Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Preparing for Autumn! (Gardening Calendar for October)

Green Thumb


With the monsoon now gone, it becomes hotter again during the day in most parts of the country. But autumn has begun to settle here in Uttarakhand. The days may be warmer but the nights are chilly. The garden wears a different look in the months of October and November. While the lawns are at their greenest, some plants become shaggy and unshapely. Plumeria or the Pagoda Tree is in best bloom during October and November. We can still see greenery all around us even after the passage of the rains.Spray the plants for prevention of pest and fungal attack. Dimethoate(Rogor) or Dichlorovos (Nuvan )@ 2 ml/litre of water and a systemic fungicide like Carbendazim (Bavistin) @ 2 gm/litre of water should be sprayed to get rid of most pests like aphids, jassids and diseases like Mildew and stem rot.Chrysanthemum plants should be brought out in the full sun now that the rains are almost gone. They will also need to be staked with bamboo sticks. Buds start appearing in Chrysanthemum plants in Dehradun, Mussoorie and the rest of the hills in October. In Mussoorie and Nainital, they start to flower by the end of the month. The side buds in Chrysanthemum plants should be regularly removed in large flower varieties. Small doses of liquid manure are recommended as soon as buds appear but should not be followed after the buds start to open.For liquid manure or spray a water soluble compound mixture like Nitrophoska (of M/s BASF) or Polyfeed (of M/s Nagarjuna Fertilisers) are quite useful. For liquid feeding the plants, a dose of 5 gm/per litre of water is recommended, while for spray, a dose of 2 gm/litre is recommended. However, if Nitrophoska or Polyfeed is not available, an alternative mixture can be sprayed by mixing one part of Urea, one part of Single Super Phosphate, two parts of Muriate of Potash, one part of Sterilised Bone Meal, two parts of Powdered Neem Cake, ¼ part of Soil Agromin or Multiplex (Micronutrients) and ¼ part of Wood Ash or crushed Charcoal made from burnt wood. One can use 100 to 200 gms of this mixture per sq yards of bed soil. In pots, 5 to 15 gms of this mixture should be applied depending on the plants and the size of the pots. For green houseplants and the lawn one can alter the above formula by reducing the quantity of Potash to half and increasing the quantity of Urea by one-fourth. Feed the potted plants with the above mentioned mixture @ one to two table spoons per plant. Water immediately after.The same mixture can be fed to the Rose plants as well as Dahlia plants from October onwards at a regular interval of 15 days. Some cleaning work is required in the garden. As mentioned in this column earlier, the Rose plants should be pruned during the third week of September in Dehradun, Almora and Haldwani. HOWEVER, IF YOU HAVE NOT STILL PRUNED ROSE BUSHES, PRUNE THEM NOW WITHOUT ANY FURTHER DELAY. In Haridwar, Rishikesh and Roorkee, mid-October is the proper time for pruning the roses. Mild Contact pesticides like Malathion and Fenvalerate @ 2 ml/litre of water can be sprayed to prevent aphids and thrips normally active at this time of the year. For the prevention of fungal diseases, a mild contact fungicide like Mancozeb (Dithane M-45) should be sprayed @ 3gm/litre of water. The first flush of Rose will bloom in November and after a short slumber in late December and January, the next flush will bloom in February and continue till April. A compound fertiliser like Polyfeed (M/s Nagarjuna Fertilisers) or Nitrophoska (M/s BASF) @ 3 gm/litre of water may also be added to the solution. Feed the rose plants with a Rose Mix or the mixture mentioned above @ 25 to 40 gm /sq mt. Some shrubs like Jasmine are pruned now. The lawn must be mowed now and then fertilised with the lawn mix @ 500 gm/100sq. ft. Dahlia cuttings planted earlier in September would be ready for transplantation now.However, the cuttings can be taken even during the first fortnight of this month and planted in sand or other suitable rooting medium.Cuttings should be watered very mildly but regularly till they root. They can be sprayed occasionally with a Contact Fungicide like Captan or Mancozeb @ 3 gm/litre to prevent Foot and Stem rot.October is best time to sow seeds for winter and spring flower annuals. Seeds should be sown in the seeds trays, of all the winter or spring annuals like Marigold, Calendula, Antirrhinum (Dog Flower), Bellis (English Daisy), Larkspur, Sweet Sultan, Sweet Pea, Nasturtium, Pansy, Petunia, Alyssum, Candytuft, Verbena, Phlox, Cineraria, Poppy, Paper Flower, Hollyhock, Salvia, Nemasia, Mimulus, Mesembryanthemum (Ice Plant or Motimum), Sweet William Dianthus and Carnation. Out of all those mentioned above, Hollyhock, Sweet William, Sweet Pea and Larkspur are essentially sown in situ directly in the beds where they have to flower. Winter and spring flowering bulbous plants can be sown now. Bulbs of Iris, Daffodil, Narcissus (Nargis), Gladioli, Hyacinth, Tulip, Lilium (Asiatic or Oriental Lily), Calla Lily and Ranunculus should be sown in the first fortnight of this month. IN THE HILLS, October is the time when summer flowering plants like Fuchsia, Begonia and Dahlia are preparing to become dormant. Dahlia, Gladioli, Begonia bulbs are dug out and stored for the winter. Seedlings of the spring annuals sown in September may be transplanted now.


In the Kitchen garden, it is time to sow Radish, Carrot, Turnip, Lettuce, Beetroot (Palak), Garlic, Onion and French-Bean. Transplant the seedlings of Tomato, Brinjal, Cabbage and Cauliflower. If not sown earlier, these can also be sown now in the first fortnight of the month. Knoll-kohl and the Continental vegetables like Broccoli, Brussels-Sprouts, Celery, Lettuce, Leek and Chinese- Cabbage can also be sown now. Potato should be sown or planted on ridges. Earth up the potato plants when they are about 5 to 8 inches high. For a crop of Spring Onions, sow the seeds now. Regular weeding and hoeing is must. Air and Ground layered stems of fruit trees like Citrus, Litchi, may be separated from mother plants and planted at proper locations on the garden. New growth in Citrus is attacked by Citrus leaf miner producing the zigzag waxy tunnels over the surface of the leaf. Dead and dry wood may be removed in citrus. Spray Phosphamidon (Demicron) or Monocrotophos (Nuvacron) @ 2 ml/litre of water.IN THE HILLS, this is the time to dig out potato. Lettuce may be transplanted if sown in September. It is harvest time for Lettuce, Cucumber, Okra (Bhindi), Tomato, Capsicum in the hills. Strawberry runners may also be planted now. Also seeds of wild Almond, Apple and other fruit trees are planted for rootstock use. Plum, Apricot, Apple and Pear can be grafted now.