Your grow base – The planters

 
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While you plan to start a garden there are few things you need to know about choosing the right base in which you can grow a plants.

There is a famous note “Any medium that can hold some soil and has draining options can be used for growing plants. Your imagination is the key.” It is true and I have witnessed excellent ideas from water bottles to coconut shells being used as planters. However it is important to know the pros and cons of each planter so that you can decide what suits best for you while practicing organic gardening. I will be discussing on market available options.

Clay Pots Clay/ Terracotta pots:

Made out of clay this is the best planter a gardener can use in their organic gardening.

Pros: Withstands heat and keeps the soil temperature intact. 100% Organic. When broken can be recycled with soil.

Cons: Heavy. Brittle. Costly.

  Wooden crates (used or custom made):

Made out wood this is also the best planter a gardener can use in their organic gardening.

Pros: Withstands heat and keeps the soil temperature intact. 100% Organic. When broken can be recycled with soil.

Cons: Heavy. very costly, porn to termite and fungal attack. May break with rains and sun if low quality wood is used.

Plastic flower pots Plastic flower pots:

Made out of durable plastic the option is good for indoor plants.

Pros: Light weight. Slightly lower cost when compared to clay pots.

Cons: Not suitable for out door in hot climates as we have in Chennai, India. Non organic. Cannot be recycled with soil.

Plastic drums/ Crates Plastic containers/ drums/ old paint buckets, plastic crates etc:

Made out of industry plastics these are durable and can withstand heat to an extent. Drain holes need to be manually drilled.

Pros: Cost effective when purchased from waste paper marts, light weight.

Cons: Non organic. Cannot be recycled with soil. May contain toxic chemical residues which might have an impact on human, plants and soil You need to ensure the planter is cleaned thoroughly and all chemical/ toxic residues is cleared.

LDPE Bags  LDPE (Low-density polyethylene):

This is the low cost option available for terrace gardeners. I personally use this moderately.

Pros: Low cost. Ultra light wait. available in square and round shapes and different volumes. Falls under recyclable plastic category. Heat resistant to some extent.

Cons: Not long lasting and can tear up if handled incorrectly. Non organic. Transfer heat to soil.

HDPR Bags HDPE (High-density polyethylene):

This is the medium and more durable cost option available for terrace gardeners. I personally use this a lot.

Pros: Medium cost. Light wait. available in square, rectangle and round shapes and different volumes. Falls under recyclable plastic category. Heat resistant. Ideal for all terrace gardening needs though it is not organic. Last upto 3+ years even with rough handling. Maintains soil temperature.

Cons:  Non organic. Certain shapes like rectangular and broad circles need external support to hold still.

Plastic trougs Plastic Troughs:

This is mostly seen in nurseries. Good for sowing multiple crops. You have a feel like you have a ground set up with more space for roots.

Pros:

Light wait. available in square and rectangle  shapes have seen 9″ and 1 foot heights length and breadth is customizable as you wish. Falls under recyclable plastic category. Heat resistant. Maintains soil temperature. Has hooks to support sides.

Cons:  Non organic. Very costly (? 200 to 300/ square meter minimum).

 

I extensively use HDPE grow bags and moderately use LDPE grow bags for my terrace garden and I also use old paint buckets and plastic trays purchased from the waste paper marts. I have also purchased old wood and have personally designed wooden troughs.

Though I do not market for any certain products the below info might be of help when you are planning your needs. Always remember the thumb rule organic gardening is supposed to reduce the cost not increase it.

We all feel comfortable now days to purchase the desired products online and get delivered at our door step. Remember the seller is charged for displaying their product and a commission every time a product is sold and the seller also incurs shipping cost and costs doubles if the products are returned. All these costs are added to your purchase. More over a look and feel of the product helps you decide which one best suits your needs. Hence I would strongly recommend step out and do the shopping outside. Remember you have to step out any ways to do gardening :).

For Chennaities in my hunt for the cheap and best products I found the below options best and cost effective and hence have freezed them for my personal needs.

LDPE bags can be purchased very cheaply from shops in Anderson street, Parrys corner, Chennai.

HDPE is primarily exported from Coimbatore and Manidharma Biotech ,, Porur (Having retail shop near Porur Signal and main shop at Madhanandhapuram, Porur) is my one stop solution.

Just a reminder again I am not marketing for any individual or organisation. I would leave the options to the readers to decide ( I am not going to put any disclaimers here :D)

I will write soon on other tips. Until than happy gardening.

 

 

 

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A fresh start

 
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You might be wondering why I created this website/ blog under the cover  of sharing tips on gardening yet still only blogging my personal philosophical thoughts.

Being an orhanic gardener require a lots of courage, will power and hard work. Its not a simple task. A courage to say no to inorganic methods. A courage and will power to learn the ways of nature and move ahead. Hard work in terms of physical and mental attitude towards the forces of nature. I personally feel this is my responsibility to seed and nurture this in your minds for a better experience as an organic gardener.

Ever since I started practicing organic gardening I have been facing all types of hardships both from humans and nature. But my strong following of the 3P’s I preach has kept me going. As they say “A Cherry on top” nature has yet again left me with a challenge in the name of “Vardha”.

What you are seeing above is the glimpse of the status of my organic terrace garden post the fury of cyclonic storm Vardha which has devastated the daily life of every person in the city of Chennai.

The cyclone has stormed out leaving power cables down, spoiling the under sea firber optics leaving the network down. The city is in the state of stalemate with no practical communication/ knowledge of communication on the devastation, yet the city is radiating back with positive minded people working hard to set things back.

As there is no power taking care of family needs are of top most priority however it is also important for me as a gardener to recover and nurture the surviving plants with which I can rebuild the garden.

With uncertinity on when the power woukd resume, using the water available in the water tank for garden needs is not an advisable task. So have to fetch water from ground all the way to the 3rd floor. Have to clear the debries and make way to the plants that did survive yet lying under the debris for some one to save them. No practical (physical) help from neighbours as they do have understandable priorities to take care of there family. Even hired worker are into activities that has much larger priorities.

Hence its game on yet again me rebuilding the garden from scratch physically alone but mentally strong and supported by like minded positive souls. I will document each and every step of my journey so that all can benefit.

Thank you folks for spending your time. The light is on so let me get to my garden first before other priorities pitch in.

Happy gardening.

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Recovering from a disaster

 
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Gardening is all about experience. Both good and bad. Mostly its the bad experience that is showered more. More than a lush green garden or a decent yield its the pest/ disease attack or an undue climate that gives a  hard time to a budding gardener.

Did you just agree to what i said above? Well I would recommend you to disagree with my above note. Recollect the 3 P’s I had discussed earlier and invoke the patience and perseverance part in you.

Remember life is all about up’s and down’s. If you get tired and loose interest due to the constant downs you face in life you may never raises up. But if your give it a second thought your destiny would be different. This life lesson can be easily learnt through gardening.

There is a story circulates about “success and failure” . It goes like this “Thomas Alva Edison” was asked about the number of times (the numbers are different in each versions hence avoiding it) he had failed in finding the light bulb. Tho this Mr. Edison allegedly said, “I have not failed number of times. I have successfully discovered number of ways to NOT make a light bulb.”

Did he say this or not is not our point of discussion. Its the positive attitude conveyed through this message that matters. When it comes to having a positive attitude it is a must have for every gardener.

Every single fury of nature be it the hot humid weather prevailing  in Chennai, the gushing winds even during normal days in my terrace, the Chennai floods in 2015 or the sudden showers in early 2016 have all thought me many new lessons on ways how not to take nature for granted.

Finally when I just thought I am getting experienced in understanding nature yet again nature has smiled back at me in the name of “Vardha”.

I thought I had kept the garden prepared to face the natures fury and had made all arrangements appropriately. I was expecting to see a medium impact at the end of the encounter with few pillars down and few pots upset. But when the fury of the winds growing minute by minute I started preparing myself for the worst. When I went to take a sneak peak of the garden today evening I realized that it was not worse it was indeed a disaster.

The wind has pushed all the pillars, many pots upset, few pots were not around the stone slabs kept on side have been thrown away. You name it I saw it in the few minutes I was there. The gushing winds still around I came down with the help of a heavy heart. I was literally crying from inside but after a brief moment I saw an opportunity budding out of this disastrous situation and decided to seize it.

Yes I lost my hard work in rebuilding the garden for the last few weeks to the fury of nature, but I am still here and so is this website. There can be no good opportunity like this ever where I document every single step of rebuilding my garden from scratch. What do you say isn’t that a spark worth moving ahead ?

Will document my activities soon. Until than happy gardening friends. Stay safe.

 

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