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Rains - bring lot of joys, crisp smell of petrichor, lush greens, freshness around, leisured hours and yummy snacks! And gardening in such bountiful season, watching the water drizzling from patio, saplings peeping out through soil bed, drenched fruits and flowers in balcony, all this make life more worth living!  The nature has its pockets full of yields for all kinds of days. Rainwater, all ready to do wonders to the plants which tap water can never do the same.  Rainy days has its own bounty, be it flowers, green vegetables, leafy, beans and more. This season is perfect to put our green thumb to use on our balcony green spot or backyard garden and is apt to prep up for some yields in coming months, which are adaptive for the season good to plant during rainy days!

And Mr Bottle gourd and its cousins like sponge gourd and bitter gourd are all ready to be sown and grown be it on vines or ground.  Unlike kids, they are not very demanding and grow easily. Pick any one you want to grow and soak the seeds for 15 hours prior. The soil they are fond of is with the proportion of 40% of normal soil, 40% of organic compost which will provide all essential nutrients and 20% of Coco peat that helps to retain moisture. Now sow the seeds 2 inches deep and with distance of 6-7 inches in between. They want to bask in sun with plenty of space to grow. The gourds like lots of moisture, so keep this in mind. If you are planting gourds without a trellis then choose a space with plenty of square footage for growth. Pluck them while they are young and tender. And bring them on your table as a full of nutrition packed food.

Mr. Bitter gourd likes to grows best in a very hot and humid conditions. It can be grown well in pots as well. Sow 4-5 seeds about ½ inch deep in a pot that can hold 15 kg minimum of potting soil with a distance of 8-10 inches in between. The soil should be loamy and well drained with right proportion of manure or organic compost. They just love to be in place where they get 6-7 hours of sunlight and constant moisture. Very eager to come out so, in the span of 10 days the seeds germinate under the temperature ranges from 15 to 20 degree Celsius.  So, keep watering the soil regularly as it tends to dry fast. And we start getting the yield in two months. Vine plants need constant organic compost to enrich soil after period of 15 days. Soil should be well drained and light as well. If we wish to grow bitter gourd vines vertically then we need trellising at the point of planting which should be around 5 feet long. It will help to retain the shape of gourd. Snip off them every 2-3 days when it is not very small or young and not too hard and fibrous like all gourd family. Bad boys as pests like fruit flies and aphids are all ready to infest the plants so we can use neem oil spray to ward them off. Nature itself has its pest control insects like ladybugs that helps in pest controlling.

 

 

Monsoon_ladybug 

Another monsoon growing plant is Balsam, a single petal or double petal form. They make the rainy season more colourful with its varied colours like purple, red pink and white. Cool breeze, drizzling rain, sipping hot cup of tea and pots filled with colourful balsams in your lawn makes a beautiful day to enjoy. It starts flowering in the month of August. Take KRAFTSEEDS  7-inches Sunshine pot and fill it with potting soil, vermicompost and sand. Make sure the pot has holes and layer with sand stones at the bottom. Sow the seeds with the gap of 5-6 cm in between. In a week’s time small plants will come out of soil. The soil should remain damp and not soggy or watery. Who doesn’t want sunshine when it is raining. They need minimum of 2 hours sunlight and that makes them grow easily even during rainy season. By pruning the Balsam plant, the branching will be increased and so we will get more flowers from the plant. Keep watering the plants regularly but should be well drained as well.  As water logging can make roots die due to fungi grown there. It not only adds beauty due to its varied colours but also has medicinal benefits as well. Its paste soothes the burns on skin and reduces acidity.  The flowers are known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.

 

Like everything in life, it comes with a package of pros and cons! Apart from downpours, drizzling and wonderful plants growth, rainy days bring along unwanted weeds! The more generous sky is with rain the more weeds will sprout up from soil and take away the water and nutrients. You have to keep a vigil eye on them to pluck away with whole root as soon as you see them sprouting, no matter you are doing gardening chores every day. (Caricature – weed taking away nutrients expressions like angry bird). But soil get friendly in rains, as it becomes soggy and pulling off gets easier!! If you know that it is going to be really wet in coming days then “weed and feed” is the funda. Spread weed spray in your garden to evade the sprouting of weeds. They can crop up anywhere like driveway cracks, between bricked paths and decks.  Make sure that the top soil layer is intact after heavy rains else add another layer, so that the plants grow well as soon as they find sunlight.

 

A word of caution while gardening during rainy days!

Although these plants love rains but if outpours are more then they might cause some issues for the plants, especially vegetables. All you need is good planning and friendlier attention like for kids! Temperature level, humidity level, Ph level all these play important role to create a right environment for a plant. So, we must know what to grow when. For new gardeners, when too much of water from rains might cause worries then these ideas might work as guarding angels:

Spend time and efforts on planting greens. Make use of these wet days by sowing few seeds every other week, you may sow different seeds alternatively every week. You can see wonders in a span of six weeks of green leaves! Pl. keep in mind that over watering might rot the budding roots and don’t forget to keep the seedling trays in sunlight. If kept inside, they should be placed outside in sun two weeks after germination. Make sure there is enough holes for drainage in pots or sacks

Stock up the soil nutrients, as rains might play nasty to wash away all the goodness of soilso organic compost is to added regularly to balance the lost soil nutrients. First loosen up the soil and put the compost at the sides of base of plants.

Keep an eye on pests and plant diseases, as the wetness in soil and air invites garden pests.  These voracious pests just need a night to ruin the plant. Also, some plants get fungal infection, if so then it should be plucked away and the soil is also not to be used for other plants.

Change the place for water-sensitive plants, like aloe vera, rosemary and lavender as they get spoilt with too much of water. So, move them away from rains but provide some sunlight as well.  

Like plants do not drench yourself in rainsso get a raincoat and gardening boots and enjoy the rains.

 

Happy Gardening!!!

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