Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Visit to Ahmed Irfan's Garden in Lahore- Pakistan

We will be visiting some beautiful gardeners of Lahore starting this Sunday This is the thread from where this discussion started

Let us start with Ahmed Irfan who resides at Thokar niaz beg.We intend to go this Sunday March 18th, 2012 at around 11am. Those who are interested to go can coordinate with Birg Arif who resides in Gulberg III and has a farm house at thokar niaz beg. His cell number is 0321 4639444.

Every gardener of Lahore is quite welcome. I will post picture soon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

2nd Tulip flower show lahore 2012

Second tulip flower festival was held 16-19 February, 2012 at Royal palm golf club, Lahore, Pakistan. No tickets were required as it was an open event. There were not a lot of people there may be due to lack of publicity of the show but the flowers filled that gap. There were some new varieties of tulips which were not present in the first tulip show last year.Here are those.

This one is Monte. I think most of these are darwin hybirds. My guess is none of the tulips there was species.
tulipa monte

The close up. My favorite picture of the tulip show.
tulipa monte macro

This is monsella is a an early tulip which is also called peony tulip due to its resemblance with peony.
tulipa monsella

tulipa monsella closeup

This is Gerrit Van Der Valk.
tulipa Gerrit Van Der Valk

tulipa yellow hybird

hybird tulip yellow king

tulip darwin hybird

These tulips at the lahore flower show were meant for exhibition and not for naturalizing. Probably early blooming tulips are more suited to naturalizing because late flowering tulips in hot climates like ours never get the time to gather energy for next year survival, this extra time is what makes early blooming tulips more suitable for naturalizing in hot climates. You can check out the coverage of other tulips flower festival on my blog.

I guess the bulbs were pre-chilled as lahore climate requires pre-chilling for tulip flowers. My experiment with species tulips this year is still in progress, will let you know if i am successful in that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kitchen gardening - How to grow Okra (Bhindi)

After tomatoes, Okra (bhindi) is the most easiest vegetable to grow. It loves the heat and humidity. It is delicious and contains many valuable nutrients. Here are some of the tips to grow it successfully.

Okra can grow almost any soil although it does not like heavy soil. Loam(meera) and sandy loam soil is best for yield. Incorporate plenty of organic matter into soil and also place a mulch to retain moisture. Okra likes a PH of over 6.

Okra is mostly grown from seed as it produces crop fairly quickly after sowing the seeds (45 - 55 days). Soak the seeds in water for few hours for better germination. Sow seeds about 2 inches apart and 1 inch deep. Rows should be at least 3 feet apart if you want to walk in between rows. Seedlings will emerge in 1-2 weeks. You can also direct sow the okra seeds.

It is Sown in February for April crop and then again in June/July for September crop. It can also be propagated from cuttings.

Maintain regular watering. Do not let the plant wilt at all. It loves watering specially in summer heat. At the same time, soil must be well drained. Fertilize every 3-4 weeks.

As part of Hibiscus and cotton family, the flowers are large and beautiful. It will be ready to harvest few days after the flowers fall off. Pick it when it is immature and not more than 1/2 inch thick. Length should not be more than 3-4 inches long. Keeping removing the pods (okra) as it will promote good crop.

Best Varieties
The most famous local variety is "Sabz pari". If you want to try imported variety suitable to our local climate then try "Clemson Spineless" and "Emerald". For dwarf try "baby Bubba" and "sweet Lucy".

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kitchen gardening - Hybird, heirloom and OP varieties

A hybrid vegetable is result of cross-pollination between two genetically different parent plants. Plant breeders develop hybrids to increase disease resistance, to improve yield, or to select for special fruit traits such as color, aroma, taste, or shipping quality. Whenever you see F1 or F2 with a seed, this is hybrid.

If you grow a vegetable/fruit grown from a hybrid seed then the seed obtained from the crop can not be re-used, you must buy the seeds again. This is the reason most commercial sellers sell hybrid vegetable seeds so that gardeners come to buy again and again. If you sow the seed from a hybrid crop, the resultant plant will never be as good as the parent.

Heirloom vegetables are cultivated forms of crops that have been perpetuated by gardeners who save seed (or propagate by some other means such as taking cuttings) from year to year. Some heirloom vegetable varieties have been around for more than a century! Gardeners have kept these varieties growing for generations because the crops performed well in a particular area or because they have outstanding flavor, unusual color, or other appealing characteristics.

OP stands for open-pollinated, meaning that wind, bees, or other insects, rather than plant breeders, transferred the pollen to fertilize the flowers. While all heirloom vegetables are open-pollinated, not all OP vegetables are heirlooms, since most seed companies offer modern-day varieties of vegetables that have been pollinated by wind or other means.

Seeds from the crop of Heirloom/OP vegetables are true to their parent. So you do not need to buy the seeds again and again.

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