Garden life

Sow for summer
Kiran Narain

A good garden should never be entirely devoid of vegetables or flowers. Now is the time to buy and sow seeds of summer vegetables so that summer crops are ready to replace those which have given their very best in winter. The season for sowing cucumbers, pumpkins, melons, lady’s finger etc is at hand; in fact, the best sowing weather will soon be over, for it is advisable to get one’s plants at least half grown before the hot winds start lashing.

It is good to have summer plants like brinjals and lady’s finger at least half grown before the hot winds start lashingIt is good to have summer plants like brinjals and lady’s finger at least half grown before the hot winds start lashing
It is good to have summer plants like brinjals and lady’s finger at least half grown before the hot winds start lashing

Success in growing vegetables depends mainly on the quality of seeds and seedlings used. Carefully choose the species suitable for growing in a particular region and season. Going to a reliable shop or nursery for quality seeds, keeping in mind the size of your garden, would be the first step in right direction. Here, you could also be guided about the local varieties to be grown. For home gardens, it is better to make a succession of seeds sowings in order to have a steady supply of fresh vegetables and also to avoid a glut and wastage.

Most vegetables require full sunlight and a well-drained patch to grow the best vegetables. Generally a 100-sq-ft bed would require about 50 kg of well-rotted farmyard manure to which 1 kg of NPK may be added. For cucurbits like cucumber, gourds, pumpkins and melons, pits about 2x2 feet and as deep should be dug and well manured. Three seeds per pit are generally sown out of which the strongest one is left to grow. Since most of these require a strong support, these are generally planted close to walls and partitions or are trained over a network of strong wires. Some of the seeds you sow now are:

Brinjals are sown in nursery beds in February to March for the summer crop and transplanted (preferably twice at an interval of two weeks) in the well dug beds. They are to be planted 18 inches apart in rows of 2`BD feet distance. It will require weekly watering. The main stem should be pinched to stimulate lateral growth.

Chillies are sown in February to July in raised beds and seedlings are transplanted about 1`BDfeet apart in rows two feet apart when they are about three inches high.

Cucumbers (Feb-April) are sown in patches of five to six seeds later retaining the strongest three. The patches are generally 5 to 6 feet apart.

Gourd (all year round) are sown in patches of three to four seeds and thinned to strongest one. The patches are generally selected near a wall so that the plant has a good support.

Lady’s finger or bhindi seeds are generally sown in, beds, after having soaked them in water overnight. The beds are watered only after the seeds sprout. There are many varieties such as early late or "barsati" which will give steady supply through out summer and monsoon.

Marrow (Feb-March) is grown much the same way as gourd.

Melon (Feb-March) prepare 2x2 feet pits almost two to three feet deep filling them with rich decomposed farmyard manure and soil and sow three to four seeds finally leaving the strongest and most promising seedling to grow.

Pumpkin (Feb-March), grown much the same way as melons, will need a bigger area and stronger support for its heavy weight crop.

Spinach (Desi and lalsaag) can be sown all year round in drills one foot apart and the plants are thinned to about one foot too.

Sweet corn (all year round) sow in drills three feet apart with each plant being 18 inches apart.