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  Wonder Ingredients - home garden
Home Garden

Having your own herb garden requires a lot of planning and tender loving care. And no, it doesn’t matter even if you live in an apartment that doesn’t allow you the luxury of a lawn. Here’s what you can do to have your very own green corner.

Selecting a location
Selecting a place for your green patch depends on various factors. Before you choose a spot, consider these:
- Herbs need constant temperatures and lots of sunlight.
- They are sensitive to heavy wind, keep this in mind.
- Your garden should be in or near your kitchen for easy access when cooking.

Tending to your garden
- Pick up some small/medium clay or ceramic pots and herb seedlings.
- Light is very important for these seedlings and hence your garden will need six to eight hours of quality light a day. If you observe that your plants are getting "leggy" (lots of stem, not a lot of leaves), you'll know they need more light.
- Water the plants, when the top of the soil layer is dry, just until water starts draining from the bottom of the pots. Use a drip tray to catch the excess water, but never let the pots soak in water.
- Watch your plants carefully for signs of insect infestation as flies, mosquitoes and other insects also find herbs irresistible! Just rinse your plants thoroughly with water, also tip the plant upside down and spray the underside of the leaves.
- Isolate infected plants, until you are sure they are insect-free. Do not use insecticides on herbs since their residue may be difficult to remove completely.

Sample the herbs
When you are ready to use your herbs, snip them off with a pair of clean, sharp kitchen scissors and toss into your cooking, post a good wash of course.


Compact urban apartments usually do not allow people the luxury of having large plants in their house. So, for people who would still want add a touch of greenery to their homes, bonsais work as great alternatives. Here is the download on how to develop a great bonsai plant.

What are bonsai plants?
Bon' means 'tray' and 'sai' means 'plant', together pronounced as 'bahn sy'. The art form originated around the Third Century BC in China and later travelled to Japan.

Bonsai plants can be cultivated both indoors and outdoors in trays/pots. Plant species that can be cultivated as bonsais include flowering plants like pomegranates, apricots and plum and conifers like spruce and pine.

Bonsai as an art form
  • You can classify a bonsai plant on the basis of its size, shape, age, and the number of trunks.
  • Most people want their bonsai plant to look like a 100 year old tree with thick trunks and old bark, which can be achieved by regularly tending to the plant.
  • Before planting the sapling in a shallow tray, check that the roots of the plants are healthy. Trim the unwanted parts of the root.
  • Place the plant in a shallow tray and cover it with a layer of soil.
  • Plant other plants around this sapling. Use moss as it helps the plant look aged and also helps in retaining the moisture.
  • There is no need for extra fertilizers for the initial six months, just sprinkle water on the moss regularly.
  • After six months, you can change the look of the bonsai plant. You can get bonsai wires and wire the trunks or branches of the plant and leave it on for the next three to six months.
  • After that, you can remove the wires and leave it or re-wire the plant to a new shape or position.
  • Now, you can take the plant out from its soil, clip the roots if they are too long and re-plant them into a new pot in fresh soil. 

    Selection of bonsai plants

  • The appearance of a bonsai plant depends on the personal care and attention it receives.
  • Select either outdoor or indoor plants depending on the amount of light, temperature and humidity that is required by the plant.
  • For outdoor plants, choose hardy species like spruce, pine etc.
  • For indoor plants, choose tropical plants like natal plum or ficus. 
  • Most flowering plants are a combination of indoor and outdoor. They are the ideal choice for a bonsai as you can place them inside during winters and outdoors during summers.

    Once you have a bonsai in shape, place it in an exotic looking pot or a jar and let it enhance the beauty of your nest.


    By Capt. S.K. Bhandari (Retd.)

    Today a large number of people for obvious reasons are Apartment Dwellers. No garden plot, no lawn, no outdoor space.
    Do not worry. If you are a flower lover, you can still grow these and enjoy the thrill of having a wonderful flower garden.
    If you live in an apartment, gardening is not necessarily out of your reach. If you have just a little piece of outdoors (deck, balcony, patio) you can create a container garden which will bring you joy and perhaps even vegetables! Here is all that you need to start container gardening yourself.

    Pots - The clay ones are the best. But today you get beautiful plastic pots in different colours
    with drip plates. It is suggested that you purchase these in Brick Red colours along with the Drip Tray. To begin with purchase 5-6 pieces each of 6 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch pots/drip trays. You may add more later on depending on the space available.

    Potting Soil - You can purchase ready mix indoor soils in bags from any of the nurseries or from the garden shop. Or you can mix your own. A suggested indoors potting soil mix is given below:

    1. 2 parts peat moss
    2. 1 part sand
    3. 2 parts common garden soil.

    Tools - Container gardening can be done without many specialized tools. You would however need the following items:

    Watering can with rose - Watering can with a long neck will help you reach pots easily. The size should be about 5 Litres. Look for a good watering can with a rose attachment on the spout so that the water is delivered like a soft rain and not a torrential jet.

    Sprayer - A small sprayer (about 1 Litre) for misting, fertilizing, or applying insecticidal soap and pest deterrents. A sprayer that has been used for insecticide or pesticides should never be used for anything else.

    Pruning knife, shears, or scissors - Whether you need any or all of these depends on what kind of plants you have. If you're growing trees or shrubs, you'll need pruning shears. If you're growing annual flowers, you might need only a good strong scissors and a knife. A garden knife is versatile and works well for root pruning.

    Digging Tools - As a starter you would need an 1 inch and a 3 inch digging tool (Khurpi).

    What to grow?

    Most annuals, perennials and seasonal plants can be grown in pots. There are also a number of vegetable varieties which will grow in pots, provided they get the water and sunlight they need. What could be more satisfying than serving your friends a salad grown with your own hands?
    As with a traditional garden, the first step is planning. Determine how much and what kind of light your garden will get (this will effect your choice of plants), Pick the plants you want and make your plan.

    Unless you have lots of room and the right conditions to start seedlings indoors, you will not be able to buy plants from the nursery (annuals should already be in bloom, vegetables and perennials should be ready for their final transplant). In most areas, most seedlings will need to be hardened and tender plants should not be put outside in high winds or temperatures below 10° C.

    Need some inspiration? Remember: any clean container with drainage holes can be called into service to house your garden; and there are those who claim that any plant that will grow in the ground will grow in a pot, so do not be afraid to experiment. Once your garden is planted, you will have a low-maintenance source of beauty, as long as you water and fertilise your plants according to their specific needs.


    Did you know that used tea leaves are good fertilisers? Just mix the used tea leaves into your potted plants. That’s not all: used tea leaves retain moisture, even after they are boiled, strained and cooled. Which is why they are of great help when you want to gift small saplings (cactii and other small plants) that grow in the pot to a friend. After carefully removing the sapling with the roots, pack the roots with tea leaves and wrap with aluminium foil. The plant will stay fresh for several days, which enables you to safely transport it even over a long distance.


    Indoor plant is also an essential component of interior decoration. With good care, many indoor plants can be grown, which help in keeping the air clean and free from pollutants. Plants provide cool freshness to living spaces and the fresh flowers in vases give a bright and cheerful look to the room, where they are kept.


    Banana peels make excellent fertilisers! Especially for roses or plotted plants. Chop two peels and plant them into the soil, 10 cm Away from the stem. Repeat every week.

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