Best Practices #Self-reliant Home Garden

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Introduction: Best Practices #Self-reliant Home Garden

About: Women in STEM | ATL Mentor of Change | Start-up enthusiast | Bicycler | Toastmaster | YouTuber | Traveller | Creative Works; She/Her.

Here, I give a brief idea about the beat practices for being self-reliant around my home grown plants. Right from preparing compost, planting, raised beds everything were prepared with things available at home. That too, with severe lockdown around, this is the only way however on long run I am sure these practices will definitely help in:
1. Cost cutting
2. Chemical free foods
3. Effective time utilisation at home, and active around

All were done single-handedly by me. So you can easily compute how much calories i would have burnt..:p

Step 1: Best-Practice#1 : Home-made Compost : Supplies

For making homemade compost, we would need the following:
1. An empty(here, I used an empty water can) drilled with holes for drainage, all many places over the can.
2. Organic waste : Spoiled, left-over & peels of fruits/vegetables, leaves shed from trees
3. Any tea powder(if available)
4. Coco coir. The coco coir I used are remains of our house use.
5. Sour butter milk/fermented dairy drink.

Step 2: Best-Practice#1 : Home-made Compost

Step 3: Best-Practice#1 : Home-made Compost : Prepare Container

I used a old can water dispenser, punched holes all around the container. I used hot iron needle and inserted holes into the water can. Along with it, keep a long stick(to mix) the content often and close the lid of the container(to avoid external moisture).

Following steps for Home-made compost(mentioned with tags), were prepared so many days altogether till reaching the fine home-made compost at the end.

Step 4: Best-Practice#1 : Home-made Compost : Dry Organic Wastes

As mentioned earlier, any organic remaining like fruit peel, leftover raw vegetables, coconut coir, tea powder could be used as organic mix for every soil layer.

Few years ago, when we tried for organic manure we used the organic waste as it is dumped into container. And days later, that released pungent smell and left unused, to be thrown to dump-yard at the last.

So this time, i am making a practice of doing a weekly routine:

1. Bringing together all the organic waste, next day morning to direct sunlight area at my house and spread it widely in a big size open plate/tray.

2. Flip the old waste the next day morning, when i bring the waste from the previous day.

3. Every weekend, on early sunday morning i cut the waste into smaller pieces and store it in a plastic bag.

4. Once a required quantity is reached, i start to prepare the manure making mix in the container prepared in step3. Or if applicable, we can do the process of preparing manure in the container as and when the organic waste gets dried.

Step 5: Best-Practice#1 : Home-made Compost : Layering for Manure

This is how the manure has to be prepared so that it decompose evenly and gets mixed with the soil at a better rate.

Layer 1 : Any good Soil for gardening purpose (need not required to be compost soil)

Layer 2 : Organic waste

Layer 3 : Soil again

(repeat the process until it reaches 70% level of the pot, from the bottom).

If available, you may sprinkle tea powder over the top layer.

Pour sour butter milk at the top, so that it gets drained to the bottom of the pot. You may use whatever quantity of butter milk, you have with you; any amount of it, will be beneficial. The more sour it is, the most nutritious the manure would be.

Sour Buttermilk is wonderful and can be used as a foliage spray,to get bigger and better blooms,vegetables and fruits,its a great organic fertiliser which works wonders for rose and curry leave plants.

More than adding to plants, this process of adding to the manure yields more nutrition.

You may also add a layer of coconut coir, cut into fine pieces as one layer and spread soil on top of it as the another layer.

Step 6: Best-Practice#1 : Home-made Compost : Things to Note Down

1. Make sure to keep a big size plate/tray and place the drilled container on top of it. Most times, the organic waste, sour butter milk added leave fermented water to the bottom. Need not throw away the water; they are rich in nutrition. You may use that as a supplement to other plants that have grown around, especially those mature to flowering stage. You plants will bless you, for this highly nutritious water you pour :-)

2. More than a stick to mix the content, you may use old metal ladle. I used and find that large slotted ladle (we had one 20-30 years old left abandoned in the storage room), is much more convenient to use. Having said that, any big size flattened stick will also solve the purpose.

3. Mix the manure three days once for even decomposing.

4. As you have added sour butter milk, you may find layer of fungus formed on top of the pot. Do retain it and mix them along.

5. If in case you have wooden pieces to add as compost layer, do break them into very smaller particles or fine dust(may use grater). As the other organic waste(fruits, vegetables parts) takes much less time than the wooden sticks; and if the wooden sticks are large they may remain partly decomposed and may not be ready to be used along with the soil, as a compost.

6. Your organic waste can also include human hair. It provide nitrogen as it decomposes, just as natural-gas-derived sources like ammonia do.

7. You may also use dried leaves around. I did use mango trees and rotana leaves predominately (when i did second cycle of home made compost). Some use shredded papers, but i have not done it so far.

8. Often do check whether the whole compost is moisture enough but not watery. Moisture in soil helps to decompose.

9. Do keep the container with compost in a shady area.

10. Once the layering is complete, place a plate(any closure) at the open side of the container and keep a stone or heavy material on top of it. This arrangement keeps the container safe at one place and does not allow rain water inside.

Step 7: Best-Practice#1 : Home-made Compost : Fun Part!

And that one drop of sweat, goes to compost...:p

Step 8: Best-Practice#2 : Simple Fencing for Smaller Plants(for Cautious Watering)

Step 9: Best-Practice#2 : Simple Fencing for Smaller Plants(for Cautious Watering)

As i found smaller plants started to evolve at one side along with other grown plants, in a big tub like structure(made of cement construction) at the backyard i decide to do small fencing for the smaller plants until it reaches steady growth.

This is required as at times (if in case i could not water plants any day) my other family members might be watering the plants in the big tub like structure. So this small fencing will make them remind my warning. Else, they may not get a warning thought of sprinkling little amount of water.

As mentioned in the first step, we target cost-cutting procedure as the main idea of this instructable. So this fencing does not require any things to bought from outside. I used small mango tree sticks(i used to sun dry the mango tree sticks and store at one side of the gardening area) and tied them with threads to make the fence.

We can remove the fence, once they have grown to a steady height!

Step 10: Best-Practice#3 : Making Containers for Planting

Step 11: Best-Practice#3 : Making Containers for Planting

I had few old water cans with leakage, so made use of it to prepare containers for my garden. It is a plastic container. So used hot iron to make few holes at the bottom. This is a way to effectively reuse plastics.

Make sure you have safety wears, while cutting/drilling the plastic containers.

Step 12: Best-Practice#3 : Using Containers for Planting

For this season, i sowed cluster beans to the container itself and have been using old vegetable cutting board to close them during nights or rainy days. I do keep it open, during early morning.

There have grown only to 1-2 inches as of now. Until they are better grown, i will be opening the container during day time or warm days and close them in advance during night time (as it runs all of sudden) or rainy day time. They are also easy to carry with some knot/rope hacks. I used the home made compost (along with garden soil) which i prepared in first cycle for sowing the cluster beans seeds.

Step 13: Best-Practice#4 : Other Supplements for Plants/soil

Step 14: Best-Practice#4 : Other Supplements for Plants/soil

There are 17 essential minerals required by plants to grow; three of those are supplied through air and water (carbon, hydrogen and oxygen). The other 14 must either be available in the soil or water or added as a supplement. There are also several nutrients that are considered nonessential, meaning plants will grow without deficiencies if these elements are not present, but they are considered beneficial to enhanced plant growth.

Most of us are familiar of other sources, but not much of us would have known that nitrogen in hair has more nitrogen content which helps soil fertilisation.

Do check the attachment. Source: https://www.rxgreentechnologies.com/rxgt_papers/sy...

where the human hair which usually goes to dumpyard is a good source of nitrogen.

So i make a small hole across plants regularly and burry bunch of my hairs(most days) when i go to dry my organic waste.

Step 15: Best-Practice#5 : Seeds Box

Step 16: Best-Practice#5 : Seeds Box

It is been 4-5 years now, i have been collecting and storing the seeds i get from the parent plants in my garden or through neighbours/friends or through my solo travelling to nearby farms.

I label them in paper packets (mostly in regional language), pin and place it in a box kept separately for it in the backyard. This helps me to organise the needs at one place.

Along with that, i do collect rare articles published about local farmers/home gardeners who show interest in sharing knowledge. They are of good help, as and when i need clarifications in home gardening.

Note: Do dry the seeds in shady regions, before keeping them in packets.

Step 17: Best-Practice#6 : Low-cost Raised Beds

Step 18: Best-Practice#6 : Low-cost Raised Beds With Things Available at Home

So when it comes to raised beds, it always need not be purchased outside when you have old wooden furniture's/wooden structures used at home (and thrown to garage).

For raised beds, i used:

1. Old wooden shelve structure

2. PVC door, to make easy maintenance and proper drainage.

I had a big size multi level wooden shelf case(used in kitchen), which is found unused for many years. So i cut it into short and placed it to fix on the PVC door (which was used in old style bathrooms years ago). I used bricks and unused tiles to keep the door at a raised level from the floor.

I did measure the Shelves and door size before cutting them to fix them, to fit properly.


I am using the raised beds one half to dry the organic waste and the other half to be used for smaller root plants, coming monsoon.

Step 19: Best-Practice#7 : Up-cycled Bird Feeder and Water Pot

Step 20: Best-Practice#7 : Up-cycled Bird Feeder and Water Pot

Maintaining the ecosystem is more important in any type of garden. It is not only the soil and water that plays a major role, birds do make the environment more blissful.

We have our neighbour's mango tree taking little space in our backyard. Recently, this season attracts more birds to the trees around. Found some crows and birds busy building their nest. Its time to do help them with their needs.

We earlier had a bird feeder system (purchased outside). But then went not of much use and little inconvenient.

So making this low-cost and easily accessible (even for squirrels running around the trees) bird feeder and water pot set-up.


For bird feeder, I used the bottom of a flower bouquet received years ago and :

1. Tied it along with an non-rustic aluminium metal string.

2. Tied it to a thick thread at the holes and tied to a tree branch.

The water is placed in an old unused stainless steel bowl.

And It served the purpose, at no-cost!

Step 21: Best-Practice#8 : Mango Plucker

Step 22: Best-Practice#8 : Mango Plucker Made From 5ltr Plastic Bottle and Long Wooden Stick

I made a simple mango fruit plucker with a 5litre soda bottle fixed to a long wooden stick.

1. Mark the outline with permanent marker on the outside of the plastic bottle.

2. Cut the plastic bottle, at one of the side in big square shape comparatively bigger enough to let in the mango inside the hole.

3. To the inside of the hole we cut in the plastic bottle, i inserted a small pipe that would join the plastic bottle to the wooden stick.

4. And plugged a wooden block size bigger than the hollow in the small pipe so that the pipe is in stable position and the plastic bottle also does not fall.

5. Finally, attached the small pipe to the wooden stick.

Step 23: Best-Practice#9 : Creating Support for Creeper Plants

Step 24: Best-Practice#9 : Creating Support for Creeper Plants

It is most important to provide a better environment for plant growth, I am keeping on an eye on this creeper plants everyday and have been thinking how to make it grow better. So came with this ladder like support made of wood and threads.

Supplies:

Wood, here I have used old wooden door/window frame

Mango tree sticks, earlier during last week sometime I cut some interrupting branches and dried them in sunlight

Scissors, to cut ropes & threads

Knives, to remove unwanted cleavage’s in the sticks

Chalk piece, to mark the positions to tie ladder to the frame wood

Ropes

Threads


Steps involved:

1. Tie the wooden frame sticks together with ropes, to form a long stick.

2. Position the long stick in the place where it is required for. See how it fits.

3. Mark the ladder like structure with chalk piece.

4. Tie individual mango tree sticks to the marked position in the long stick.

5. Now place the ladder support behind the plant and slowly place the creeper branches on to the support.Added to the that, I added a long rope to both the ends (as shown in picture) for the other creepers to support across.

Step 25: Best-Practice#10 : Creating Wooden Cage, for Small Herbs

Step 26: Best-Practice#10 : Creating Wooden Cage, for Small Herbs

As part of this section, I list the creation of wooden cage to a herb so that it does not impact the neighbour plants around and not interrupting its own growth, by loosely tying the thread.

Step 27: Best-Practice#11 : Simple & Handy Tool to Declutter Garden Space

Step 28: Best-Practice#11 : Simple & Handy Tool to Declutter Garden Space, Often!

While sweeping is the most often task being done at the garden, i wanted to do with ease so that I can do it quite often.

We have been using the commonly available broom with which we clean the space around the garden, where the green waste are mostly bigger in size.

So as part of this section, I have come up with a sweeping tool which will help us to do cleaning effortlessly.

Due to lockdown, I have made with supplies available with me whereas the outcome solved my purpose. It is up to one to use any other supplies, to make things of their need.

Step 29: Best-Practice#12 : How to Make Flower Plants, to Bloom!

Step 30: Best-Practice#12 : How to Make Flower Plants, to Bloom(more Than Two Handful)!

We at south-india used to prefer idli(rice cake), dosas(like a pan cake) for breakfast and at times, for dinner.

Some used to prepare the batter at home with wet grinder machine and some used to purchase wet batter from outside. During COVID times and in generally for hygiene reasons, we used to prepare batter at home usually 4-5 days once and get the batter refrigerated for use in the coming days.

More details about:

https://m.tarladalal.com/How-To-Make-Perfect-Idli-...

We do not use any inorganic(soda etc) to prepare batter.

And the home made batter is not only a supplement for human beings but also for the plants which we are dependant for.

At my home, we have few flowering varieties like Rotana (kind of jasmine), Butterfly pea, Crossandra infundibuliformis. We use the flowers for worship. And especially Rotana smell carries everywhere around our house, spread through air and it is a bliss to watch them flowering in bunches all over.

And here is a sure working tip to make the flowers bloom. As we prepare the batter, we wash the wet grinder with water, collect these washed out water in bucket and keep it separately for almost 5 days.

This fermented water is full of nutrition and help the plants to bloom. Here's(in pictures) the result of the tip which we started to observe after we started to practice this tip sometime ago.

Attached the pictures

1. Of the batter which we use(at times, we mix with water and keep it aside for 5 days; then pour to plants as a supplement).

2. Rotana plant and flowers that have bloomed on single-day.

Step 31: Best-Practice#13 : How to Grow Micro-greens in Reusable Containers!

Step 32: Best-Practice#13 : How to Grow Micro-greens in Reusable Containers!

Often we use micro-greens as part of our food and grow them does not need a separate pot/soil base. So we opted using fruit containers(that comes along with holes all around).

Here are the pictures of using reusable fruit boxes to grow fenugreek seeds.

Process:

1. Pick a fruit container that has holes all around its body.

2. Place a clean tissue paper on the bottom of the container.

3. Wet the tissue with water.

4. Previously soaked the fenugreek seeds.

5. To the wet tissue paper on the container, spread these soaked fenugreek seeds. You may keep it at any shady place in your backyard.

6. Now to water them, you may dip the container to any bowl of water. Wet tissue would absorb the required and drain out the remaining.

Step 33: Beauty Hacks#1 : Adding Attraction to the Garden

To add furthermore attraction to the garden, I have made a decorative element with available supplies.

Step 34: Beauty Hacks#2 : Lady Bugs Figurine Out of Coconut Shells!

We would require the following supplies:

1. Coconut shells (with not so deep curve)

2. Sand paper

3. Wax crayons

Process:

1. Clean the outer surface of the coconut shell, with sand paper.

2. Draw the lady bugs structure with pencil over the shell.

3. Apply crayons over the sketch.

Now you may place it on the grounds of the backyard or may fix at the trunks of the tree.

Step 35: Final Thoughts!!

Apart from the environment we enjoy from the home garden, we do look for result in terms of yield from the garden!

Here's a glimpse of the various result(s) from my home garden!

Step 36: Final Thoughts - Result 1

That small fence, helped plants to grow luscious leaves!

Step 37: Final Thoughts - Result 2

Been longing for Solanum trilobatum to yield the berries. Homemade compost and good rain helped me!

Step 38: Final Thoughts - Result 3

Broad Beans started to yield flowers and recent days, finding few bees around it. Blissful!

Step 39: Final Thoughts - Result 4

Herbs grown in my backyard are much helpful in maintaining body health and this Butterfly pea aka Clitoria ternatea, commonly known as Asian pigeonwings, bluebellvine, blue pea, butterfly pea, cordofan pea, Darwin pea is one among them.

Step 40: Final Thoughts - Result 5

Cluster beans, that have grown!

Step 41: Final Thoughts - Result 6

Tip on using fermented batter water is also been practice at my sister's house and she is enjoying the jasmine bunches out of her garden. Pictures from her garden!

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