It is the month of October and in north India now is the time to plant flower and vegetable seeds to have a beautiful winter and spring garden.

This is the time to plant the beautiful annuals so that they are ready to flower soon

  1. Preparing the soil: To plant the annuals in a garden, select a sunny spot in your working area and make a raised bed. Mix the soil well with organic manure and sieve the top layer to provide a fine layer of soil. Plant the seeds as per the instructions on the packet. Very fine seeds may be mixed with sand and sprinkled gently on the soil surface. Water gently with a very fine shower head. The same can be done in troughs or large pots to prepare the flowers for a terrace or a sunny balcony.
  2. Direct sowing: For annuals like poppies and nasturtiums, prepare the flower bed by digging and turning over the soil and mixing well with organic manure. Leave for a day and the next day scatter the poppy seeds while in the case of nasturtium make holes with fingers approximately 4” apart and plant seeds directly. Water well. The same way can be followed to have these plants in pots f needed. In the case of sweet- peas, prepare a bamboo frame in a sunny part of your garden and dig around two feet deep along the frame. Mix the soil well with manure and a bit of sand and make it level. Water well and leave for 2 to 3 days. Meanwhile, soak the sweet- pea seeds overnight a day before planting. Plant after making holes with finger at a space of 9” apart and water well.
  3. Bulbs: Prepare your pots and beds to plant the flower bulbs. Narcissus, Dutch Iris, Ornithogallum, Freesias,Sparaxis, Oxalis, etc now need to be planted. Make a well drained soil mixture with sharp sand, loam, manure and soil. Plant bulbs approximately at double the depth of their size after lining the hole with sand. Cover gently and mulch.
  4. Vegetables: Prepare raised beds to sow seeds of the winter vegetables. Make sure they are planted in a sunny, airy area and watered with a fine sprinkler. Make frames to plant peas and runner beans. Prepare raised rows to plant red radishes, cauliflower and radish. Dig at least two feet deep and prepare the final beds for planting the vegetable seedlings after mixing well with manure.
  5. Pruning: Prune back any shrubs which have finished flowering as well as hard pruning for the roses. Expose rose roots for 2 to 3 days and then cover with soil mixed well with manure for good flowering. Water well. Prune back creepers which have finished flowering to encourage growth in spring.
  6. Storing: The caladium bulbs are now going to rest. Make sure the leaves are dried, stop watering. Take out after 4 to 5 days. Label and store in paper bags with holes punched. Store in a dark, dry place for the next season

Constantly check on your sprouted seeds and protect them from any untimely rain.

Good luck for a beautiful spring garden!