Green Thumb

Thank you for you amazing feed back on last weeks Green Thumb column. It definitely shows people still love the idea of greenery in their homes and do go that extra mile to achieve the results. So keeping that in mind I am going to make this column a regular feature, so like last time I got in touch with Veena Nanda of Sunshine Gardens boutique to answer a few of my queries. Sunshine’s Garden Boutique is not just a retail set up for all your gardening needs but also assists you in designing and landscaping your gardens. They offer awesome garden accessories from around the world, giving you the ability to conceptualize a picture perfect garden full of artefacts and accessories. They also conduct Bonsai workshops for those interested. So here are a few questions they answered for us. Do send me more queries and we can request Veena to answer those as well.

Q 1. I have recently moved to Mumbai and have a small balcony where I want to plant potted plants and creepers. Can you suggest which plants I should go in for?
You should be able to grow some hardy variety as it’s a coastal region. Try Roses, Hibiscus, Aglaenema , Marigold (seasonal) , Bougainvillea , Dieffenbachia , Ferns, Ficus, Schefflera and if it’s not too sunny you can try Orchids too. In creepers Alamanda should do well.

Q 2. My partner and I have bought a small farmhouse in Gurgaon, and I am very keen to grow my own vegetables, can you suggest how I can go about it?
It’s nice to grow only those vegetables you enjoy eating. Give priority to those prized for incredible flavor when eaten fresh from the garden: sweet corn, beans and peas, tomatoes and young spinach, among others. First prepare a plot of flat ground that gets full sun nearly all day. Break up and turn the soil and add compost or other organic material. A full day of blazing sunshine is especially important if you Figure out how much growing space you have and plant accordingly. Lettuce, for example, can be grown in a solid mat, but tomatoes need to be spaced about 2 feet (60 cm) apart. Give pumpkins at least 4 feet (120 cm) of growing room. Growing requirements are provided on seed packets, in catalogs, and on nursery tags, go by that. Choose crops that require less room if you have a small vegetable garden or grow vegetables in a container. Lettuce is a great pot plant, and ‘Patio’ or ‘Tumbler’ tomatoes will grow well in a hanging basket. Plants that climb and vine, such as cucumbers and pole beans, can be trained up a trellis to take up less room horizontally. Tuck herbs and parsley into flower beds. Schedule plantings around the two main growing seasons which vary by region: cool (spring and fall) and warm (summer). Common cool-season vegetables include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips. Warm-season crops include beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes. Sow some seeds directly in the ground as they grow best that way: beans, beets, carrots, chard, corn, lettuce, melons, peas, pumpkins, squash and turnips. Start with nursery seedlings of certain other crops unless you are an experienced vegetable grower. These plants tend to do better when set out in the garden as seedlings: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Buy seeds at nurseries, look for seed packets marked as having been packed for the current year. If you plan to shop for seedlings, do it when your soil is prepared and you are ready to plant. Keep them moist and don’t let them sit around for more than three days. Buy healthy and vigorous seedlings. They should stand up straight and be stocky, not lanky, with no yellow leaves or bug holes.