Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Preparing For The Rains

It’s been a while since we’ve posted: that’s because we’ve been busy WATERPROOFING our terrace

This blog post is going to help you prepare for the rains. Here’s a handy list of things to keep in mind before the heavens open:

1)   For container plants, now would be a good time to aerate them. Loosen up and dig out the soil around the plant and add a handful of organic manure, then replace the soil. This is because when it rains, the rain will clog the air channels in the soil and will get thick and heavy around the roots. Also, rains will likely carry away some of the topsoil and important nutrients. Also remember to unclog the drain holes at the bottom or sides of containers.

2)   If you have a terrace garden, ensure you call a professional and service your drains, as well as the rainwater drainage in the terrace. This is especially important if you have any L shaped pipes. Always avoid having L shaped storm water drain pipes- they clog real easy.

3)   Waterproofing is a very important element to rooftop gardens. Waterproofing requires you call an architect or a special “kadiya”. Don’t just hire labour and slap on some cement mixed with water proofing powder.

4)   Small plants and rock garden plants such as cactus, and succulent plants do not like excessive rain. Try erecting a temporary shelter over them with a glass plane and some bricks, keeping the slope away from the plants.

5)   Its time to start rainwater harvesting! Rain is the best kind of water source for plants because it contains nitrates (especially after a thunderstorm), microbes, and is an ideal pH. Unlike tap water, it is free from chlorides and fluorides.

6)   Excessive rain or harsh rain with wind is bad for kitchen garden plants. If you have sticky clay type of soil that creates “kichhad”, it could become water logged in the rain. You may need to add a sandy layer to it. You may also have to erect cloches.  Tomato plants turn yellow with excess rain, and chilli plants are affected by a variety of diseases due to excess water logging. Plants such as broccoli and strawberry rot with excess rain. Remember, too much of a good thing is never good.

7)   If you see frogs, toads or earthworms crawling in your soil, don’t scream in terror and start killing them- they are just coming up for air. Earthworms are a gardener’s best friends: they help keep soil loose and aerated, and help breakdown organic manure to create plant food. Froggies and toads will eat all your insects and pests.


8)   Insects and sucking pests are bad for gardens, and very prolific in the rains. You will need a good pesticide and fungicide spray for your  plants such as Chinni Kam and Bavistin respectively. Read instructions on the bottles carefully and use accordingly.

   9)   Do you have a fountain or a water body in your garden? You will notice a lot of wriggly tiny black creatures- these are mosquito and insect larvae. The best way to get rid of them is to add wild Guppies and Gambusia, which are mosquito eating fish.

10) Now is the best time to grow herbs like Mint, Coriander and Chives. Just make sure they stay well drained.