tomato and asparagus.


Carrots, turnips, corn, beans, radishes, cucumbers, most vegetables and herbs

Onions, garlic gladiolas, potatoes

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Plant Pumpkin Pyrethrum Radish Raspberry Rosemary Roses Sage Spinach Squash Strawberries Sunflower Sweet Corn Companions Corn Will repel bugs if grown around the vegetable garden. Radish attracts leaf minor away from spinach Function Foes


Peas, nasturtium, lettuce, cucumbers, spinach Most vegetables Cabbage, beans, carrots, sage Garlic, chives, parsley, mignonette lettuce. Rosemary, cabbage and carrots Strawberries Nasturtium Corn Bush bean, spinach, borage, lettuce Cucumbers Potatoes, Peas, Beans, cucumbers, pumpkin, squash Here and there in the garden Asparagus, Parsley, Chives, onion, Broccoli, Sweet Basil, marigold, carrots, parsley. Peas, nasturtium, lettuce, cucumbers

Blackberries, tomatoes, potato
Deters cabbage moth, bean beetles and carrot fly

Deters cabbage moth and carrot fly


Cabbage Potato
Corn acts as a trellis for beans and beans attract predators of corn pests. Protects cabbages, improves growth and flavour of vegetables, general insect repellent.


Turnip Wormwood (Artemesia, not Ambrosia)


Near aromatic herbs and vegetables

Although it can inhibit the growth of plants near it, wormwood does repel moths, flies and fleas and keeps animals off the garden. Plant along borders and paths. Enhances essential oil production and flavour

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LAWNS Lush green and a well-maintained lawn is most soothing site in a garden. For healthy and dense growth, a lawn should get good amount of direct sunlight. Shadow cast by trees with its large, dense canopy or a tall building near the lawn could harm the lawn. The roots of the large trees also can compete with lawn; thus near the roots of the tree, the lawn will grow patchy and sparse. Preparing the Site: To prepare the bed for the lawn, the ground should be dug out at least up to 15 cm depth. If the existing soil is of not of good quality, then it is better to replace it with good fertile soil. For good drainage it is better to put about 3 cm thick layer of brickbats or coarse gravely soil at the bottom. Over this give a layer of soil and farmyard manure, thoroughly mixed, in proportion of 3 parts soil and 2 parts farmyard manure. All stones larger than 2 cm should be removed from this mixture. This layer should be about 6 cm thick. The uppermost layer for lawn surface should be made up by mixing thoroughly, equals parts of soil and farmyard manure. Stones larger than ½ cm from the soil should be removed before mixing. Using a rake levels the soil surface. By raking not only leveling is done, but, large stones, if left in the soil, can be removed. Large stones left near the soil surface are capable of damaging the lawn mower blades. After this, drench the site thoroughly with water. This will help the soil-manure settle well, without leaving large air pockets. When the soil surface turns drier the site is compressed by using a light lawn roller. If the soil is very wet, then it will stick to the roller. Unless rolling is done, the soil starts settling down unevenly, thus spoiling the lawn level. Lawn Grass Planting: It is advisable to water the bed regularly for a few days before the lawn is actually planted. In this period the weeds start sprouting. The weeds should be removed regularly. After the site is comparatively weed-free, tufts of lawn grass can be planted. At the time of planting, the soil should be moist. Clumps of lawn grass should be planted at about 5 cm distance. If this is done, a perfect lawn can be prepared in 30 to 40 days. Planting with tufts of grasses is always preferable and cheaper than to sowing lawn grass seeds. In India most lawns are made by planting tufts only. Types of Lawn Grasses: Cynodon grass commonly called as Doob grass or Durva is very sturdy. This grass prefers a very sunny location. It is quite drought resistant. Bermuda grass, a fine-leaf variety of Cynodon has shorter inter-nodes. Shorter inter-nodes make it look more dense and carpet-like. Paspalum grass has wide leaf blades. For semi-shady locations Paspalum will be a better choice. This grass also needs less maintenance, but looks little coarse compared to Cynodon varieties. Zoysia, commonly called as carpet grass or jumping grass has a tendency of forming lumpy growth. This makes it unsuitable for the lawns which are often used as sit outs. Though, due to the lumpy growth, the lawn has its own beauty, it is one of the difficult ones to maintain. If mowed regularly the lumps are not formed and in that case its asset of the lumpy growth is lost. Mowing after the lumps are formed is almost impossible. At this time only lawn shears can be used. Though this carpet grass feels soft to a bare foot, a freshly mowed Zoysia is capable of poking. Compared to other grasses, Zoysia spreads slower. In certain cases this is an advantage. Unlike Cynodon

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and Paspalum, this grass won't easily creep in to flowerbeds surrounding the lawn. If the location of the lawn is shady or under a tree the best grass to plant is Neelgeri grass. It is very hardy and grows even in locating with poor sun light.

Bermuda grass

Cynodon grass

Doob grass

Paspalum grass

Zoysia grass


Lawn sprinkler


Watering: Roots of lawn grasses do not grow very deep; most of the roots are within 10 to 15 cm depth of the soil cover only. That is why thorough drenching of the lawn in not needed. In fact light sprinkling of water more often is a better method of watering the lawns. Watering of the lawn should be done only after the top surface of the lawn seems to be turning dry. In a sandy and well-drained soil and also in raised lawns watering should be done more frequently. If watering is done in such a manner that the soil surface remains excessively moist, then green, slippery moss starts growing on the soil surface. This condition will certainly make the lawn grow sparse. For watering of lawns lawn sprinklers are available. Alternately, a hose fitted with a rose also may be used. Lawns can be watered any time of the day. However, it is better to water them in the morning, as in the evenings normally one likes to relax on the lawn. Mowing: Mowing of the lawn should be done very regularly; preferably, ones a week. Allowing the lawn to grow tall and then cutting it very low may save the labour. If cut low, the brownish-yellow patches of lower leaf blades come in to view. This makes the lawn look unattractive. So never cut the lawns low. Mow them so that the carpet-like look is imparted. Small patches of lawns can be cut by lawn shears. For uniform look bigger lawns must be mowed with lawn mowers. Lawn mowers are of two types. Wheel type and roller type. Wheel lawn mowers are cheaper and lighter compared to a roller type of the same size. However, wheel type mowers tend to get stuck in wet soil. This causes problems in monsoon. Advantage of using a roller type mower is that, it does not get stuck in wet soil and gives more uniform cuts. As the lawn is being mowed, a roller mower also levels some minor unevenness of the soil surface. All lawn mowers have a grass box attached. This box collects grass clippings. Now a day’s engine driven and electric mowers too are available. In north India, in certain places, a type of sword is used to cut lawns. The long sword is swung, striking the grass. Sharp edges of the sword shears the grass. With this method uniform cutting is not possible. This way the clippings are scattered over a wide area. So cleaning the lawn with a broom becomes necessary. In remote places, where repairs and maintenance of the mowers becomes difficult and expensive; and where the labour is cheap, this method of sword slashing of large lawns is much faster than using a lawn shears.

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Aftercare: Do not trample lawns. Pathways in lawns can be made with stepping-stones, alternatively with bricks or tiles. As the grass grows, it tends to form very thick mats of roots just below the soil surface. This prevents aeration of roots and water from percolating deep enough. As the surface soil dries quickly, the grasses get starved of water. If the root mats are carefully examined, one will notice that they are devoid of any soil or manure. In such a case the lawn grasses tend to compete with each other and start losing the vigour and gradually turn brownish. To rectify this condition "spiking" of the lawn becomes necessary. Spiking is a process in which the lawn surface is poked with a pointed instrument to at least 5 cm depth. For this a garden fork, a crow bar or a pickaxe also can be used. These implements must be poked in the ground and also pulled out straight (90 degrees to the soil surface). In foreign countries spiked rollers are available. These rollers simplify the job of spiking. Before spiking, the lawn should be mowed as low as possible. Closer the poked holes better will be the results. After spiking is done, the lawn grass should be covered with finely sieved (3 mm mesh sieve) mixture of 3 parts of farmyard manure and 2 parts of good garden soil. Spiking and top-dressing of a lawn should be done once in 6 months to prevent severe root matting. One may use chemical fertilizers, such as urea, for lush green look of the lawn. However, the organic manures are must for the lawns. Amongst the weeds which could cause serious damage to the lawn is Cyprus rotundas. These grasslike weeds have a widespread, underground root system. They also have underground runners which produce numerous tubers. When the weed is pulled out, most of the runners along with tubers remain in the ground only; which continue to grow again and again. So as soon as this weed is seen sprouting in the lawns, they must be dug out of the ground without any delay. This will prevent them from forming the underground runners and tubers. Ground Covers: Great effort is needed to maintain a perfect lawn. The sprawling open spaces, which are hardly used as sitting places, can be planted with ground covers. Though grasses too are ground covers, certain creeping herbs used for covering the grounds are called as 'ground covers'. Wedelia, Pilea, Pellionia, Plectranthus, Hemigraphis, Alternanthera, Syngonium, money plant, Tradescantia, Callisia, selaginella, Episcia, Portulaca, Bramhi, Helxine etc. are very good as ground covers

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SOIL pH RANGES 5 5.5 5.55.9 6.0– 6.56.4 6.9 7 7.17.5 7.68.0 9



Soil pH Scale Description: Note: The pH scale is based on the powers of 10. For example: a pH level of 5 is 100 times more acidic than a pH of 7.        pH pH pH pH pH pH pH of: 5.5 and less = Strongly Acid of 5.5 - 5.9 = Medium Acid of 6.0 – 6.4 = Slightly Acid of 6.5 – 6.9 = Very Slightly Acid of 7.0 = Neutral of 7.1 – 7.5 = Very Slightly Alkaline of 7.6 – 8.0 = Slightly Alkaline

Soil pH is simply a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a soil. Soil pH is critical because it affects the health of plants. Before a nutrient can be used by plants it must be dissolved in soil water (most nutrients dissolve best when the soil is slightly acidic to neutral). The good news is… Soil pH is easy to check and can be altered / corrected. The scale range of Soil pH goes from 0 to 14 with the lower end of the scale being Acidic pH (0 to 6) and the higher end of the scale being Basic pH (8 to14). Most garden and landscape plants prefer a ph in the range of 6 to 7.2 which is considered closer to Neutral pHs If you have a plant that prefers a Soil pH in the range of 6 to 7.2, and your Soil pH is 5 (strongly acidic), your plant is going to have major challenges. On the other hand, some plants prefer acidic soils to do well. An example is Azaleas which prefer acidic soils to do best. Steps to the Correct Soil pH Levels: 1- Determine the best Soil pH for the particular plant or plants you are growing. This can be found on the package or by asking the lawn and garden professional where the purchase is made. 2- Determine the Soil pH in your garden area. Do this by taking samples from a few different areas and testing the mixture. One method to test is using a Soil pH dye kit where you saturate the soil sample with a dye and the resulting color change tells you the pH range. Another way is to send your soil sample to a local county extension agent or work through a local master gardener to get the test results. A third way to measure is with a pH meter.

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3- Match up what you will be planting to what your actual Soil pH is. If you are planting something that needs neutral soil and your ph level is acidic then you need to add something to the soil to raise the pH level to neutral for example. Changing the Soils pH Levels: Lime is usually added to acid soils to increase soil pHs. The addition of lime not only replaces hydrogen ions and raises soil pH, thereby eliminating most major problems associated with acid soils but it also provides two nutrients, calcium and magnesium to the soil. Lime also makes phosphorus that is added to the soil more available for plant growth and increases the availability of nitrogen by hastening the decomposition of organic matter. Liming materials are relatively inexpensive, comparatively mild to handle and leave no objectionable residues in the soil. The application of anhydrous ammonia as a nitrogen fertilizer contributes to lowering the Soil pHs. Other elements to add to your soils to lower the pH levels are:     Acid Sphagnum Peat Iron Sulfate Aluminum Sulfate Elemental Sulfur

Note: Consult a local Agricultural extension Officer if possible before changing your pH levels because each region has unique sets of environmental circumstances. They will be able to tell you specifically what to add to your Soil for best results.

Examples of Soil pH Preferences for Plants
Flowers & Soil pH preferences: Acid Soil: Azaleas, Hydrangea, Protes, etc. Slightly Acid to Neutral Soil: Roses, Tulips, Waratah, etc. Neutral to Alkaline Soil: Carnations, Daffodils, etc. Fruit Crop Soil pH preferences: Acid Soil: Apples, Macadamia, Nectarine Slightly Acid to Neutral Soil: Grapes, Peach, Pears, Apricot, etc. Neutral to Alkaline Soil: Cherry, Plum, Almond, etc. Vegetable Crop Soil pH preferences: Acid Soil: Blackberry, Blueberry, Potato, Pumpkin, Strawberry, Watermelon, Rhubarb, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potato, Raspberry, Squash, Tomato, Turnips, etc. Slightly Acid to Neutral Soil: Beans, Brussels Sprout, Carrots, Colards, Cucumber, Eggplant, Garlic, Mustard, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Radish, Spinach, Watercress, etc. Neutral to Alkaline Soil: Cabbage, Asparagus, Beetroot, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cress, Leek, Lettuce, Muskmelon, Okra, Onion, etc. Field Crop Soil pH preferences: Acid Soil: Cotton, Oats, Peanuts, Linseed, Lupines, etc.

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Slightly Acid to Neutral Soil: Barely, Corn, Kale, Canola, etc. Neutral to Alkaline Soil: Chickpeas, Field Peas, Lentils, Safflower, etc.

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