This summer raise your own plant nursery…
The spring has set in in north India, while it is blooming in most other parts of the country. The trees in your locality are entering an important phase of their lives. Most of them are flowering and begining to seed.
So what role can you play in this?
In this nursery you can raise saplings of tree species that are endemic, that is, they are natives of your region. You can also pick a few exotic ones--that are of Indian origin, but cannot be found where you stay. The saplings you plant can be nurtured through May to October this year, helping your school to score brownie points in the biodiversity and oxygen balance tasks given in the Green Schools Programme manual (see page 77).
Keep your eyes open as you travel to school and then back home. Look out for areas where there are trees. If you see closely you will find that the trees are bearing fruits that contain their seeds. All you need to do is ask your teacher to take your class to the most densely tree-ed zones in your city. If you are in Delhi, for example, the best spots to target would be the avenues of Lutyen’s Delhi and the Central ridge. It would be of great help if you can persuade the school gardner or some of the housekeeping staff members to come along with you. It will be a fun ride for them, too!
Remember, you need to collect the seeds from the areas underneath the canopy of a tree or climb up the tree itself, depending on the species that are available. Identify an area in your school where the plant nursery can be raised. Ask members of the administrative staff to help you and do not forget to keep your Principal informed. Ensure that the spot you choose is shaded and has access to water supply. Motivate your fellow students to help you in preparing three-inch diameter clay pots filled with a fertile mixture of soil and compost.
Collecting seeds is lot's of fun!
Bury the seeds under half an inch or an inch of soil, depending upon the size of the seed and then water them. Small saplings will start sprouting within 15 to 30 days. Add a little compost to the clay pot every month to enhance growth. Remember to keep the gardener involved in the entire exercise. You will have to ensure that the seeded clay pots are watered every day throughout summer holidays. You will have six-month old saplings ready for plantation or distribution by September end. Read up as much as you can about the species and maintain records. What can be more fun than seeing those words in the books come alive in the pots in your very own nursery?