Aavaas

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Archive for the ‘Exteriors’ Category

Managing footwear – A Perennial problem

Posted by Vivek on October 12, 2007

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I am quite sure that most of you face this problem at home. How to effectively manage footwear at home?

Lets do a quick math here. Assume that a home has 4 occupants, Dad, Mom , Daughter and a Son.

Dad needs – 1 formal pair of shoes, 1 Semi casual pair of shoes, 1 set of sport shoes , 1 Formal pair of slippers /Sandals and 1 all purpose slipper for regular indoor/outdoor use.

5 pairs for dad.

Mom needs (lets say) – 3 pairs of slippers , 1 set of sneakers for walking and 1 all purpose slipper for regular indoor/outdoor use.

5 pairs for mom.

Daughter needs – 1 sports shoe for school , 1 regular shoe for school , 1 pair of slippers + 1 all purpose slipper for regular indoor/outdoor use.

4 pairs for daughter.

Son needs the same as the daughter.

4 pairs for son.

 We are talking roughly 18 pair of shoes for the given family. And what do we do to store these footwear?

Shoe Rack

Image Courtesy : addalock.com

We use stands like the one shown above. This really not a good solution. It gathers dust. Your footwear can be stolen or misplaced. Leather goods can absorb moisture from the air in humid conditions and deteriorate over a period of time.

So have you managed your footwear in a different manner than described above? If so, please share it with us.

In apartments especially managing footwear can be tough as one has to consider keeping them right outside their homes which can remove the aesthetic appeal. Or they have to resort to storing the shoe rack in the balcony or some other vacant place.

Do share your opinions.

have a nice weekend.


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Posted in Exteriors, Footwear, Home, Spaces, Wardrobe | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Garden

Posted by sudarsan on September 29, 2007

I have tried a few garden plants at different places, please adapt my experience to your space & location.

Home Grown Vegetables

Image Courtesy: homegrownwisconsin.com

Tomato/Coriander/Tulsi/Green Beans/Ginger/Turmeric/Yam/Guvar/Chilli – All these respond well to Indian weather conditions, and as long as you provide some sand in a pot, and get good amount of sun-light they yield good results without much pest attacks.  Green beans, Guvar, Chilli and Tomatoes should be planted 2 months before summer.

Cabbage, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Potatoes: Grows well in cool climate only.   Need loamy and wet soil. Need protection from frost and hail, best to be grown 3-4 months before summer.

Curry leaf, Plantain, Lemon, Sweetlime – Need clay type soil, with some amount of sun-light, but easy to take care.  Plant it before rainy season, to reduce your work. 

Bittergourd, Snakegourd, Sweetpotato, Grapes – All these are climbers, that grow quite well in Indian conditions.   For Grapes, pick local varieties for pest resistance.   Snakegourd needs a horizontal mesh, while the rest can take up vertical or horizontal mesh.   You can harvest 3-5 kgs of grapes with a single plant, that can be raised in a 1sqfeet land-space.   However grapes, like pepper needs additional plants in the vicinity as they need some level of ground cover near their roots.  Other than grapes and pepper , other plants have to be planted soon after the rainy season, so that they start yielding in Spring and Summer.   You can choose late spring planting too, but you may spend more water.

Roses, Groundnuts, Karamani (black eyed white peas), Leek, Radish, Onions – Respond well to loamy, red-soil.   In fact all the potted plants on the first line can be raised on this kind of land.   Groundnuts need to be harvested shortly after their flowers start withering.   Good to plant them shortly after the rainy season.

Pumpkins & Potatoes – If you do Vermi composting (organic wastes from the kitchen with live earthworms and sand), you can throw any seed on it and can be assured that you can get a healthy sapling.   Note that healthy saplings replanted elsewhere have a 80% higher success rate than direct sowing.   Anyway vermi composting locations are as such good places to plant pumpkins, and all you need to do is direct the climber to your nearest terrace or shed, and you will see lots of pumpkins.    In villages pumpkins thrown over rubble has seen 30-40 pumpkins within 3-4 months, provided the weather is cooperative (plant towards the end of the rainy season, so that harvesting happens around spring time to early summer).

Pumpkin and Potato

Image Courtesy : Google Images

There should be more vegetables and fruits, you may want to try for your kitchen garden. 


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Indian Plants : Easy, Aesthetic and Useful

Posted by sudarsan on September 27, 2007

Seeing places abroad as well as commercial establishments locally, influenced a lot of Indians to move away from fruit & flower bearing trees to landscaped gardens with exotic grass, palms and evergreen shrubs.    Lets analyze this in detail and see what works well for us.

Home Garden

 Image Courtesy: http://www.casabaan.com

Korean Grass

Though Korean grass does not need periodic trimming it need a lot of water, periodic manuring, as well as well prepared landscape. Arugam Pull(used in prayers to Sri Ganapathy), is a versatile local variety that grows well without much personal attention, and does not need big investments nor maintenance.  A big plus with this grass is that it is soft and cool to sit on.  Crab grass from Malaysia or US ($10 seed+manure packet can cover 1000 sq feet) consumes less water, but needs periodic trimming to maintain the green patch.

Ornamental plants for landscaping

1. Ixora – This is a shrub endemic to India, and very popular in Europe as well.   Ixora has thin stalks with star like flowers that comes as a bunch (as a child we used to take one by one and suck out the little honey out of these flowers).  It comes in colours such as white, pink and coral red.   It can be maintained as a small shrub or can be allowed to grow as  a tree.   A bunch of flowers remain fresh for at-least a week and adds a mild fragrance to the breeze.   With this plant you will have tiny bees and butterflies visiting your home.  The flowers can also be harvested to string garlands.  This is a perennial, so you can see flowers throughout the year. A picture is shown below.

Ixora

Image Courtesy: http://www.tradewindsfruit.com

 2. Turmeric, Ginger, Chitharathai, Yam – All these plants have a similar look and grows very well in our climate.    Suited for planting on the side of the pathways.  These plants can be used for culinary and medicinal purposes.

3. Climbers – Sweet potato (Velli Kizhangu), Jasmine (Nitya Malli) are excellent climbers that need very little soil, manure and water, but offer extensive coverage.   Nitya Malli flowers daily throughout the year.

4. Flowering plants – Chrysanthemum (Samanthi), Bhadrakshi, Jasmine (Gundu Malligai), Kanakambaram, Sampangi are nice flower bearing plants.  My pick is Bhadrakshi for landscaping as it is easy to grow and is a perennial.

5.Exotics – If you have a large home with huge grass lawns, adding a lotus/lily pond would be very appealing.   However you may have to populate the pond with some fishes and frogs to get rid of mosquitoes.

6.Trees – Arecanut (Paaku), Jackfruit (Palamaram), Gooseberry (Nellikai), Plantain/Banana, Casuarina, Bamboo, Teak, Badam are the best picks for trees that add to landscaping value as well as good utility value for homes.  Mangoes, Coconuts, Sappotta, Maghizamaram, Shenbagham are very nice trees too, but may not necessarily fit into a landscaping profile.

7. Plants for remote spots – You may have noticed hard-to-reach points in your building that would look nice with some plants.  At such places Perandai (Cactus variety, but can withstand downpours as well), Aloe Vera (Katrazhai) can grow well without letting in pests.

 It is a long Indian tradition that food itself is treated as medicine, so lets look at landscaping the Indian way: Easy, Aesthetic and Useful.


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Posted in Environment, Exteriors, garden, Independent Home, Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »