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Missing nature during lockdown? Try your hand at balcony gardening

Works even if you have just a sunny windowsill

By Sonali Shah  May 13th, 2020

If you’ve had a stray aloe vera plant in a lone corner of the balcony, and maybe 2-3 gifted flower pots, this is a great time to revisit your plants. Most of us have a plant or two at home, with vestiges of life in them. Anyway, the ongoing lockdown situation leaves us with extra time on hands, so how ’bout discovering if you have a green thumb? Here’s how you can get stayed with balcony gardening

Operation germination

With the monsoon set to arrive in few weeks, this is a great time for newbies to sow seeds. You barely need any additional equipment – you got the soil already from the unused pots, and some seeds which are from the fresh, unrefrigerated vegetables you get home from the market. You’ll have to apply some fertilizer too, but hey, that can be prepared at home with a simple recipe. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get tilling!

To begin, use a large spoon to empty out the soil from the flower pots on a newspaper spread on the floor. The soil may have hardened; break the chunks with the spoon. Let the soil aerate for 2-3 days. Next, scoop out the seeds carefully from gourds, beans or cucumbers, and spread a few on a paper napkin. Lay another paper napkin on top and sprinkle water to moisten both the napkins. Transfer this arrangement in a box, and place it in a dark spot, eg: a drawer. Every morning, give the box a peek to check if the napkins have retained the moisture. If you see them drying, sprinkle some water. In a few days, depending on which seeds you’ve chosen, you’ll see them germinating.


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Grow house diary

These germinated seeds are now ready to be transferred into a small container. Use a paper cup or a plastic takeaway container, poke a hole at the bottom, and fill it with the soil we aerated earlier. Now gently detach the seedling from the paper napkin, poke a dent in the soil using a pencil, and place the seedling into the dent. Cover the seedling with a light layer of soil and water lightly. Leave them in a partially sunny spot, and watch them grow rapidly.


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Once you see the saplings outgrowing the paper cup, transplant them into the pots. Water once a day, and as the monsoon arrives, so will your own homegrown vegetables.


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Balcony Gardening Tips:

1) Homemade fertilizer – Soak banana peels in water for three days. Pour a cup of the nitrogen-rich water per pot, once a month. Or ground up few eggshells and mix thoroughly with the soil to fulfill the plant’s calcium needs.

2) Start out counting 10 seeds per pot; many die in the seedling stage, leaving you with only 2-3 to transplant.


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