Monday, April 25, 2011

Plantation Season in South India

Location Details:
Country: India
State: Kerala
City: Trivandrum
Climate:Tropical, equable, hot, humid and dry.

Soil: Red soil in the Southern-most part of Kerala
The red colour is due to the presence of Fe2O3. The soil is almost homogeneous. Acidity ranges from 4.8 to 5.9. The gravel content is comparatively less. Low in essential nutrients and organic matter.

Meda Masam or Medam month in Malayalam calendar followed in Kerala is the ninth month. Meda masam 2011 begins on 14 April and ends on 14 May. The first day of Medam month (Vishu) marks the beginning of the Astrological Malayalam New Year in Kerala. Every year this period is suitable to start plantation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pest Control

Insects, pests and other worms are constant visitors, rather a part in my organic roof and now became a kind of habitat. One way I feel happy to say that these organisms got attracted and living a life here. But my job is to control them from attacking the plants. I keep checking which insects are actually harmful, once identify one as spoiling the plant I use organic pest control measures.In this post I will try to update with all possible pest, insects that i find in my garden.

Tobacco leaf and garlic are the two ingredients that is being used for controlling pest. Usage of this will not kill any pest or worm, but will restrict it to reproduce


Further to that manually remove the worms from the leaves or found in any other parts of the plant.  

Usage of a sprayer will not cause any damage to the plants. Proper care needs to be taken while spraying as the smell of the natural pesticide may not attract the butterfly or bees those help in pollinating the flowers.

View related links:
Pests and insects I
Pests and insects II
Pests and insects III 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Homemade Compost for Terrace gardening

Preparing compost require sufficient amount of vegetable wastes, dry leaves and other  waste materials from plants. Vegetable waste collected in a month from my kitchen will fill maximum a 10 liter container. Since I have almost 50 sacks on my roof top, this processing and the cycle time for compost generation only from vegetable waste is not sufficient. Soil used in first and second batch of plantation was not 100 percent compost, of course 30% of compost and used hydroponics but not to the level of what is required, also used dry leaves and other  parts of plants.

This time for preparing compost used wood chips since I read that wood chips could produce more earth worms while processing it for compost preparation.

Step 1 : Collect dry leaves from your yard and either crush it with hands or else use a cutter to chop into pieces.
Chopped dry leaves of Teak
Dry chopped Coconut leaves.

In India, Kerala state is rich in coconut plantation. These leaves were also chopped into pieces.

Step 2 : If you have harvested any plant from your garden, then make use of those for composting.
Chop those plant leaves and its stem into smaller pieces. Make sure that the plant is free from pest or worms. Ideal way to process this would be, once the plant is plucked out from the container, cut the plant leaves and stem into pieces and leave it under sunlight for 2-3 days so that if there are any worms or insects that may not reproduce or will be killed.

Step 3 : Wood chips if available make use of it, since this is  a high carbon source and would increase the moisture content within in the compost processing container. 

The air within the pile moves more easily through the composting materials. Therefore, during the active composting period, the temperature inside the pile does not fall even without frequent turning or aeration.

Wood chips
Wood chips

Step 4 : Collect vegetable waste from kitchen everyday. Store it in a separate container and make use of it once ready to prepare the compost.
Chop vegetable waste into smaller pieces so that the decomposition process will take lesser time.Collected vegetable waste which will be used for preparing compost this needs to get decayed. So it is suggested to cut an chop those into pieces. Better to add wood chips and some manure, so that the decaying process will be fast.Proper ventilation is required in compost pit.
Vegetable Waste

Step 5 : Mix chopped dry leaves, plant parts, wood chips and vegetable waste in a container that will be used for composting, container should have the provision for air circulation with in it and also suggested for continuous mixing 

Turn the compost at least 3 times in a week, exposed parts of the compost towards the middle of the container. This will expose the compost to oxygen which essential to break it down. Doing this will also accelerate the decomposition process. 

The clay pot filled with coconut husk, coconut fiber, and vegetable waste, and soil is also used but only 30%
Processing compost in a clay pot.

The image shows the black colored compost mixed with soil. This was processed in previous months.
This compost used 40 % of vegetable waste and other plant parts.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poombpatta - The Pupa

In Malayalam Language there are few poems, rhymes and other articles written on this. I could find the similar kind of pupa in my garden, but not on roof. Plant called 'Arali'  which was grown on ground and I could find this pupa one day.

In this image you can see a pupa which almost looked like a skull. 

Living habitat on Roof Top

Blessed to see and feel living things, unexpected creatures on my roof. Few left after 3 months and few among them still living. To an extent this gives me more excitement when I find them in my garden,. the reason would be the organic plans or may be not using any pesticides and fertilizers.

It is been 30 days now, since I have seen this chameleon. I could find him/her when it was very tiny in size and always hanging on either bitter gourd or other beans plant.

Small bugs on bitter gourd plants. Too many and not easy to control. 

Third Harvest

Weather condition was not that supporting for a good Harvest, but still the plants could fetch the maximum. There are a lot of learning attached to this season, those will be described in this Post.

In this image you can see that the tomato fruit is too small, apart from that, purple brinjal, green chilly and lady's finger can be seen in the basket.

Okra (Ladies Finger / Bhindi ) 3 in Nos. ( Planted 3 months before)
 20 Okra in 3 months, Plants still has 10-15 buds.
Tomato- 4 Plants ( Planted 3 months before)
Big Size- 25, Small size- 50.
Pumpkin - 3 Plants ( Planted 3 months before)
Only One fruit appeared but in growing stage. Taking longer time , but the vines are spreading around the roof.
Green chilly - 6 Plants ( Planted 6 months before)
100 chillys 
Snake guard 3 Plants ( Planted 2 months before)
 No Result

Cucumber 2 Plants ( Planted 50 days before)
4 Cucumber
Indian Spinach (Green & Red) 50 Plants. 
Every plant was matured enough to use for making curries. We had a good Dal curry while using spinach as an ingredient.
Long Beans 2 Plants
Started giving flowers
 Brinjal (Egg Plant) 10 Plant (Planted 3 months before)
 50 Brinjal (Small in size)
Elephant yam, Colocasia, 
 Flowers are constantly appearing. Enjoying the beauty of it.
Bitter gourd 4 plants
Started producing fruits.
Big broad bean 2 plants
25 beans
Green egg plant
25 fruits.

Featured Post

Vegetable garden on terrace or roof

Inspiration on growing vegetables on roof developed while discussing with my friend Mr D, he had lot of video collections and that influenc...