Growing a garden in the Garden City of Bangalore

I’m no Percy Thrower (a UK reference that ages me!) but I do like to try and grow flowers and veg in the garden. In Derby we had a fab veg patch (filled with chicken poop manure) which produced triffids of plants and a great harvest of veggies. In Bangalore we have a garden at the front which is treated as a communal garden (trampled plants), a strip of land at the side of the house mostly in shade and a strip of yard at the back of the house, which was occupied by large trees until the painting project and they were all stripped down.

Gardening here is not like the UK either. It’s not like you can pop down to the local garden centre and grab all you need in one go. There are roadside sellers for plants. There are even a couple of nurseries (I’ve blogged about one previously) but they don’t have seeds, tools, containers, compost or veggies etc. So I go online and look at Flipkart (the Indian equivalent of Amazon) and a few specific searches later and I look like I might be able to get what I need. It still didn’t provide everything I wanted but over the course of a fortnight and multiple parcel deliveries I was able to obtain some seeds, compost, tools and a container. It’s a start. 

So the seeds are supposed to be kept at 18C and it was averaging 35C in February and March when they were delivered. I couldn’t plant straight away as I was waiting for everything else to be delivered. So on 2nd March I finally have the time and equipment to plant some seeds. 

seeds sown on 2nd March

So I have pansies, petunias, sweet peas, tomatoes (2 varieties) and something else (which didn’t have a name on the packet) all sown in seed trays. They are in the shade (35C) at the back of the house as I suspect full sun will kill off any life in them. In addition my lovely gardener, Padmama, has sown the pumpkin seeds in the patch of land at the side of the house. Again this is out of direct sunlight in the hope something will grow. 

potential pumpkin patch on 2nd March

Update at 9th March 2016 

One week on from planting seed and there is life showing in some. The pumpkin patch looks exactly the same with not a glimpse of movement. The seed trays however look more promising (well some of them do). Here is evidence of progress after one week.

   
    
 

Update after 2 weeks – 16th March

Taken just before our return trip to the UK for 10 days. The pumpkins still have no sign of life and neither do the sweet peas. The tomatoes are looking promising though. The. Petunias are started to come through and a couple of pansies.

   
   

What a difference a holiday makes

Oh dear. It’s been very hot whilst we’ve been away in the UK for 10 days and as a consequence the seedlings have not fairer very well at all. Pictures taken on Wednesday 30th March.

   
   
The results of the drought in watering whilst I was away speaks for themselves. What a disaster. I’ll continue watering them and see what survives.

Thursday 7th April

The pumpkins are starting to appear – well just two, but at least it’s a start. I’ve completely abandoned the sweet peas and recycled the soil. I also planted some sunflower seeds around the garden. Average temperatures at the moment are 37C in the shade – it’s roasting in full sun so the risk is that the seeds and small seedlings will simply bake and fry. Time will tell.

 

tiny pumpkin plant energes behind the btiny rose bush
  
tiny pumpkin plant emerges
 

Saturday 9th April

The sunflower seeds have already started to emerge – astonishingly quickly. 

a sunflower seed sproats quickly

 
Also the herb seeds I planted have also started to appear (rear of the picture below).

  

The other seedlings seem to be surviving rather than thriving but at least they’re not dead (yet!).

  

Wednesday 20th April

Well the plants aren’t doing well in the scorching temperatures and are literally burning despite me watering them. In addition, the painters came to finish painting the back garden wall (a month late!) and trampled the sunflowers that had sprouted. Along with the gardener sweeping away some of the others with the leaves and there may be one or two left if I’m lucky. One of the pumpkin plants had died. Here is a picture of what is left.

  

May and June

Well there’s nothing like a heatwave in a hot country to kill off struggling plants. With average daily temperatures of 45C in the shade it was truly stifling. I’ve never experienced heat like it. There was not a breath of wind. Wind speed was Zero! We actually fried an egg on the balcony in full sun. The heat was unbearable and also caused a drought. We were banned from using hosepipes with a INR500 fine for each infringement. All the seedlings died. 

July

A couple of squash plants have started to emerge now the rain has come. 

Thursday 18th August

The squash plant hasn’t faired so well over the last few weeks whilst we have been away in the UK.

dying squash

Thursday 1st September

Well, as expected, the squash died. So what has been a success? Well, typically the things I didn’t take a picture of in the beginning. The front garden has actually faired quite well and the climbing plant I trailed across the porch railings has started to flower. The trailing plants on the balcony have beautiful purple flowers and the jasmin smells lovely. The spider plants have now formed a firm green background for the other flowering plants and my potted plants have started to flower. The borders at the front have had mixed success. Roses don’t do well in full sun and the gerberas keep being picked by the gardeners (to wear in their hair).

flowering trailing climber on the front porch

colourful border and porch

Before 

Some ‘before’ pictures of the front garden during the creation of the front border and planting of the climbers.

Brabamama and Padmama planting

Lessons learned

Well, it’s very difficult to grow anything from seed. Purchasing small plants seems to be the way to go. These have, mostly,  grown on successfully. Planting seeds in the monsoon merely means they get washed away. Planting small plants in monsoon seems to be ok. The purple flowering plant on the balcony needs to be watered regularly and attracts a lot of insects and pollinating insects. Plants need to be able to survive a hot ground temperature in the summer months. 

It has been an interesting 6 months of experimentation and I’ll keep experimenting going forward. Hopefully, the results will improve in future.

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