Category Archives: Trees

Are your plants getting the right amount of water?

watering-can-old-manTending to a garden is a liberating experience and lets you bring out the eco-philic side of you. Although looking after a garden is not rocket science, care must be given to all aspects to ensure your plants look healthy and fresh. One such aspect that is generally overlooked by most of us is watering the plants. Although it appears to be a simple activity, it is in fact one of the most misinterpreted, often with disastrous consequences for the plant. When understood and carried out properly, it is capable of significantly influencing the relationship with the garden.

So let’s start at the very beginning. While we say “we’re watering the plants”, we don’t water plants, we actually water the soil.

Yes, that’s right. Plants take in their required amount of water from the soil so watering the soil around the root zone (away from the stem) is most beneficial to the soil micro-organisms, and therefore the plant.

Equally critical is knowing that plants need moist soil rather than wet or submerged soil. Moist soil enables the water to break down necessary components in the soil into a small enough size to be absorbed through the plant’s root system. Over watering can lead to loss of nutrients and minerals and also decrease aeration.

Plants should be watered early in the morning and not late in the evening. Plant diseases are known to spread in wet, dark conditions and when we water in the late evening, water tends to stay on the leaves, making the plant more susceptible to catch mildew (a fungal disease). In daytime, if water does get on the leaves, it has a chance to dry out in the sunlight. Also, plants need water mainly during daylight to produce food, so watering early morning would ensure that they are able to carry out their activity.

Gardens are completely dependent on our watering and so it needs to be planned and regular. Erratic watering stresses the plants. Allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering is not a good idea and works only for specific plants. Most plants require consistently moist soil conditions.

How do you water plants?

For an urban home garden, there are several ways to water from the simple bucket and mug or rose-can (can with a shower-head nozzle) to the more planned drip irrigation mechanism.

Adopt a method that is best suited for you and one that does not waste water. As far as possible, try to harvest rainwater. Reuse grey water – i.e. water used for washing clothes or vessels for use in the garden. But remember this is only if we avoid synthetic detergents and use natural alternatives or other powders.

Mulched soil has greater water retention capacity and also provides nutrients. It is best suited for a garden. If you have a rooftop garden, ensure windbreaks to prevent uprooting of plants.

Paying attention to the health of the soil is the most important aspect of a plant’s health. Ensuring a well-proportioned mix of sand, red earth, compost and soil-building material (like cocopeat) is essential to make the soil loose, porous and to increase its water retention capacity.

The needs of each plant are different and so plan your gardening activity accordingly taking care of each plant to have a healthy and lively garden.

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BCIL ZED Group has launched its first retail store ‘ZED ForestFree.’

ZED-launches-ZE_01_1473195eZED FORESTFREE

Bangalore-based BCIL ZED Group has launched its first retail store ‘ZED ForestFree.’ The concessionaire model hosts three global brands and an offering of ZED home appliances.

Says Dinesh C.S., Executive Director, ZED ForestFree, “Among the three concessionaires is the globally known air-conditioner manufacturer GREE; Quetzel, the 30-year-old designer firm offering furniture that is honed out of non-forest timber; and AQA, leaders in high-fidelity sound systems and home theatres.”

“ForestFree is a chain of stores infused with an urban vibe that sets it apart,” says Chandrashekar Hariharan, founder of the Zed Group. “We don’t expect to create too many more. But each will be unique in the buying experience it offers,” he added.

The store offers products from across the world and India’s own home-grown offerings. “To us at ZED,” says Dinesh, “value engineering zero-energy elements into every aspect of design is a default setting. We reduce the carbon monoxide footprint every step of the way.”

“Honey, where are the bees?”

Honey Bee HiveAn experiment in Kerala found electromagnetic waves from mobile phone towers and mobile phones could be responsible for the disappearing honeybees in India. The radiation messes with the bee’s own magnetic radar and confuses it such that it cannot fly back to its hive. When a cell phone was kept near the beehive,the colony collapsed within 10 days! Bee colonies naturally lose 5% of their population annually,but since 2006 they have been losing 30 to 90% of their population per year!

A third of the food we eat solely depends on honeybees for pollination;the insect contributes about US$38 billion to the global economy. Agricultural economies like ours are at high risk from the bee decline. Of the 160 million hectares cropped area in India,some 55 million ha depends on honeybees for pollination.

Saalumarada Thimmakka (“saalumarada” – “row of trees” in Kannada – is an honorific people have added to her name) and her landless labourer husband Chikkanna did not have children. So one day more than 60 years ago, they started planting trees.

image001Thimmakka, aged 101, is a native of Hulikal village in the Magadi taluk of Bangalore Rural district in Karnataka.
She has an unsurpassed credit to her name – some 1000 plus sturdy banyan trees, which she has lovingly tended against all odds, from mere saplings to a sweeping canopy.
Saalumarada Thimmakka (“saalumarada” – “row of trees” in Kannada – is an honorific people have added to her name) and her landless labourer husband Chikkanna did not have children. So one day more than 60 years ago, they started planting trees.
The road to the next village Kudur (Kudoor) was a dry hot one. Ficus (banyan) trees were aplenty near Thimmakka’s village. Thimmakka and her husband started grafting saplings from these trees. Ten saplings were grafted in the first year and they were planted along a distance of 20 kilometres near the neighbouring village of Kudur. Fifteen saplings were planted in the second year and 20 in the third year and so on. She used her own meagre resources for planting these trees. The couple used to carry pots of water for a distance of four kilometres to water the saplings. They were also protected from grazing cattle by fencing them with thorny shrubs.
The saplings were planted mostly during monsoon season so that sufficient rain water would be available for them to grow. By the onset of the next monsoons, the saplings had invariably taken root. They covered the whole stretch. The saplings grew to become trees, the trees grew tall, and the couple rejoiced in their children. Chikkanna died in 1990, but Thimmakka continued her life’s work.
Thanks to her unusual labour of love, this illiterate woman is the idol of every environmentalist.
A “living monument of our times” is how the citation of National Citizen’s Award describes Thimmakka.
Titles like Vanamitra, Nisargaratna, Vrikshasri and Vrikshapremi, an award by Karnataka government, among many others have been conferred on her.
For one who barely set out of her village once a year, Thimmakka now finds her way to Delhi and Mumbai for tree planting ceremonies. Thimmakka is busy spreading the message of afforestation. She unassumingly suggests that everybody should leave behind some asset for humanity.
She barely ekes out a living from various awards and a monthly pension. But nothing stops her from dreaming big. Now, she has made her will to open up a hospital in her village, so that no poor is affected.
Saalumarada Thimmakka, Hulikal-561101, Kudur, Hubli, Magadi Taluk, Bangalore-Rural district.
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