Dr. Nasir Hamid Masoodi
Autumn means the time most of the ornamental plants go in dormancy but the season is also known to prepare our gardens for spring beauty. Flowering of annuals and perennials is now completing its tenure and time to prepare our gardens for spring is pre requisite.
Garden lovers like to see aesthetically and recreationally healthy garden post winter. Whether it is a flowering of bulbous crops like Tulip, Hyacinth, Dutch Iris, Ranunculus, Freesia, Fritillaria, Oxalis,Muskari, Anemones, Daffodils, Allium, Crocus, Chinodoxa,Sparaxix or winter annual like Pansy, California poppy, Verbena all add charming beauty to gardens and bestow us with satisfaction of heart ,soul and peace.
November isthe last hope of planting for spring flowering if we want to have charm in our gardens. Nature has bestowed us with a diversity of floral wealth and at the end of the day science helps us how, when and where to use it. In this context this is the right season to plant winter season annual and bulbous crops in Kashmir for our gardens.
Preparation for planting
Plants grow best in soils of optimum fertility and scientific preparation of land is to raise the fertility of the soil. It is generally agreed that high soil fertility should be maintained. Soil is tilled to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. Well drained soil is prerequisite for proper growth and development as it helps to avoid bulb rotting or seedling loss due to pathogen infection and asphyxiation. Therefore planting in raised beds particularly under wet areas is preferred and recommended. Soil should be made light and airyby adding compost and coarse sand. Depth of bulb planting depending upon a particular crop. Thumb rule is to plant bulbs 3 times the size below soil. Deep planting is done in areas with mildwinter which helps to keep bulbs cooler. In case of bulbs or seedlings ensure proper planting density and go for row plantation wherever necessary. Optimum irrigation after planting is prerequisite for developing root system.
Placement of Bulb
Bulbs are set firmly in place with the pointed end facing upwards. The hole should be flat on the bottom so that the flat base of the bulb is in contact with the ground. The bulbs are then coveredwith soil and watered thoroughly. Moisture is necessary for thebulbs to take root before winter.
However, do not keep the soilsoggy or the bulbs would rot. After the ground freezes, apply about a six inch mulch of clean straw or leaves. Do not cover the bulbs before the ground freezes. The wet mulch could cause the bulbs to rot, and the mulch could also delay the freezing of theground.
Subsequent Cultivation Practices
It includes weeding, fertigation and pest management. These practices are carried out during subsequent growth phases after bulb planting.
Ornamental bulbs for our gardens
Tulip, Hyacinth, Dutch Iris, Ranunculus, Freesia, Fritillaria, Oxalis, Muskari, Anemones, Daffodils, Allium, Crocus, Chinodoxa,Sparaxix are impotant bulbous crops planted in this season.
In Tulips thousands of varieties are available.These include Standard, Parrot,Fringed ,Rembrandt , Fosteriana, Triumph, Darwin hybrids, Kaufmanniana,Viridiflora,Double, Lily flowering, Single late and some varities likeBanjaLuka, Parade, Triple A, Organe Emperor, Nigeta , Alectric, Angelique, Apeldoorn, Apricot Impression, Atilla Graffity, Avant Grade, Candela, Orange Brilliant, White Flag etc are now a days popular in market.
In Hyacinth, Hyacinth blue gaint, Hyacinth blue purple, Hyacinth fondant, Hyacinth pink pearl,Allaudin, Jan Bose etc are available in the markets.
In Daffodils cultivars of Trumpet Daffodils, Long Cup Daffodils, Short Cup Daffodils,Double Daffodils, Triandrus Daffodils,Cyclamineus Daffodils,Jonquilla, Tazetta Daffodils,Poeticus Daffodils,Bulbocodium Hybrids, Split Corona DaffodilsMiscellaneou ,Species Daffodils, Wild Variants, and Wild Hybrids like Mount Hood, Golden Harvest, Dutch Master, Las Vegas, Spellbinder etc. can be cultivated.
Winter Annuals for Gardens
1) California poppy grows 24-45cm in height and acts as bedding plant having varied shades of Orange and light yellow flowering from March-May and loves Sunny locations.
2) Corn flower grows 50-90cm having white, pink, rose, blue, purple, crimson shades flowering in May-June and suitable for back row plant in herbaceous boarder in sunny & partial shade.
3) Sweet sultan grows 45-60cm in height having White, pink, rose, blue, purple, crimson shades flowering in May-June suited in sunny & partial shade.
4) Satin flower/ farewell to spring grows 25-100cm having Red, white, pink and lilac shades flowering in Spring/summer season suited for Sun & partial shade.
5) Pot marigold known as Calendula grows 30-60cm in height having Yellow or orange flowering March-May.
6) Straw flower grows 60-90cm in height having White, yellow, salmon, crimson, scarlet sahdes and flowering duration from May-Oct.
7) Candy tuft grows 20-40cm in height having Purple, lilac and white shades flowering in April-May Boarding suitable for edging and rockery.
8) Pansy grows 20-40cm in height having Lilac, scarlet, purple shades flowring during March-May and is suited for bedding & rockery.
9) Lupin grows 20-100cm in height having Blue and rose and flowering during Spring-summer.
10) Verbena grows 20-40cm in height having Purple, white, red, blue shades and flowering during March-May suited for Rockery.
11) Foxglove grows 100 cm in height having Purple, white, cream, yellow and lavendol shades and flowering during Spring-summer.
12) Oyster plant/ bear’s breeches grows 150cm in height having Purple, white, mauve, grey shades and flowering during Spring-summer.
13) Common globe flower grows in 30-70 cm having Yellow flowering during spring-summer suited for Sunny & partial shade,
14) Sweet pea 100-150 (climber) having White, pink, crimson, pale, blue purple and flowering from May-Sept.
Calendar of operations for Octoberand November
A) Winter Annuals: Transplanting of winter season seedlings Pansy, Phlox, Antirrhinum etc
B) Shrubs/ Edges: Hedges/edges should be trimmed regularly.
C) Bulbous crops:
Tulip, Hyacinth, Dutch Iris, Ranunculus, Freesia, Fritillaria, Oxalis, Muskari, Anemones, Daffodils, Allium, Crocus, Chinodoxa,Sparaxix etc.
• Harvesting of Lilium and Gladiolus after foliage is dry.
• Care to be taken for avoiding any injury
• Screening of bulbs/corms before storage
• Shade drying and treatment with fungicides @0.2%
• Lilium to be stored in Coca peat to avoid moisture loss.
• Gladiolus to be stored in well ventilated moisture free conditions
D) Ploy houses Management: Vents of polyhouse need closed so as to ensure proper temperature.
E) Pot plants/indoor plants: Indooring of pot plants and managementof light,irrigation and pests.
F) Turf grasses: Sowing of seeds of raising cool season turf lawn grasses like Lolium, Fescue etc.