Toil on the soil
1 Into your garden soil mix an equal quantity of either coir dust or leaf mould, which improves the porosity of the soil, allowing water to seep through to the very bottom of the pot, thus keeping the soil moist longer.
2If you’re using regular eight-inch pots, take two teaspoons (for 12-inch pots, use three teaspoons) each of powdered mustard cake, powdered neem cake and bone meal. Mix well and add to the soil.
3 Leave the mixture out in the sun for a week (four-five hours each day) to kill germs and bacteria.
Pot it up
1 Line two inches of an eight-inch pot with broken bricks (three inches for 12-inch pots). This allows water to leave the pot without washing away the soil.
2 Fill half of the pot with the sun-dried soil. Add a pinch of Furadan (takes care of sudden pest attacks) in the centre of the pot. Add a bit of loose soil to cover the Furadan and then plant your sapling on it.
3 Add more soil, starting from the side to the centre but keep 1-1.5 inches of empty space at the top. This is done because when watering the plant, the water shouldn’t overflow the pot.
4 Water the plant. A mug of water is enough for an eight-inch pot and a little more than a mug of water is enough for a 12-inch pot. The water should collect near the surface and then drain out slowly after two-three minutes.
5 After a sapling is planted, keep the pot in the shade for three days (the roots are very tender at this stage). Just for the first day, use a watering can because it evenly distributes water around the plant.
5 things to remember
1. Do not water plants when the sun is at its peak because the water heats up. Water plants before 10am or after 4pm.
2. After you plant a sapling, put it in the shade for three days.
3. Make sure you plant the sapling firmly into the soil. If required, lend the plant extra support by tying it to a bamboo stick.
4. Add organic manure every two weeks. Add two tablespoons of manure along the rim of the pot. The first batch of manure should be added 15 days from planting.
5. If the leaves curl up or have whitish/black dots or gets covered with a cotton wool-like substance, the plant immediately needs pesticide. All plants have different requirements, so no one pesticide works for all. Visit a reputed nursery for advice.