Thursday, March 24, 2022

A Permaculture Farm: Nature's Utopia

What does paradise look like? We may never know, but one thing we can agree on is that it certainly does not have skyscrapers, fancy cars and shopping malls. In fact, our psyche picturizes paradise as a place that has all the magical, mystical and spectacular elements of Nature. One wonders what would it take for human beings to create something that comes close to what we shall call ‘A Paradise’.

The permaculture farm:

The moment you visit a fully functional, active permaculture farm, you immediately know that you have entered a place of abundance. Before even learning anything in detail about the place, you already feel the harmony, unity and balance in the system. You instantly connect with the natural energies being circulated within this place with a profound sense of belonging.

The first thing you notice is the permaculture farm site is much much greener than the surrounding locality, even in the hot and dry summers, like an oasis in the middle of a desert.

You also notice that the farm is densely planted. The greening is due to the sheer quantity of perennial herbs, shrubs, climbers and trees. It looks like an orderly forest, or a Nature Park.

This density is coupled with a great diversity. There is a wide range of productive plant varieties, support species, pioneer species as well as wild species growing together, having a positive impact on each other.

A permaculture farm is a vibrant ecosystem that supports local biodiversity. There is plenty of buzz around with birds, butterflies, bees and many other creatures. Most of the visiting and resident creatures engage in beneficial activities, having positive interactions with the flora and fauna of your farm.


In a permaculture farm, soil is protected, preserved and nurtured with a good amount of organic matter. Most importantly, rather than bringing soil from outside, the soil is naturally created within the farm system. Instead of exposing the naked, plowed, dead soil to direct sunlight on open fields, the soil is well shaded by canopy, heavily mulched and kept alive in its most active form.

In a permaculture farm, water available in all forms is captured, harvested, conserved, stored, spread and irrigated within the farming system by using various sustainable methods. There is an internal water cycle that is responsible for all the greenery and vice versa.


You let go of the obsession of bringing the whole land into one flat level by unnecessary and haphazard use of machinery. Instead, you use the existing topography to your advantage, whether its slopes, valleys, plateaus or flatlands.

You let go of the obsession of growing a single crop on long stretches of open fields, instead you aim for well synchronized multi-cropping. You discard the conventional monoculture practices and you adopt various innovative polyculture models, where you can also grow multiple main crops and staple food.

You let go of the mainstream, commercial/ industrial agricultural practices. The successful permaculture farmer thinks more like a gardener rather than agriculturist. An upscaled garden is way more productive than a downscaled agriculture field. 

There are no synthetic fertilizers, no chemical pesticides, no harmful fungicides, no herbicides, no deep ploughing of land with tractors, no heavy tilling. You practice various sustainable methods of organic farming, natural farming, ecological farming, regenerative farming, and ethical landscaping. 


There is an active kitchen garden where you grow all kinds of vegetables and herbs. The perennial vegetables, the fruiting veggies, leafies, climbers, the seasonal varieties and a lot more. In fact, the permaculture kitchen garden is one of the most productive systems on earth when it comes to yield per square meter.

Another key feature of any permaculture farm is the presence of a food forest. An ever evolving, self sustainable tree growing system that appears like a wild forest but the majority of plant species are edible. Here you mostly get all kinds of fruits, spices, and underground crops like roots and tubers.


long with plants, the farmyard animals like cattle, goats, chicken, ducks etc, have an important role to play in the permaculture systems. In Nature, every animal ‘gardens’ if they are allowed to perform their natural roles like earth loosening, weeding, feeding on insects, digging, scratching freely without us putting any pressure on ‘production’.

Just like diversity of species, there is diversity of habitats. Along with gardens, maincrops and food forest, there are water bodies, ponds, streams, rockery, pastures, and most importantly a patch of absolutely wild forest growing naturally in your property.


In an active permaculture farm, you get along with local caretakers, farm labours, workers and supervisors, and they get along with you and your farm. In fact, the locals actively participate and contribute positively to the overall development of the farm.

The main objective of a permaculture farm is that the owner’s family should achieve most of its ‘food self reliance’ through this farm. You get your family's annual supply of grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices from your own permaculture farm. You scale it up to share the increasing surplus with extended family, relatives, friends, visitors, locals and community.

The above information just scratches the surface when it comes to what permaculture is all about. Permaculture is in fact a multidisciplinary, vast topic and you learn as you practice on the field. 

If you wish to design, or re-design your farm according according to permaculture principles. Or if you want our professional advise regarding overall planning and management of your farm activities you can reach out to me.

Visit our website to know more about Nature First.

Like Nature First's facebook page 

Comment down below and share this blog to people who may find this useful.

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-Harshad Ainapure (M.Sc. Botany, SET), Director at Nature First Horticultures.
 Call/WhatsApp: 9326166338/ 8169716382
 harshad.naturefirst@gmail.com

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Summer Gardening Tips and Activities for Potted Plants (Part 1)

Winter is over; the cool times are gone and summer has already marked its heated presence all over India. If you grow plants at home, you may have noticed that the growth of your potted plants was more or less dormant during the four months of winter. Interestingly, most of the home garden plants end their dormancy and start giving out new growth at the beginning of the warm season, so that plenty of flowers and fruits can be formed during mid-summer. Therefore in order to help your houseplants to grow in a healthy and graceful manner, we bring you following gardening activities that you must take up asap:

1. Loosen the soil thoroughly.

As a home gardener, when you just water the pots for days and months, over a period of time, the pot soil tends to become really hard and compact. This is not a good sign for your plants. In such compact soil, the roots are unable to breathe and absorbing soil nutrients also becomes very difficult resulting in stunted growth. With the help of a proper tool like hand weeder, you must dig the top soil upto 3 to 4 inches and loosen it when the soil is semi-dry. Any unwanted weedy plants should be removed at this point.

Click here to buy potting soil mixtures online in India.


Loosen the soil in pot once a month

2. Provide manures generously.

Since summer is the start of the new growing season, the potted plants are craving for nutrients. It's not a good idea to provide any synthetic chemical fertilizers to the soil, since it may show quick results but can prove to be harmful in the long run. 

After loosening the soil, provide plenty of organic fertilizers like well decomposed cow manure, vermicompost, homemade bio compost. Add at least a couple of handfuls in each pot and mix well with topsoil. Top it up with natural biofertilizers like Ghana-Jeevamrut.

Click here to buy natural fertilizers online in India 

Provide Organic Fertilizer every 15 days

3. Water your plants wisely.

After loosening the soil and adding organic manures the pot must be immediately watered. Avoid watering directly from a mug or a bucket, this can physically damage the roots. It's important to use a 'Watering Can' with shower-head to water potted plants. The water falling on the soil must mimic rainfall rather than single jet flow.

In summers, watering should be done in the mornings. It's better to do proper thorough watering 3-4 times a week rather than daily light watering.

Watering should be in the form of shower


4. Spray the natural medicines timely.

Summers can bring some unwanted visitors to your potted plants in the form of pests and diseases. Avoid spraying harmful chemical fungicides and pesticides on your infested  houseplants. It's better to protect your plants by spraying natural, home-made solutions regularly.

Neem oil in soapy water spray will keep your plants clean and insect free. Buttermilk solution is useful to keep fungus at bay. Gomutra is a very effective fungicide and growth promoter. Natural farm-made solutions like Dashparni Ark and Neem Astra can be used to get rid of existing infestations.

Click here to buy natural pesticides online in India 

Use hand sprayer for misting the medicines on leaves 

5. Manage the sunlight smartly.

In the hot season, you must have a good look at how much daily sunlight is falling directly on your plants. Potted plants kept on an open terrace may require green shade-net protection. For balcony and window plants like Roses, Hibiscus, Tulsi, Chili etc., 4 to 5 hours of daily sunlight is also enough. Succulents and indoor plants will be happy to grow with reflected sunlight or indirect bright light coming from the window. In this season, most potted plants prefer the shady situation between 11 am to 3 pm.

In the next part we will have a look at summer specific care and maintenance tips for your common potted plants.

If you wish to develop your own home garden Or if you want to do monthly maintenance work on your existing plants by our skilled gardeners, click here for more details on WhatsApp, and book/ schedule our home visit.

Click here to buy organic fertilizers, potting mixtures, natural pesticides, growbags, vegetable seeds and lot more on our online shop, Or click here to order our products via WhatsApp catalogue.

Visit our website to know more about Nature First.

Like Nature First's facebook page 

Comment down below and share this blog to people who may find this useful.

Follow me on this blog to read more content like this 

-Harshad Ainapure (M.Sc. Botany, SET), Director at Nature First Horticultures.
 Call/WhatsApp: 9326166338/ 8169716382
 harshad.naturefirst@gmail.com

Monday, August 30, 2021

Online Certificate Course: Flowering & Indoor Houseplants Gardening.

Nature First Horticultures announces:

'Certificate Course in Home Gardening'
Focusing on Flowering & Indoor Houseplants. 

25th September to 23rd October, Every Saturday, 4 to 7 pm. (Live online sessions on Zoom cloud meetings)

Eligibility: Anyone who is interested in gardening.

Fees: Rs. 3,700/- (Including a starter kit which will be couriered to your address).

Practical knowledge in Indian context:

Home Gardening: Ornamental plants, annual flowers, flowering shrubs, indoor plants, foliage plants, cacti & Succulents.

Cultural practices: Seeds, soil, fertilizers, pest & disease management, plant care, flowering tips, sunlight, seasons, watering, plant propagation methods and lot more.

Special arrangements: Miniature plants, dish gardens, terrariu ms, kokedama, home garden décor.

Highlight on balcony and window gardening practices, activities, tips and hacks.

Six modules, online lectures, live demonstration, videos, Q & A, study material (notes), presentations, and WhatsApp support.

Facilitators Harshad Ainapure and Vivek Kate are Horticultural Botanists with 16 years of field experience.

Fees: Rs 3,700/-
Account Name : NATURE FIRST
Account No : 33156239128
State Bank of India [Wagle Estate, Thane(w)]
Bank IFSC CODE : SBIN0061707
A/C type - Current A/C

Or to purchase the course by UPI or Credit/debit card, click here.

Registration form link: https://forms.gle/7hcCWmV7NdvBbKHd6

Contact us:
Harshad- 9326166338
Vivek- 8169716382

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Eligibility:
*Q.* I am new to gardening, will this course be too complicated for me?
*A.* No. This course is designed for anyone and everyone who is interested in growing plants. It doesn't matter whether you are a newcomer, amateur gardener or an experienced gardener. Minimum age limit is 14 years and above; there is no maximum age limit.

Course Objectives:
*Q.* Overall what will I achieve by attending this course? and what about the certificate?
*A.* By the end of this course you would have gathered enough knowledge to successfully grow your favorite garden plants. During the course you will be given weekly practical tasks in order to initiate and maintain your own ornamental home garden. And yes, you will get a Certificate after attending all the sessions.

Recording:
*Q.* What if I miss any of the sessions; will there be a recording?
*A.* Yes, all our sessions will be recorded, and the recording will be available for all the participants in case they are not able to attend the live session; and also for their future reference and revision.

Notes:
*Q.* Will you be providing notes?
*A.* Yes. Detailed notes will be provided for each module in PDF format. Also the course presentations will be shared with you along with the videos.

Starter kit:
*Q.* What is included in the starter kit?
*A.* The starter kit contents Flower seeds, Cocopeat, Neem cake, Miniature plant, Ghanamrut (natural fertilizer), Dashaparni Ark (natural pesticide), and growbags for plants.

Material sourcing:
*Q.* How do I source the material for my gardening activities?
*A.* You will be provided contact details of various resources, nurseries, vendors, wholesalers and retailers to procure important gardening material and plants. Both online and physical resources.

Personalized support:
*Q.* If I need any help during and after the course, will you be available?
*A.* Yes. Our team will be available on phone call and whatsapp for any help and assistance. Also there will be a separate WhatsApp group dedicated to this batch of Home Gardening course, where your weekly assignment activities will be personally monitored by Harshad and Vivek.

Registration fees payment:
*Q.* What are all different payment methods to register for this course?
*A.* You can make payment of Rs. 3,700/- by NEFT to the bank details provided in the course description. You can also make payment by Gpay or Paytm to 9326166338 (Nature First). Or Click here to purchase the course from Nature First’s shop by credit or debit card.

Our website: www.mynaturefirst.com 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Online Certificate Course in Organic Home Gardening

 Nature First Horticultures announces:

'Certificate Course in Organic Home Gardening'
Grow your own food at home. Focusing on vegetables, fruits, kitchen herbs, microgreens, fruits, 
home composting and more.

4th December to 29th January, every Saturday 4 to 7 pm. (Excluding major holidays) (Live online sessions on Zoom cloud meetings) (Recordings available post session)

Eligibility: Anyone who is interested in gardening.

Fees: Rs 4,800/- (Including a starters kit which will be couriered to your address)

Organic Kitchen Gardening- Successfully growing vegetables at your home garden: yard, terrace, balcony and windowsills.

Practical knowledge in Indian context:

  • Seeds, soil, fertilizers, pest & disease management, plant care, harvesting tips, gardening activities and hacks.
  • Sunlight, seasons, watering, containers, spacing, Crop flowering, pollination, pinching and pruning, tools & implements, methods of organic gardening.

Eight modules, online lectures, live demonstration, videos, Q & A, study material (notes), presentations, project support.

Facilitators Harshad Ainapure and Vivek Kate are Horticultural Botanists with 16 years of field experience.

Fees: Rs 4,800/-
Account Name : NATURE FIRST
Account No : 33156239128
State Bank of India [Wagle Estate, Thane(w)]
Bank IFSC CODE : SBIN0061707
A/C type - Current A/C

Registration form link: https://forms.gle/pA3WJ7TXUCHKQWXR7

Link to purchase the course Online: https://shop.mynaturefirst.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=60&product_id=77

Contact us:
Harshad- 9326166338
Vivek- 8169716382



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Eligibility:
*Q.* I am new to gardening, will this course be too complicated for me?
*A.* No. This course is designed for anyone and everyone who is interested in growing plants. It doesn't matter whether you are a newcomer, amateur gardener or an experienced gardener. Minimum age limit is 14 years and above; there is no maximum age limit.

Course Objectives:
*Q.* Overall what will I achieve by attending this course? and what about the certificate?
*A.* By the end of this course you would have gathered enough knowledge to successfully start your own Organic Kitchen Garden. During the course you will be given weekly practical assignments in order to initiate the development of your vegetable garden. And yes, you will get a Certificate after attending all the sessions.

Recording:
*Q.* What if I miss any of the sessions; will there be a recording?
*A.* Yes, all our sessions will be recorded, and the recording will be available for all the participants in case they are not able to attend the live session; and also for their future reference and revision.

Notes:
*Q.* Will you be providing notes?
*A.* Yes. Detailed notes will be provided for each module in PDF format. Also the course presentations will be shared with you along with the videos.

Starter kit:
*Q.* What is included in the starter kit?
*A.* The starter kit includes seeds of 12 different vegetable varieties (Fruiting, climbing, leafy and root vegetables), Seed sowing box and cups, loose cocopeat, Ghanamrut (natural fertilizer), Dashparni Ark (natural pesticide), Neem cake powder, and couple of grow bags.

Material sourcing:
*Q.* How do I source the material for my gardening activities?
*A.* You will be provided contact details of various resources, vendors, wholesalers and retailers to procure important organic gardening material. Both online and physical resources.

Personalized support:
*Q.* If I need any help during and after the course, will you be available?
*A.* Yes. Our team will be available on phone call and WhatsApp for any help and assistance. Also there will be a separate WhatsApp group dedicated to this batch of Organic Home Gardening course, where your weekly assignment activities will be personally monitored by Harshad and Vivek.

Field visit:
*Q.* Will there be any field visit?
*A.* At this moment, field visit is not part of the schedule for this particular course due to current covid related restrictions. However, after the course is over, and when things hopefully improve, a separate field visit to Nature First’s farm and kitchen garden will be arranged.

Registration fees payment:
*Q.* What are all different payment methods to register for this course?
*A.* You can make payment of Rs. 4,800/- by NEFT to the bank details provided in the course description. You can also make payment by Gpay or Paytm to 9326166338 (Nature First). Or Click here to purchase the course from Nature First’s shop by credit or debit card.

Our website: www.mynaturefirst.com 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

घरबागेतील जुन्या झाडांची कुंडी बदलणे (रिपॉटिंग)

‘आवड म्हणून बागकामाला सुरवात केली, बघता बघता ३० – ४० कुंड्याची छोटी बाग घरात फुलली. फुलांचा बहर,पानांचा गर्द हिरवा रंग खूप मानसिक समाधान मिळू लागलं. हळू हळू रोपं मोठी होवू लागली आणि त्या सोबतच या आधी न दिसलेले काही वेगळे बदल रोपांमध्ये व कुंडीतील माती मध्ये प्रकर्षाने दिसू लागले. रोपांची वाढ थांबली, पानं पिवळसर आणि कमी तजेलदार दिसू लागली, कुंडीतून पाण्याचा निचरा त्वरित होवू लागला. तसंच रोपांच्या मुळांनी माती अगदी घट्ट पकडून ठेवलेली दिसली तर काही रोपांची मुळे कुंडीतून वर डोकवायला लागली. या पूर्वी दीड - दोन वर्षांत असं कधीच झालं नाही.’

वरील अनुभव बऱ्याच बागकामप्रेमीना येत असतो, अशा वेळी ही रोपं आपल्याला सांगत असतात की त्यांना आता मोठ्या जागेची म्हणजेच पुन:रोपण (Re potting) करण्याची गरज आहे. एकाच कुंडीत झाडं अनेक महिने राहिल्यामुळे त्यांची मूळं सर्वत्र पसरून त्याचा विपरीत परिणाम दिसून येतो. त्यामुळे झाडं वाढून मोठी व्हायला लागली तर मोठ्या आकाराच्या कुंडीत बदलणे आवश्यक ठरते. म्हणून दर वर्षी झाडांची अवस्था बघून गरज भासल्यास कुंडी बदलावी. 

जेव्हा वातावरणात थंडावा आणि आर्द्रता मुबलक असते तेव्हा पुन:रोपण करणे योग्य ठरते आणि अशी स्थिती पावसाळ्याच्या सुमारास दिसून येते. पावसाळ्यातील अनुकूल परिस्थिती व हवामानामुळे झाडांना शॉक कमी बसतो. प्रखर ऊन आणि कोरडं हवामान पुन:रोपण  करण्यासाठी बऱ्याचवेळा घातक ठरू शकतं; त्यामुळे काही कारणास्तव उन्हाळ्यात पुन:रोपण करावं लागलंच तर अशा वेळी नव्या कुंडीतील  रोपं काही दिवस सावलीत ठेवायला हवीत.

पावसाळ्याची चाहूल लागताच पुन:रोपणाच्या तयारीला सुरवात करावी. त्यासाठी लागणारं साहित्य जसे नवीन कुंड्या, मातीचे मिश्रण, विटांचे तुकडे, नारळ्याच्या किश्या इत्यादी गोळा करावेत. 

साधारणपणे ज्या झाडाचं पुन:रोपण करायचं आहे त्याच्या मूळ कुंडी पेक्षा १ – २ साईज मोठी कुंडी घ्यावी. म्हणजेच जर ८ इंच व्यासाची मूळ कुंडी असेल तर किमान १० किवा १२ इंच व्यासाची नवीन कुंडी पुनःरोपणासाठी निवडावी.

नव्या कुंडीचा आकार १ साईज मोठा असावा

त्यानंतर योग्य मातीचं मिश्रण बनवण्याची कृती करावी. शक्यतो कुंडीत केवळ मातीमध्ये रोप लावणे टाळावे कारण साधारण मातीमध्ये रोप लावल्यास बऱ्याच वेळा मूळं कुजतात व रोप दगावण्याची शक्यता असते. मिश्रण तयार करताना माती (पोयटा) : रेती (नदीकाठची वाळू) : सेंद्रिय खत (शेणखत किंवा कंपोस्ट) ह्यांचे १:१:१ हे प्रमाण घेवून त्यात मुठभर नीम पेंड घालावी. या मिश्रणाची पाण्याचा योग्य निचरा करण्याची क्षमता चांगली असते. तसंच ज्या रोपांना पाणी धरून ठेवणारं मिश्रण लागतं त्यासाठी गरजेनुसार या मिश्रणात मातीचं प्रमाण वाढवू देखील शकतो. पण मिश्रणात रेतीचा वापर केल्यामुळे कुंडीचं एकूण वजन वाढतं अशावेळी शहरात जिथे खिडकी मध्ये बागकाम करायचं आहे, तिथे हलक्या वजनाचे मिश्रण वापरावे. 

मातीचं मिश्रण हलकं करण्यासाठी रेती ऐवजी कोकोपीट चा वापर केला जाऊ शकतो. कोकोपीट हे तंतुमय, आणि स्पंज सारखं हलकं असतं, त्यामुळे एकूणच मिश्रणाचं वजन हलकं होण्यास ह्याचा वापर योग्य ठरतो. मिश्रण तयार करत असताना माती (पोयटा) : कोकोपीट (loose cocosoil) : सेंद्रिय खत (शेणखत किंवा कंपोस्ट)  यांचे २:१:१: प्रमाण घ्यावे. या मिश्रणात मातीतील अपायकारक घटक नियंत्रणासाठी मुठभर नीम पेंड मिसळावी. या मिश्रणाला ‘Universal Potting Mixture’ असं म्हणतात. हे संपूर्ण मिश्रण पुन:रोपणाच्या किमान एक आठवडा आधी तयार करून ठेवावं, तसेच त्यात दमटपणा राखण्यासाठी त्यावर पाणी शिंपडावे. सेंद्रिय खत आणि नीम पेंड योग्य विघटनासाठी तसेच सर्व मिश्रण एकजीव होण्यासाठी हे गरजेचं आहे. 

तयार केलेलं मातीचं मिश्रण कुंडीत भरण्याआधी कुंडीच्या तळाशी छिद्र करून त्यात विटांचे तुकड्यांचा थर टाकावा आणि त्यावर नारळ्याच्या किश्या ठेवाव्यात जेणेकरून मातीची धूप होणार नाही.

आता ज्या झाडाचं पुन:रोपण करायचं आहे त्या कुंडीतील माती योग्य हत्यार वापरून सर्व बाजूने थोडी मोकळी करावी. जुन्या कुंडीतून झाड काढण्यापूर्वी एका हाताने कुंडी उलटी करून व कुंडीच्या तळाशी हलकी थाप मारून मातीच्या गोळ्यासह झाड बाहेर काढावे. या दरम्यान रोपाला जोरात ओढण्याचा प्रयत्न करू नये त्यामुळे रोपाला आणि त्याच्या मुळाना इजा पोहचू शकते. मुळांना चिकटलेली माती तशीच राहू द्यावी आणि बाकी सर्व माती बाजूला करावी. नवीन कुंडीत लावण्याआधी कुजलेली, मेलेली, एकमेकात गुरफटलेली मूळं छाटून टाकावीत. तसेच झाडावरच्या जुन्या, जादा वाढलेल्या फांद्या आणि पाने पण छाटून झाडाला हवा तसं आकार द्यावा.

माती मिश्रण भरून तयार केलेली नवीन कुंडी निम्मी मोकळी करावी, मग त्यात हे रोप मध्यभागी लावावे आणि उर्वरित माती मिश्रण त्यावर पसरवावे. तसेच गरज असल्यास रोपाला काठीचा आधार द्यावा. त्यानंतर नव्या कुंडीतील झाडाला झारीच्या सहाय्याने मुबलक प्रमाणात पाणी द्यावे. पुन:रोपण केलेली रोपं नवीन मुळं प्रस्थापित करेपर्यंत किमान एक आठवडा तरी सावलीत ठेवावीत आणि मग त्यानंतर त्यांचं सूर्यप्रकाशात स्थलांतर करावं. अशाप्रकारे जास्वंद, गुलाब, मोगरा, अनंत, रातराणी अशा बहुवार्षिक फुलझाडांचं आणि इतर शोभिवंत झाडांचं पुन:रोपण दर १ किंवा २ वर्षांनी करावं.

पुढील भागात आपण कुंडीची देखभाल आणि जुन्या कुंडीतील मातीचा वापर या बद्दल माहिती घेऊयात.

-विवेक काटे (Horticultural Botanist, संचालक: नेचर फर्स्ट हॉर्टीकल्चरस.)

बागकामासाठी लागणारी  सेंद्रिय आणि नैसर्गिक खते, कीडनाशके, मातीची मिश्रणे, भाजीपाला बियाणे ऑनलाईन विकत घेण्यासाठी येथे क्लिक करा, अथवा व्हाॅट्सएपवर ऑर्डर करण्यासाठी येथे क्लिक करा.

तुम्हाला हा ब्लॉग कसा वाटला हे कॉमेंट्समध्ये जरूर कळवा.

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आणि आमचे फेसबुक पेज लाईक करा.

-हर्षद ऐनापुरे, (M.Sc. Botany, SET), संचालक: नेचर फर्स्ट हॉर्टीकल्चरस. 

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Friday, January 18, 2019

‘चंद्रज्ञान’: बागकाम आणि चंद्राचे विलक्षण नाते.


गेल्या आठवड्यात चीनी वैज्ञानिकांनी चंद्रावर कापसाचे बी रुजवल्याची बातमी ऐकली. तेव्हापासून विचार करत होतो की आपण चंद्राला अंडरएस्टिमेट करतो की काय. चंद्राचं प्रेमाशी अतूट नातं आहे. बागेचंही प्रेमाशी खास नातं आहे. अनेक कविता आणि गीतरचनांमधून आपल्याला याची प्रचीती आलीच असेल. पण चंद्राचं आणि तुमच्या बागेचही काही विशेष नातं आहे का? हे शोधण्याचा जेव्हा मी प्रयत्न केला तेव्हा मला काही इंटरेस्टिंग माहिती मिळाली; खरं तर एका वेगळ्या शास्त्राचाच शोध लागला असं समजा. या शास्त्राला म्हणतात ‘चंद्रज्ञान’. चंद्रज्ञान म्हणजे चंद्राच्या बदलत्या कलांप्रमाणे बागकामाचे वेळापत्रक निर्धारित करणे.

चंद्राची तत्कालीन अवस्था पाहून त्याप्रमाणे बाग-बगीचाशी संबंधित ठराविक कामे निवडणे ही युक्ती बरीच जुनी आहे. युरोपातील बागकामप्रेमी या शास्त्राकडे आदराने पाहतात आणि त्याचा एखाद्या परंपरेप्रमणे सराव करतात. वनस्पतींच्या वाढीवर चंद्राचा थेट परिणाम होतो की नाही, या प्रश्नाचे अजूनही ठोस वैज्ञानिक उत्तर मिळालेले नाही. परंतु शेकडो वर्षांपासून युरोपातील कुशल उद्यानविद्या-तज्ञ आणि अव्वल दर्जाचे हौशी बागकामप्रेमी प्रामणिकपणे या शास्त्राचे यशस्वीरीत्या पालन करत आलेले आहेत.

 अमावस्या,    शुक्ल पक्ष,    पौर्णिमा,      कृष्ण पक्ष,    अमावस्या.
चंद्राच्या कला 

चला तर मग, आपणही पाहूयात की चंद्रज्ञानाचा वापर आपण आपल्या घर-बागेत, परस बागेत, किचन गार्डनमध्ये कसा करू शकतो ते:

कलम आणि अमावस्या:
कोणत्याही प्रकरचा कलम हा अमावस्येच्या काळात करावा असे हे शास्त्र सांगते. कारण अमावस्या ते पौर्णिमा या शुल्क पंधरवड्यात जेव्हा चंद्र मोठा होत जातो, ह्या काळात झाडांच्या अन्नरस अभिसरणाची क्रिया उत्तेजित होते आणि नव्या शाकीय कळ्यांची (डोळ्यांची) वाढ जोमाने होते. म्हणूनच आंबा, चिकू, पेरू अशा फळझाडांच्या रोपांवर जर कलम (grafting) करायचा असेल तर तो अमावस्येच्या दिवशी करावा. हीच खुण ध्यानात ठेवून, जास्वंदीचा गुटी कलम (air layering), वा गुलाबाचा डोळा कलम (eye budding) सुद्धा अमावस्येच्याच मुहूर्तावर करावा.

छाटणी आणि शुक्ल पक्ष:
फळझाडांची, फुलझाडांची इतर वृक्षांची छाटणी ही साधारण पावसाळा सुरु होण्याच्या अगोदर मे महिन्यात केली जाते. चंद्रज्ञान शास्त्रात अशी समजूत आहे की या प्रकारची छाटणी ही शुक्ल पक्षात म्हणजे वाढत्या चंद्राच्या पंधरवड्यात कधीही करावी. असे केल्याने नवीन पालव्या फुटण्यास मदत होते.

पेरणी, लागवड आणि चंद्र-कला:
जुन्या काळातील जाणकार माळी असा सल्ला देतात की शुक्ल पक्षातच (पौर्णिमेच्या साधारण दोन दिवस अगोदर) बहुतेक प्रकारच्या भाजीपाल्याची पेरणी किंवा लागवड करावी. याला अपवाद आहे कोबीवर्गीय भाज्या, ज्यांची पेरणी/लागवड कृष्ण पक्षात किंबहुना पौर्णिमेच्या दिवशी करावी, म्हणजे पौर्णिमा ते अमावस्या या कृष्ण पंधरवड्यात कोबी, फ्लावरच्या बियांची रुजवण चागली होईल.



चंद्रीय लागवडीचा तक्ता:

दिवस
कृती
पिक
पौर्णिमा
बी पेरणी
कोबी, फ्लावर, गाजर, कांदा, बीट, मुळा, पालक, लेट्युस.
रोप लागवड
बटाटा, टोमॅटो, वांगी, भोपळी मिरची.
पिक तोडणी/कापणी
सर्व प्रकारची फळं, भाज्या आणि हर्बस.
शुक्ल त्रयोदशी
बी पेरणी
मका, चवळी, फरसबी, भुईमुग, वाटाणा, कोथिंबीर आणि हर्बस.


पौर्णिमेची रात्र आणि तण/गवत वेणणी:
वरील नमूद केलेली सर्व बाग-बगीचाची कामं जरी चंद्राच्या कलांकडे पाहून ठरवण्यात येत असली तरी प्रत्यक्ष कृती ही दिवसाच करायची असते. तथापि काही जर्मन वनस्पतीशास्त्रज्ञांच्या मते बागेतील गादी-वाफे तयार करताना माती खणायचं काम रात्री चंद्राच्या प्रकाशात केलं, तर नंतर त्या ठिकाणी तणांचा प्रादुर्भाव फार कमी प्रमाणात होते. ते यापुढे असंही म्हणतात की गवत काढायचं/ तणांची वेणणी करायचं काम पौर्णिमेच्या रात्री केलं तर ते जास्त परिणामकारक ठरतं.



चंद्र आणि हवामानाचा झटपट अंदाज:
खुद्द चंद्राचा आपल्या हवामानावर फारसा परिणाम होत नसेलही, पण आकाशातील चंद्राकडे पाहून आपल्याला हवामानाचे आश्चर्यकारकरित्या अचूक अंदाज बांधता येतात. उदाहरणार्थ जर चंद्राभोवती खळं/वलय दिसत असेल किंवा चंद्राच्या कडा धूसर दिसत असतील तर येत्या काही तासांत पावसाची शक्यता आहे असे समजावे. मध्यरात्री किंवा पहाटेच्या वेळी येणाऱ्या अवकाळी पाउस/वादळाची सूचना आपल्याला अशा पद्धतीने मिळवता येऊ शकते. याउलट कडक हिवाळ्यातील निरभ्र आकाशात जेव्हा स्वच्छ आणि स्पष्ट चंद्र दिसत असतो तेव्हा रात्री दवबिंदू गोठून झाडं थंडीने करपण्याची शक्यता असते, म्हणजेच झाडांना हिम-इजा होण्याची शक्यता असते. याच ऋतुत जर चंद्राच्या कडा पुन्हा अस्पष्ट दिसू लागल्या तर हिम-दवाचा अवधी संपत आला असं समजायचं. 

चंद्राचे खळे म्हणजे पावसाचे सूचक 


चंद्र आणि पृथ्वीच्या नात्यामध्ये अजून अनेक गुपीत दडलेली आहेत. त्यांचा वैज्ञानिक छडा पुढेमागे लागेलही, पण तो पर्यंत अनुभवाने निर्माण झालेल्या अशा ज्ञाचा वापर करण्यास काहीच हरकत नाही.


Ref: Reader's Digest.

टीप: वरील माहितीचा ज्योतिषशास्त्राशी किंवा पंचांगाशी काहीही संबंध नाही. भारतीय संस्कृतीत पंचांग व नक्षत्र पाहून ठराविक मुहुर्तांवर धान्याची पेरणी करायची प्रथा आहे. ते एक स्वतंत्र ज्ञानाचे क्षेत्र असून, वेगळ्या ब्लॉगचा विषय आहे.


तुम्हाला हा ब्लॉग कसा वाटला हे कॉमेंट्समध्ये जरूर कळवा.
अशाच पद्धतीचे माहितीपर ब्लॉग वाचण्यासाठी मला follow करा,
आणि आमचे फेसबुक पेज लाईक करा.


-हर्षद ऐनापुरे, (M.Sc. Botany, SET), संचालक: नेचर फर्स्ट हॉर्टीकल्चरस.
Email ID: harshad.naturefirst@gmail.com

Friday, August 31, 2018

DIY: How to get rid of mealybugs by using natural methods.




The most common yet most terrifying problem that a home gardener faces is an infestation of mealy bugs. They often attack ornamental plants like Hibiscus, Cacti, Succulents, ferns, Croton, lilies etc. They also appear on fruiting trees like lemon and vegetable crops like Tomato and Brinjal. The white woolly mass of mealybugs may appear like fungal infection to amateur gardener.

Mealybugs are sucking and crawling insects who can kill your plants if unattended. The first onset in usually pretty slow and you won’t even notice your plants going bad until one day when they do, and you wouldn’t have even seen it coming. Spraying chemical pesticides is not a good idea. Let's have a look how you can naturally save your plants from dangerous mealybugs:

Remember the following points to protect your plants form getting heavily infested by mealybugs:

  • Sooner your are able to detect the infestation, the better it is for your plants. You have to regularly observe your garden plants, particularly their leaves, flowering buds, fruits and so on.
  • Always check the hiding spots of mealybugs on plants viz. under-surface of leaves, all the corners and the angles in the stem branches and also in the potting soil.
  • If you notice few stray mealybugs, remove them physically from plant by using cotton-buds (Q-tips). Cotton buds should be dipped in spirit before using.
  • Regularly clean (wipe) the leaves of your indoor foliage plants with the help of sponge.
  • Ants help the spread of mealybugs, so fix the ant problem first. Sprinkle Haldi powder, wood-ash, or custard apple seed powder on the soil surface around the plants to ward off ants.
  • Re-potting: Change the pot of your house-plants once a year. Every year if new pot and new soil is used, there will be no place to hide for mealybugs.
  • Do not use any chemical pesticides or insecticides under any circumstances.


Some organic home remedies to control mealybugs:

Water force:
Surprisingly, regular plain water can be used as a weapon against mealybugs. Due to their soft body and loose grip, mealybugs can easily get washed away by a powerful force of water. A regular hand sprayer can be used to generate a forceful waterjet flow by adjusting its nozzle. For a bigger garden, you can wash the foliage of your plants; give them a nice bath by using a hosepipe.


However, this much is not enough. To control the mealybugs effectively, following spraying should be done:

DIY: Neem oil spray: 

  • Take 1 liter plain water in a bottle.
  • Add 2 drops of liquid soap in it. You can use plant shampoo for this; if not, liquid dishwash will do.
  • Add 10 ml (1 tsp) of Neem oil in it.
  • Shake the bottle thoroughly till the milky white solution is formed.
  • Spraying: This medicine can be sprayed on your garden plants once a month by using fine mist of regular hand sprayer.
  • This method is very useful in controlling mealybugs in your garden.
  • This medicine becomes more effective if 3-4 tsp of alcohol (ethanol) is added in above solution.



Biological methods of controlling mealybugs: 

Mealybugs have many natural enemies, we can be friends with them. How? Let's have a look:

Ladybird beetle: These cute looking insects are predators of mealybugs. They hunt down, kill and feast on mealybugs. The species Cryptolaemus montrouzieri has developed a reputation of being a mealybug destroyer.


Leptomastidea abnormis: These are small wasps that lay eggs inside mealybugs bodies. The larvey start eating mealybugs from inside, eventually killing them.
Lecanicillium lecanii: This is a kind of fungus that infects mealybugs, and they die of sickness in the end. There are many such pathogenic fungi that can be used to infect mealybugs.

There are many products/traps available in market that can be used to introduce natural enemies in your garden or farm. Usually such biological control methods are useful in organic farmlands, yard gardens, greenhouses etc.

‘Neem-Astra’: The ultimate weapon to eradicate mealybugs:

In zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) method, invented by Padma Shri  Mr. Subhash Palekar has created a powerful medicine called ‘Neemastra’. It is a natural pesticide made from Neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves. Using this pesticide will have no harmful effects on nature, environment and your health.

Procedure of making Neemastra for home garden:

  • Take 10 lit water in a bucket & add 500 ml gomutra (cow-urine) of Desi cow.
  • In this add 100 gm fresh cow dung of Desi cow & mix it thoroughly with your hand.
  • In this add 500 gm of Neem leaf paste (crushed Neem leaves) & stir this mixture thoroughly.
  • Keep this solution in shade for 24 hours for fermentation.
  • Stir the solution in clockwise direction twice a day.
  • After 24 hours strain this solution through white cloth, and a medicine ‘Neemastra’ is ready.

Spraying: Make 1:1 solution of Neemastra in water & spray it on plants that are infested by mealybugs. Single round of spray is good enough to fix the mealybugs in your garden. Two to three rounds of spraying at interval of 15-15 days will more or less completely wipe out mealybugs from your garden.

According to the principles of Natural farming, farmers are encouraged to make their own Neemastra by using local material. This rule is applied to gardeners as well. However there are many reasons why urban gardeners are not able to make Neemastra at their home. We feel that just because of inconvenience your garden should not miss out on a precious medicine like Neemastra. Therefore you can buy ready to use Neemastra from us.

500 ml can of Neem Astra

Click here to buy Neemastra for your plants. On this facebook link, send your name, address and contact details on messenger. (*Currently Neemastra is only available in Mumbai and the suburbs.)

Click here to buy natural plant care products for organic gardening.

Click here to read this blog in marathi.

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-Harshad Ainapure (M.sc. Botany, SET), Director at Nature First Horticultures.

email: harshad.naturefirst@gmail.com