In September 2000 at the Millennium Summit, heads of 189 countries firmly committed to work together to build a safer, more prosperous and equitable world for all by 2015. This gave birth to the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals are


Art of Living, Sri Sri Institute of Agriculture Science & Technology Trust in association with the United Nations Millennium Campaign and United Nations Environment Programme, has launched MISSION GREEN EARTH STAND UP TAKE ACTION 08 initiative to plant 100 million saplings globally. AOL targeted 100 million participants worldwide with leading the message of “Pledging the Climate Change through Tree Plantation Agenda-the 7th Millennium Development Goal”.

The “Stand Up” event was organized between 17-19 October 2008 and the UN MDG Pledge was read out at the event. The Art of Living has pledged to plant 1 million trees in Maharashtra.

Across the globe, a record number of people have stood up to take the pledge for working towards the environmental sustainability and also to serve as reminder to governments to live upto their promises on the millennium development goals.

The Conservation Action Trust has extended its full support to the cause of planting 1 million trees in Maharashtra. It has agreed to help the cause by procuring seeds and making arrangements for the required number of saplings for this plantation drive. It will also provide all the technical support required for the plantation.

In Mumbai, The Art of Living hosted over 50 events and caused more than 40,000 people to take pledge. They coordinated 26 events from Colaba to Mahim and approx 22,000 children took pledge.

Some of the seeds distributed in all these 26 events were Terminalia arjuna, Cassia fistula, Bauhinia racemosa, Tabubea avellendae, Terminalia chebulla., Terminalia bellarica, Bombax ceiba, Prosopis ceneraria and Putranjiva roxiburgii. Children have shown enthusiasm to participate in growing these seeds and grow saplings.

CAT has drafted a simple protocol for seed germination and post germination care for the children.

How to grow a plant

A seed certainly looks dead. It does not move, grow, change colour nor does it show any change in appearance. Is it dead? No it’s not, it is just resting. All it needs is a little help and it will give rise to a beautiful plant.

Everything that a seed requires to germinate is contained within the seed itself. However several factors can affect a seed’s ability to germinate.

Seed Coat: There seeds that have thick hard seed coats and there are those that have thin and papery seed coat. Those with thick seed coats can be soaked in water for 8-12 hours before sowing whereas those with thin seed coat can be sown directly.

Planting Medium: There are different types of media in which a seed will grow. The media can be chosen depending on type of plant that is to be grown. For general purpose, the best medium is a mixture of 70% red soil, 20% dry cowdung manure and 10% river sand. The ready mix medium available at the nursery can also be used for germination.

Additional Medium: Peat moss or vermiculite can be mixed with the potting medium to increase the porosity of the soil. It is good to increase the porosity of soil because the emerging seedlings are delicate and should face least resistance while coming to the surface.

Containers: Any container with good drainage can be used to grow plants. All that is required is to see to it that there are holes in the bottom of the container so that extra water is drained out.

Filling the containers:  Place a few stones at the bottom of the container partially covering the holes. This is to avoid soil getting washed away. Fill the pot with the potting mixture and water the pot. Allow the extra water to drain out before sowing the seeds.

Sowing of seeds:  Place the seeds on the surface and cover it lightly with the soil. Depth at which the seeds are sowed plays very important role in germination. Seeds contain only enough stored food for a limited period of growth. If the seedling is to survive it must reach the surface quickly and begin producing its own food for further growth. If the seeds are too deeply buried beneath the soil surface, the seedling will exhaust its food reserve before reaching the surface causing its death. However if the seeds are left exposed without covering it with soil then too it will die because it will dehydrate. Two to six seeds can be planted in a container depending on the size of the container and the seeds.

Temperature: Place the container in shade after sowing the seeds. If possible tie a transparent plastic over the container’s mouth to reduce loss of water. If placed in direct sunlight then the temperature of the soil may rise above the temperature required by the seed to germinate.

Watering: Do not water the container from the top. Place the container in which seeds are sown in a tray containing water. The water will move upwards slowly. After two to three hours remove the container from the tray containing water. This way u can water the container without disturbing the seed.

Post germination care: Once you see the seedling emerging from the soil remove the plastic cover but do not put it in direct sunlight. Keep the container with the seedlings in shade but make sure there is light as it needs light to produce food. Let the plant grow. Make sure that you water the plant in the morning or in the evening because if you water it during hot afternoon the plant might be adversely affected. Once your plant is a month old then you can keep it in direct sunlight. Every month loosen the soil around the plant without disturbing the roots as this will help oxygen reach the roots.

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