Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vegetables at work

I mean literally. I work in this nifty campus in East Bangalore. One of my first observations on entering the campus was that they have a nice herb garden and vegetable garden. There is one section of the real estate that is dedicated to grow edible stuff. This is a small portion compared to the size of the building, but this is the first time I am seeing this anywhere in Bangalore. Till about a few months back I was always of the impression that vegetables are grown on the ground. Never considered container grown vegetables seriously till I started garden last November. I was also surprised to see a lot of fellow bloggers growing there own vegetables. Some of them in balconies smaller than what I have here. Anyway since I have been more of a flower person(wife plays a big role here), my balcony is filled with flowering pots. I am just seed starting some vegetables and hopefully will have some content in the next few months that I can write about.
Coming to the point of this post, the facility management takes good care of the garden in the office and grow different variety of vegetables every quarter. Once they yield well, they replace them with other seeds. When I joined, the vegetable garden was full of tomatoes. Now the dominant vegetable is the Ladies Finger(Okra). Some pictures that I clicked recently.

Ladies Finger(Okra)

The flower from the Ladies Finger
Looks very much like the Hibiscus while it is opening
The ladies finger at various stages of growth
Radish(Absolutely beautiful foliage)
Close up of the radish growth(I think almost ready for harvest)
Closeup of the beans(long type)
Capsicum flowering (Corrected by GoodEarth)
Pomegranate(I am growing this at home too), check it out
Another variety of ladies finger(leaves are much thinner, may be better for container gardening)
What is this one? Any ideas?
Guava (Blur Ting's observation)

Monday, September 20, 2010

African Tulips

After the season of Gulmohurs, it is time for the African Tulip to paint the skyline in Bangalore orange. I will be visiting Chennai this weekend and will find out if these trees are coloring the city there too. These are much bigger than the gulmohur. The shape of the flower is very interesting. They have a beautiful claw like the eagle that holds the beautifully shaped flower. These also carpet the ground with their colors. As usual I found these all throughout Bangalore. I had to attend a function on the other side of Bangalore and found these everywhere.
Next thing to do is to wait for the seeds.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

And lo and behold

My garden springs a surprise on me.
Two events:
1.I started setting this garden up in November/December 2009. That is when we moved into our home. The orange hibiscus has been one of the hardiest and most productive plants in my balcony. It was also the first one we bought for the balcony.
2. Sometime in April.... We give our son pomegranate juice in the mornings during summer time. I juice the pomegranate seeds in the blender, this extracts all the liquid/gel out, then filter the seeds and give the juice to my son. I usually eat the seeds that remain in the filter.( I love pomegranates)
How are these two events related? Read on...

One day, I was on the phone in the balcony, with the ground seeds in one hand and phone in the other. I absent mindedly put some seeds into the hibiscus pot thinking they will decompose soon and act as manure. I forgot about this after that day.

A couple of weeks later I noticed some growth at the base of the hibiscus plant. I was under the assumption they were weeds and left them for cleaning over the weekend. Fast comes the weekend and time for de-weeding. To my surprise, this "weed" was not there in any other pot. Only this one pot with the hibiscus plant. Again I left the "weeds" there. Some weeds can give interesting flowers(post later).

The "weeds" kept growing and suddenly I was reminded of this phone conversation/seeding that I had done some weeks earlier. I just could not contain the excitement realizing that I had done. Could it be possible that my pomegranate seeds that underwent all the torture through the blender managed to germinate? Am I growing pomegranate in my home? This was just awesome. Laptop opens up immediately and google starts getting queries on pomegranate leaf shape. And lo and behold, there stood my pomegranate plant, intertwined with the base of the orange hibiscus. I also had a visiting friend confirm that they were indeed pomegranate saplings. Once that was confirmed, I let them grow till I felt they were strong enough to be pulled out without affecting either their root or the hibiscus plant(my wifes favorite). Now this one sits in its own pot with a few saplings planted together. I think I will try to make a Bonsai out of one of them. The others, I need to figure out some space to grow a small tree in the balcony.

Hopefully, I will be able to make pomegranate juice few seasons from now from a home grown tree.

Enjoy some pics of the pomegranate and hibiscus together. I still do not pics of the separate pomegranate plant. Will upload it over the weekend.

Friday, September 10, 2010

EMG: Periwinkle

The periwinkle is the plant that requires least care in my balcony. The care produce ratio for this is very high. Minimum care, but very good results. I have not attended to it for soil improvement (compost) or flowering agents for nearly the last 45 days. All it needs is its quota of water, but it has been doing really well. It is in a 6 inch pot and I have restricted its growth to less that a foot in height. Currently it has around 10 flowers at any point in time. I think this will make very good border plants. You can find it in most nurseries here in Bangalore. It comes in various colors. My first one and the most common one is the beautiful shade of pink.Pruning is not required frequently and that too minimal when required. You can prune down the oddly growing branch to give better shape to the plant.  The flowers are not the only beautiful part of the plant, even the foliage, the shape of the leaves and its color and texture are so nice. This plant does well in both shade and sunlight. However, it requires atleast a couple of hours of sunlight a day for it to flower well. Just make sure the soil has good drainage and you have a beauty that you have to water everyday and that is all. If you have the time, adding compost and flowering mix every couple of months will help the growth of the plant. Oh, before I forget, this is one plant with which I have not had any pest problems so far.

This is definitely a great addition to the easy maintenance garden balcony.

 This is a plant at a petrol bunk on the way back home from office. Amazing foliage and flowers.

 This is a new color that I got recently.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Losing plants

Last week was relatively easy time with the plants. Could not focus on them much due to poor health. Fortunately they did not need much watering as the Bangalore weather was fine. I would just need to spray hard over the soil before going to work and once in the evenings as their was sufficient rains in the afternoons. The unpredictability in the weather though resulted in the loss of three of my plants. The dark clouds vanished one day and I found out to my dismay that my dwarf dahlia, zinnia, a double hibiscus sapling and another dahlia that I have been growing from seed drooped significantly by evening. I watered it well immediately but couldnt find much improvement in its condition. I kept it around for a week with special care for these guys, but the plants just kept getting worse. This is the maximum number of plants that I have lost in one go and that too due to lack of care. I guess this is one of the facts of gardening that we have to accept. Just getting used to watering in this season that has unpredictable rains and sunshine.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

National Seminar on Organic Terrace Gardening

Got to know of the "National Seminar on Organic Terrace Gardening" through the writer of the Panchagavya blog. This is being conducted in the University of Agricultural Sciences . More details can be found here and here. I will not be able to attend though :(. Hope the folks who attend are able to bring back lots of info that they can share on their blogs.