birds, flora, fauna of pune - and issues threatening these
Pune has a lot to offer to birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. All the more reason to conserve the wilderness, indigenous trees and plants still standing. This blogspot was begun with the idea of recording only the natural environment of Pune, but now the issues that threaten this environment also find a place here
Calculate your ecological footprint using this calculator. Be honest in your answers :-) It is an audit of how our lifestyle choices - such as the food we consume, transport, clothes, spending, saving - influence the environment.
This is an update on my previous post on this blog about wet waste composting in a balcony.
Currently there is a whole
bucket purely made up of composting vegetation. Pea shells are put in directly.
Pumpkin, banana peels have to be chopped a bit. Harbhara, methi stems, leafy
veg stems have to be chopped. I don't use mixer grinder to crush the waste
though some people do. Every week or so Yours Truly turns the waste in the
bucket using a couple of stout sticks. A mucky job! J The rotting and ready compost at the bottom is what
is put into the plant pot. Again, right now am not putting any soil into the
bucket, but a thin layer once in a while is recommended.
If you are the impatient
kind, then there are also bio products available to hasten composting. You can
try looking for those at your local gardening centers.
Keeping the waste bucket in
a sunlit area helps. Occasionally there are a few tiny ‘chilta’ (tiny brownish harmless
flies) that sit on it but so far no smell. No rodents either.
Bucket to which veg waste is added
Tomato plant pot to which composting veg waste is added
It is not always
smooth sailing in our little balcony garden. While the plants are happy with
the wet waste inputs and show it in the profusion of flowering, there are
insects and bugs that are attracted to such healthy plants.
Some of these that have visited the plants:
·Mealy bugs –
these are white oblong shaped and appear to be soft and fluffy. They latch on
to the plant in clumps, and probably suck the juices. Plant dies if neglected.
·Tiny black flies-
seen these for the first time this year. Once infested, the leaves begin to
wilt, crumple, and then die. Experienced this with my once blossoming chilli
·Tiny snails with
screw shaped shells- these are in the soil, and boy, the rate at which they
multiply would give the hamster and rabbits a complex.
·Ants- from very
tiny ones to large ants. They come to generally live in the soil, on the plant,
lay their eggs, etc.
these too cause drying and wilting of leaves.
(The operative word is
tiny, to distinguish them from the large varieties.)
·For the spiders, flies
and mealy bugs, spraying a dilute solution of Neem oil (say 1/4 teaspoon for 2
liters of water) is effective. Neem oil is strong so youmay dilute it even more for repeat spraying. Keep a gap of few days to a week between two
sprayings. I have also found that puffing turmeric powder on the mealy bugs
·For the snails,
sprinkling salt on them while they are moving seems to be the best remedy I
have used. When salt comes in contact with their soft parts it kills them
instantly. Once several are dead, you can scoop out the salt and the dead
snails so that the salt does not seep into the soil.
·To kill ants, the
anti-ant powder commonly available with chemists is effective. Neem oil
spraying also seems to work.
A note of caution here: Do
verify that the insecticide is safe for humans, especially if you are going to
apply it to vegetable or fruit plants. Take precautions accordingly.
Occasionally, the odd
caterpillar of a moth or butterfly might turn up on the plants. Unless they are eating up the leaves or doing
any other kind of damage to the plants, it is best to ignore them.
You might also
find earthworms in the soil. That's good news. Please keep them (unless their numbers are
overwhelming). They are the useful fellows, and keep the soil turned and
Tomatoes growing in my balcony terrace
garden! They're still tiny, but we're feeling good. They've grown on wet waste
composting. The plants sprouted quite unintentionally from the raw tomato waste
I had chucked into a plant pot. They might be eaten by squirrels or birds. They
might grow into red juicy fruits. They might … Let's see what happens :)