In his second column for The Goodwill Project, Kapil Mandawewala, founder of Sajeev Fresh, tells us to keep calm and water right! Allow your plants to stay hydrated, but remember not to choke them.
By Kapil Mandawewala
Monsoon’s recent arrival makes me want to talk about watering. People think plants only need to be watered. But, like us, they love their air too. They like a balance of air and moisture. Let’s focus on moisture this week; we’ll cover air next time.
I once worked with a “maali” (gardener) who would flood his “gamlas” (pots) every three days to avoid watering every day. He was giving the right amount of water, but just too quickly. There are two problems with this—firstly, overwatering makes the soil compacted and clumpy, and prevents roots from breathing. Secondly, it’s just cruel. How would you like it if someone forced you to drink a “matka” of water, and then left you thirsty for the next few days?
Seasons matter a lot too. Don’t you chug loads more water in the summer? The key thing to know is that plants use water to regulate their temperature. So, as a thumb rule for north India, water at least twice a day during the warm season and once, or less, in the cold.
Here’s a useful tip: Water only in the morning and evening when the weather is mild and your plants can calmly hydrate themselves without fear of the water evaporating away.
A plant’s age also determines how much water it wants. Saplings have short baby roots that stay on the soil’s surface. The surface also dries fastest. So water your saplings more frequently but in less amounts. As plants go big and their roots go deep, you’ll need to water less often, but with more quantity. My main point is—Make sure the soil is always moist.
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(Sajeev Fresh, founded by Kapil Mandawewala, is an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible business that creates farms and products for the earth and its people. Its services include planning, design, implementation and management of organic/biodynamic farms, gardens, compost programs and edible landscapes. For more, visit www.facebook.com/SajeevFresh)