A Rain Garden
The monsoons can turn your backyard into a lush terrain. These tips help you make the most of this season.
Make use of rain water
Rainwater is the best kind of water for your plants. Its as simple as placing indoor pots on the veranda or balcony. You could also put out industrial drums and barrels under the rain to load up on water for your garden. (Keep them covered with a lid when it's not pouring, to avoid mosquitos). If you have the space, consider creating your own rain garden. Rain gardens collect run-off water from paved surfaces, thus saving you the additional effort of watering your plants. It also helps with the augmentation of groundwater level. Choose a low spot in your veranda--an area that gets enough downpour from your roof or garage is a good choice. Next, dig a hole that is four to eight inches wide and has sloping sides. Plant your favourite foliage or flowers, and let them grow.
Don't shoo away slimy pests
The rains also bring with them a slew of visitors, such as toads, snails and ants. Before you lace your garden with insecticide, keep this in mind: Many of these pests are harmless and will do your green space a lot of good. For instance, snails in a compost pit can speed up the process of turning bio-degradable waste into manure. If you must rid your garden of them, go the chemical-free way. Prickly mulch (made of dried leaves and twigs) can keep slugs away; while placing pots on two bricks can save them from ants (they tend to disturb the soil around the plant).
Prevent soil erosion
Gushing rainwater can cause soil to pour out of small pots. Keep soil erosion in check by placing pebbles on the surface. Worried about the flower beds on your veranda? Proper ground cover will hold the soil in. Fix as many small plants as possible. This will not prevent erosion of the topsoil layer entirely, but it will reduce it to some extent.
Weed it out
Weeds typically crop up after a heavy rainfall, and rob your garden of the nutrients required to keep it flourishing. You can get rid of them naturally by pulling them out from the root. For deep-rooted weeds, make use of weeding knives and forks to remove them.
Plant and prune
'Tis the season to plant beauties such as jasmine (all varieties of this fragrant genus thrive during the monsoon), bird of paradise, hibiscus, yellow trumpets (tecoma), lobster-claws (heliconia) and Mountain Roscoe Lily (Roscoea alpina). It's also the time to prune plants such as ornamental asparagus, bougainvillea and acalypha by snipping off a few branches to reduce the burden on the plant. You can pot these shoots to get new plants.
Adapted from Prevention India © July 2015 Living Media India Limited.