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Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Protein Rich Mushroom Indoors in Kitchen Garden?

Introduction

Today i am going to write on a non-traditional vegetable that very few of us grow in kitchen garden. The modern techniques now available in urban gardening have provided freedom to grow such vegetables. One of these is Mushroom. Surprised?  Growing Mushroom is fun and easy. Mushrooms are an excellent source of protein and can be a replica of meat especially for vegetarians. Keeping this in view, my today topic will focus on how to grow Mushroom in indoor kitchen garden?

Are you a Beginner? Learn How to Start a Kitchen Garden

What are Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are a kind of fungus but edible and nutritious as well. Round 400 among 20,000 varieties are edible. One thing should be kept in mind that some vibrantly colored Mushrooms are extremely poisonous and capable of causing immediate death. So if you have a plan of growing Mushroom in your indoor kitchen garden, here are three top edible varieties that can be grown suitably in urban gardening system.

  • Button Mushrooms
Button Mushroom
  • Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster Mushroom
  • Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki Mushroom

How to Grow Mushroom?

I hope so far I have activated your taste buds. Do you remember the flavor and texture of Mushrooms that you bought from a super store? If yes, then I have a superb idea of growing Mushroom. Yes, your own fresh Mushrooms at indoor kitchen garden. Trust me it’s not that difficult as it seems. Mushrooms need dark, moist and cooler place to grow. In urban gardening, you have the liberty to customize your way of growing Mushroom.

To start growing Mushroom in your indoor kitchen garden, you need spores. Mushroom needs spores (particularly known variety) mixed with grains i.e. wheat or millet seeds known as ‘spawn’. Spores are the whitish colored mycelium of mature Mushroom. This spawn can be obtained from local lab, nursery or online seed store. However, my recommendation is to look for freshly prepared spawn of known variety from local Mushroom spawn lab. Many online seed stores also sell these spawns of high quality. These may be expensive than lab or nursery option, but their viability is better.

Spawns of Mushroom

Growing Mushroom Spawns

Spawn needs a growth medium also referred to as substrate i.e. sawdust whose texture highly resembles the woody sections of forest where you must have observed umbrella shaped bodies of Mushrooms. So in urban gardening of Mushrooms in your kitchen garden, you need sawdust and any medium sized plastic bag available to you. Keep in mind that sawdust needs to be pasteurized first. Pasteurization can be performed by adding the sawdust in hot water with temperature 60-70 degree Celsius. Leave it for half hour. It will kill dangerous micro-organisms leaving behind some friendly microbes that are helpful for growing Mushrooms. Remove the sawdust from water, leave it cool down. Place some of this spawn in plastic envelope; it may contain slight moisture which can be felt by keeping little sawdust in palm of hands.

Mushroom in Sawdust

The Final Stage

Here comes the last stage of growing Mushroom in your indoor kitchen garden. Now add spawn by spreading it all over the growth medium i.e. the sawdust. Add another layer of sawdust followed by the addition of spawn. This layering ensures rapid growth of spores. Seal the envelop and isolate it in some cool dark and moist place in your home. Don’t peep through the envelope and have some patience.  After a week, you can examine the spread of whiteness all across the sawdust. Seal and leave it again.

After few days, small rosette shaped structures with a tiny stalk can be seen with naked eye. From now on-wards, allow some aeration in the room and keep the mouth of envelope open. There is no need to water the growing Mushroom. Just keep the surroundings of plastic bag moist. After a month of inoculation, well grown Mushrooms can be harvested from your indoor kitchen garden.

Indoor Kitchen Garden Mushrooms

Enjoy an extra topping of your own grown healthy-fresh Mushrooms in pizza or supply them to local market or vegetable shop on demand; an excellent home business option for Mushroom lovers. I hope my readers are now well aware of how to grow Mushroom?

Cheers and Happy Growing 🙂

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 28). How to Grow Protein Rich Mushroom Indoors in Kitchen Garden? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/28/how-to-grow-protein-rich-mushroom-indoors-in-kitchen-garden/[/box]

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Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Aloe Vera in Kitchen Garden?

Introduction to Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera?  Ahhh Yes. I was thinking to write about this plant for so long and after many requests on my Facebook page (Arid Agriculture and Kitchen Gardening) and email, I decided to help my readers on how to grow Aloe Vera in kitchen garden? This magical plant is so adaptive that it shows great growth and production afterwards in pots, containers, indoors and outdoors. In the modern day urban gardening, one cannot deny the importance of having an Aloe Vera plant in kitchen garden or indoors. The natives of arid regions are lucky that they can grow Aloe Vera at commercial scale to earn top dollars.

As medicine, moisturizer, soap ingredient and sometime food item, God has gifted Aloe Vera with so many uses that my 600 words article is just an inch to write about it. I have a sweet memory of this plant because of my mom. What i saw during my childhood, whenever my mom got stove burning on finger (quite common in kitchen) or burning the hand by accidentally touching a hot utensil, she always did just one thing. Reach as soon as possible to the kitchen window to get a small piece of Aloe Vera from the pot, peal it from one side and massage its sap on the burned surface of skin. The reason was to get immediate relief from burning pain and no burning scar on the skin. Interestingly, in many parts of the world, Aloe Vera is also called as Burn Plant.

Actually Aloe is native to Africa and there are hundreds of varieties available. The best one is Aloe Vera. There are some edible varieties fit for food, but don’t consumer it in your meals unless and until you are sure that it is fine to consume internally. Some varieties are poisonous too.

How to Grow Aloe Vera?

The answer to how to grow Aloe Vera is that growing Aloe Vera is very easy. As i mentioned earlier, Aloe Vera has the tendency to grow in most of the environments. In urban gardening systems, it can even grow on few inches of soil. Similarly, it can sustain winters. However, freezing temperature is deadly for it. But that’s not an issue. During winter, you can place it indoors at room temperature. However, if you have mild winters in your area, it is good to plant it in open soil. Zones 9 to 11 in USA that are regarded as ‘hard’ are best for Aloe Vera, especially if you are growing Aloe Vera at commercial scale.

Promulgating Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is grown by propagating the branches from mother plant, from its leaves and also from seeds obtained from its flowers. However, my recommendation is to grow it by propagating as seed sowing will takes a lot of time. Aloe Vera can be propagated anytime of the year, however, spring season is best to get good results. Just be careful that it Aloe Vera needs sunlight and moderate shade is also helpful for fast growth of its branches. Whether you are planning to grow Aloe Vera in kitchen garden or Aloe Vera in Pots or containers, soil should be well drained. I grow Aloe Vera in sandy soil so that water logging is avoided. Aloe Vera is very drought tolerant.

Choosing Pot for Aloe Vera  

Next step in how to grow Aloe Vera  is the selection of appropriate pot. Aloe Vera doesn’t need much space. If you are planning to grow Aloe Vera in pot or container, make sure it has a hole at bottom for drainage. Put sandy soil it. Dig a 2-3 inch hole in the center and place an offshoot from mother Aloe Vera in it. Fill the hole with soil and place it in sunlight. Just give little water at the time of sowing.

Watering Aloe Vera

Due to its water tolerant capacity and thick waxy leaves, Aloe Vera does not lose water due to evaporation even in hot climate. An Aloe Vera plant in your kitchen garden needs water once in 3-4 weeks. Too much watering will damage the roots. Also water the plant when you see that soil is completely dry after the last watering. Less water should be given in winters.

Harvesting and Care of Aloe Vera

When you see Aloe Vera plant becoming heavy due to its branches, it is fit time to start harvesting the branches. It is a common problem with Aloe Vera that even in a Pot, it grows wildly and become so heavy that it roots appear out of the soil and it starts fall over. It becomes difficult for the soil to hold the plant. So it is better to harvest the branches regularly. As far as fertilizer is concerned, Aloe Vera does not need any kind of synthetic fertilizer, whether you are growing Aloe Vera in kitchen garden, pot or containers.

On commercial scale, mulching and adding farmyard manure/compost is beneficial. If your soil is too much weak and Aloe Vera plant is showing growth at too much less pace, then add farmyard manure/compost only. If you are seeing that the leaves of Aloe Vera are becoming brown, it is a sign of sun burn. Place the pot or container in shade for some days and your Aloe Vera plant will be all fine.

Medicinal Use of Aloe Vera

Medicinal use of Aloe Vera dates back some 6000 years back. That is why, the trend of growing Aloe Vera in urban gardening is increasing. Aloe Vera in your kitchen garden has numerous medicinal benefits. It is very useful against skin burn, itching, cracking and rashes. Aloe Vera is a great source of skin moisturizer. For use on the skin, remove large stem from the main branch and simply squeeze it to get the sap out.

If you have any query, write to me at my Email, Facebook Page or Contact Me page on this website. Your comments will be appreciated. And don’t forget to share it on social media through social buttons below.

Happy Growing 🙂

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 26). How to Grow Aloe Vera in Kitchen Garden? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/26/how-to-grow-aloe-vera-in-kitchen-garden/[/box]

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Vegetable Gardening

How to Increase Seed Germination in your Kitchen Garden?

Introduction

As the world is witnessing increased urbanization, urban gardening is also getting common, new issues are arising daily related to kitchen or urban gardening, and people want solutions. This is because, kitchen gardening is different from open field practices. In open fields, the behavior of weather parameters is different and they impact the crops differently as compare to backyard gardens or urban garden systems.

Today I am going to write on a common question I am asked on my Facebook page (Arid Agriculture and Kitchen Gardening), through email and queries on my website that how to increase seed germination in kitchen garden? Germination of seed is a complex process. Even if you have top notch and branded store seeds, there are various other factors that hinder optimal germination. This includes the soil health (soil type, fertility, organic matter, pH, drainage etc.), the environmental conditions in your area, the farming practices you are following etc. These issues require a separate article to discuss in depth. The agenda of this article is to guide urban gardening lovers and amateurs with three simple and easy ways that will surely help them in achieving increased seed germination in kitchen garden.

You May Also Like Reading This : How to Grow Turmeric in Kitchen Garden?

How to Increase Seed Germination?

Soaking Seeds

First step in how to increase seed germination is the soaking the seeds before sowing. You can’t believe how a small duration of soaking the seeds in water can increase the germination rate of seeds. Soaking helps in softening the outer coating of the seed thus allowing easy germination. The water enters inside the seed, and elevates the process of germination after it is sown in the soil. Usually when you buy seeds, the information on it suggests soaking them in water. But how many of us follow that instruction? Even if it is not mentioned on the seed pack, water soaking is always beneficial. During winter season, soaked seeds harness more benefits. This is because, soaking seeds in water at room temperature (25oC-30oC) not only soften the coating but optimum temperature treatment is absorbed by the seed. So when you plant it in the soil even in the cold season, the germination rate improves. As far as soaking time is concerned, I recommend at-least two hours of soaking. However, an overnight soaking treatment will definitely increase seed germination in your kitchen garden.

Scarification

Next step in how to increase seed germination is scarification. When I am in a hurry to sow seeds in my kitchen garden, I use the process of scarification. It is a process to damage the outer coat of the seed so that the entry of water get easier that will eventually aid in increase seed germination. For scarification purpose, I use various tools including nail file, sand paper, a triangular file and nail clippers. There are few experts that support using hot water treatment or even acid treatment to the seeds but I am against these. Hot water treatment can cause permanent damage to the germinal hormones of the seeds while acid treatment is harmful for your skin. So my recommendation, do not use these.

Seed Scarification Tools

Now coming back to the tools I mentioned, they are pretty easy to use. For example, in case of sand paper, take two sand papers, and place the seeds between them. Rub the two sheets and your work is done. If there is large size seed, I use triangular file. For this, hold the file in one hand, and rub the seed on one edge. That’s it. Urban gardening is all about experimenting with new things, so you can use knife on your seeds especially the seeds that  are of medium size.

Manure or Compost Application

Being a big proponent of organic farming especially in kitchen gardens, I give a delight of farmyard manure or compost to my vegetable seeds at the time of sowing. If you are sowing in containers, pots or even in a plot of your kitchen garden, mixing manure or compost in the soil increase the germination rate of seeds. What I generally practice is, if I am sowing my vegetables in an open plot of my kitchen garden, I use trowel for plowing the plot and soften the soil. Then I mix the farmyard manure or compost in the soil and sow the vegetable seeds. The reason is that adding manure or compost increases the moisture carrying capacity of soil and makes it easier for the seeds to break their coat. As the coat breaks, they have ready-made nutrients available that help in speeding the germination process. Even the weak ones can show good germination due to nutrients availability.

Trowel for Plowing

There are many other methods of increasing the seed germination in urban gardening system. However the above three are easy to understand and application is swift. An integrated approach of using all three or any two above methods will bring great results. Hope this article has solved the problem of how to increase seed germination in your kitchen garden. If you have another query, write in comments below. Don’t forget to share this article for betterment of everyone.

Happy growing and Cheers 🙂

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 23). How to Increase Seed Germination in your Kitchen Garden?[Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/23/how-to-increase-seed-germination-in-your-kitchen-garden/[/box]

 

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Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Nutri-Fresh Okra in Kitchen Garden?

Introduction

Are you a green veggie lover like me and maintaining your own kitchen garden? If yes, then I have a brilliant idea for you; why not grow vegetables of your choice in your kitchen backyard. It can save you money and time as well. As going shopping per every veggie craving can cost you lots of time and is exhausting too. Trust me; your own grown fresh veggie is worth tasting as compared to the stale ones we usually get from the market. And this is the sole objective of today’s urban gardening to have economized and fresh food on dining table.

Also Read: 3 Most Healthy Vegetables to Grow in Your Kitchen Garden

So today, I am going to share my experience about how to grow nutri-fresh Okra. Yes your famous Lady Finger, which will be fresh, organic and delicious after cooking. Okra is loved all round the world for its delicious taste, rich Vitamin A content and as an excellent tonic for diet conscious people. So, my recommendation is that, if you have still some inches of dirt left in kitchen garden, grow Okra.

Also Read: Kitchen Gardening for Beginners

Climate for Growing Okra

Considering climate for growing Okra is critical like every other vegetable. However, growing Okra in kitchen garden and urban gardening systems is easy in areas with temperate and tropical climate prevails. Okra can easily be grown in warm humid temperatures; and it sustains from April to October/November in these zones. Frost kills Okra. For urban gardening, it can also be grown in container or pot. However, these should be 14 inch deep for facilitating root growth and should be placed in terrace or garden patch with good sunshine.

Growing Okra in Pots

How to Grow Nutri-Fresh Okra

Soil and Seeds for Okra

It can grow in sandy/loamy soil with pH above 6. Seeds can be saved from the already dried pods from previous harvest of your neighbor or friend or some seed store as per your desire. It is better to choose disease resistant variety. Seeds should be purchased from a certified nursery or online store, ensuring that these are pest and disease free.

Okra Seeds

Cultivating Ground for Okra

Select a patch in your garden which receives at least 6 hours of full day and sun light mix. Seeds can be soaked for few hours in water to aid in germination. Then sowing is done. Seeds should be sown 1/2inch deep and 12 inches apart in soil. Seedlings usually appear in 2-12 days. Leave ample room i.e. 3 feet in between the rows to support the growth as okra can grow up to 6 feet high. It can hinder the growth of other garden plants so chose the garden patch carefully.

Okra Seedlings Appearing from Soil

Strengthening Soil for Okra

Soil amendments can be done in terms of addition of animal manure and mulch for moisture retention. Regular watering (ideally twice a day in extreme summers) and treatment of worms, diseases and weeds is necessary. White yellow flower appear after 6-8 weeks of planting which are followed by okra pods.

Flowering on Okra

 

Harvesting the Okra

Harvesting the Okra is interesting. Harvest the immature pods 2-3inch long and harvest daily. If left unattended, pods mature and turn tough which are not ideal for cooking but can be used for obtaining seeds for future. Frequent harvesting facilitates pod production. Use scissors or wear gloves for harvesting as spiny pods can irritate the skin.

Ready to Harvest Okra

Enjoy your own grown lady finger by making a curry instantly, preserve it as pickle or share it with the neighbor’s which is in fact the best part. Sharing is caring 🙂

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 19). How to Grow Nutri-Fresh Okra in Kitchen Garden? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/19/how-to-grow-nutri-fresh-okra-in-kitchen-garden/[/box]

 

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Vegetable Gardening

3 Most Healthy Vegetables to Grow in Your Kitchen Garden

Introduction

Freshly picked, home grown vegetables are the best source of rich and healthy nutrients; you can have anytime you want. It is always tough to choose what to grow in your kitchen or home garden. But today, i am going to solve this problem by writing on 3 most healthy vegetables that you should give a try in your kitchen garden. I hope this article will help every dirt lover in troubleshooting his/her most important concern. But first, let’s discuss why to choose healthiest vegetables when there are several other options available.

The reason of this article is that all vegetables don’t have equal benefits when you talk about your health. In fact, the element of health is pivotal in choosing what you grow in addition to fulfill your hobby. So it is always wise to grow most healthy vegetables.

Also Read: Kitchen Garden for Beginners

Now, internet is full of articles suggesting which crops are best to be grown in your garden. They give you a mammoth list to choose like top 10 or 20 veggies, however many of these fail to address the specific benefits of each vegetable they suggest. My list of 3 most healthy vegetables to grow in your garden covers these aspects so, that you have full confidence on what you are growing and eating. I always advice my readers, don’t stick in just cultivating your own garden, but also teach your neighbors and others about what you learn here and by your own way of cultivation. This is the best way to serve the community.

Now here is the list 3 most healthiest vegetables to grow in your garden.

1. Spinach

Popeye? Yes I know that’s what comes in your mind in first place. Definitely, spinach has something in it that we had watched Popeye eating spinach and getting balloons in his biceps and forearms. Though I am not preparing you to eat spinach and fight, but yes, spinach adds power to your immune system to fight foreign invaders in your body.

Spinach: 1st Best Veggie to Grow in your Kitchen Garden

Benefits: It provides basic nutrients to bones, hairs and skin. Spinach is also known for improving blood glucose, especially in diabetic patients, pull down the risk of cancer, control and optimize blood pressure and most importantly it aids in curtailing the risk of developing asthma.

What your body gets? 28 micro grams of Vitamin C from 100g serving. It fulfills 34 percent of your daily Vitamin C requirement. It also contains an antioxidant known as Alpha-Lipoic Acid, fibers, Vitamin A and Iron.

Also Read: Five Cheap DIY ways to Kill Home and Kitchen Garden Weeds

2. Broccoli

Sowing and watching these tiny trees growing in my kitchen garden is always a fun for me. However in my childhood, i remember of pushing my plate with Broccoli away from me. Since I learnt what these tiny veggies give to my body, I am using it at least thrice a week now.

Broccoli: 2nd Best Veggie to Grow in your Kitchen Garden

Benefits: Broccoli is a nutrient powerhouse that has lot of healthy calories. Obesity is a global phenomenon that is the root cause of many other diseases. Broccoli is on top of the list to fight obesity. Further, it is helpful against diabetes and heart diseases. Skin complexion is also improved because of certain amino acids present in it.

What your body gets? A cup full of broccoli provides your body with 43 milligrams of Calcium. In addition to this, it also adds 92 micro grams of Vitamin K, fulfilling your 100 percent daily requirement of it. Also it helps in improving digestion system and gives you fresh feeling.

3. Beet Roots

Apart from the delicious taste, it’s the color of the beets that always fascinated me since my childhood. I remember those days, when I used to go to the veggie store with mom and my first choice was always to pick green leafy reddish color beets in the shopping basket. As I grow older, and studied the advantages of eating this God’s gift, I made the routine to add it 3-4 days at least in my meals.

The most common way to use this veggie is in the salads. However, very few of you know that its greenish leaves are more nutritious than the beet root itself.  It is actually a great “two-fer” crop. Roots ad leaves are edible. Young green leaf can be added to the salad, while mature ones are perfect to sauté as a quick and delicious side meal. Red colored beet juice is equally popular in many parts of the world to reduce excess body fat.

Beet Root: 3rd Best Veggie to Grow in your Kitchen Garden

Benefits: The roots of the beets are high in potassium, iron and vitamin C. On the other hand, the greens are superior to roots in terms of nutritional value. These are rich and high in iron, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Potassium, and Vitamins A, B6 and C.

What your body gets? One cup of raw beets (100 grams) delivers about 3 grams of dietary fiber and 60 calories. In addition to this, your body gets 0.01 and 0.06 grams of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids respectively. You also get 1.6 grams of protein and 6.8 grams of sugar.

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 18). 3 Most Healthy Vegetables to Grow in Your Kitchen Garden [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/18/vegetables-to-grow-in-kitchen-garden/[/box]

 

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Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Quinoa Seeds in your Kitchen Garden?

Introduction

You can probably identify numerous protein rich food items like red meat, fish, chicken, red beans etc. What if i introduce you to an incredible grain, highly rich in protein, and easily cultivable in your kitchen garden that you will get astonished? A crop, that is most suitable to cultivate in Arid or dryland agriculture system? Well yes, here I am again with a remarkable recommendation to grow Quinoa seed in your kitchen garden. It is also termed as protein pearl of arid or dryland agriculture systems.

Urban gardening, no doubt, has touched new statures of brilliance, providing you the opportunity to get fresh, organic and balanced diet food meals from right next door to your kitchen garden or from backyard garden.

What is Quinoa Seed?

Before giving any delay, let me introduce with my today’s baby grains that are ‘Quinoa Seed’. The importance of this seed can be understood by the fact that United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) celebrated year 2013 as the “International Year of Quinoa”. The origination of Quinoa shows that, it was domesticated some 3000 to 4000 years ago in the Andean region of Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.

Quinoa Seeds

Nutritional Facts of Quinoa Seeds

It is cooked like rice and wheat. It has abundant important nutrients and minerals like carbohydrates, protein, fats, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium etc. Below table shows some important information about the value of nutrients and minerals you get from 100 grams of uncooked Quinoa serving.

Carbohydrates 64.2 g
Protein 14.1 g
Fats 6.1 g
Potassium 563 mg
Phosphorous 457 mg
Magnesium 197 mg
Calcium 47 mg

Source: United States Department of Agriculture

Growing Quinoa Seed in your Kitchen Garden

It is also pronounced as “Keen-waah”. The most frequent question I am asked is, whether we can grow Quinoa in Kitchen garden or backyard garden? The answer is simply yes. However, it should be noted that Quinoa seeds should never be grown in pots and containers. The Quinoa crop is large and in pots or containers, it will give tiny harvest. Your efforts will not pay back.

On the other hand, if you want to décor your kitchen garden with attractive deep red and purple flowers for late spring, then growing Quinoa seeds in a container is good option. Quinoa plant produces these fresh flowers before going to produce seeds.

Quinoa Seed Flowers

Growing Requirements for Quinoa Seeds

The basic need to grow Quinoa seed in kitchen garden is bright sunlight, organic fertile soil that should be well drained and preferably weather with temperature around 32oC. Early spring is a great time to cultivate Quinoa seeds in your kitchen garden. Quinoa can bear low frost, but don’t test its tolerance in high freezing. The crop is slow one, as far as its harvesting is concern. It is usually ready to harvest anywhere between 90 to 120 days.

Quinoa seeds can be started directly into the soil, that is, no requirement of transplantation. At the start of spring warmth, when soil temperature is around 16oC, just seed it in the soil. The soil should be weed free and beds should be clear. Planting the seed in a row is recommended. The depth for sowing the seeds should not be more than one-fourth of an inch. As they germinate, don’t get confuse in considering them weed due to their close resemblance with a common garden weed, the lamb’s quarter.

Freshly Grown Quinoa Seed Plant

Your Quinoa will be slow in the beginning. So patience is required. However, as soon as it acquires a height of a foot, the pace of growth increases. One thing should be kept in mind that Quinoa seed plants do not need much water. They like dry soil to grow.

Next, Quinoa crop do not need fertilizer, unless and until your soil is too much weak. In that case, only use organic fertilizer like farm manure or compost. Mulching is usually not recommended for Quinoa plants.

Harvesting the Quinoa Plants

When the plant stem gets naked off and no leaves remain on them, it is the time to harvest your Quinoa seeds. It is wise to check whether the seeds are dried before harvesting. A simple test can be carried out my pressing your thumbnail in the Quinoa seed on the plant. If a dent remains on the seed, it shows that seeds are not dried fully. However, in case you have to harvest it earlier, dry them indoors.

Harvesting the Quinoa Seeds

No special mechanical equipment is needed to separate grains from the plant. Your hand and arm is your best companion in getting Quinoa seeds out of the head. Just shake the seed heads on a neat surface. After you get the Quinoa seeds, remove any dirt or unwanted element and wash them. From 8-10 Quinoa plants, expect one pound of Quinoa seeds. Dry these seeds in open air and then store.

Storing your Quinoa Seeds

After you grow Quinoa seeds in your kitchen garden, storing them in an appropriate way is utmost task that should be given due importance. After drying the seeds, they should be placed in an air locked jar or container. Then place them in a cool and dry surface and most importantly, away from light. In this manner, you give a six month or more storing time to your Quinoa seeds.

Storing the Quinoa Seeds

Enjoy the Quinoa meals 🙂

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 16). How to Grow Quinoa Seeds in your Kitchen Garden? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/16/how-to-grow-quinoa-seed-in-your-kitchen-garden/[/box]

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Vegetable Gardening

Benefits of Using Turmeric-The Super Food

Introduction

God has gifted turmeric with so many benefits. Science is still searching on this plant to explore more health and medicinal benefits of using turmeric. In India, China and Pakistan, turmeric is called as ‘Super Food’ due to its powerful nature of healing. It contains bio-active compounds that act as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Today’s article is focused on the medicinal use of turmeric and turmeric as a food ingredient.

Medicinal Use of Turmeric

Medicinal use of turmeric is globally recognized. It helps the body right from tip to toe in many ways. Firstly, it has anti-depressant properties that are helpful in combating Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms. The medical science today confirms that using turmeric 3-4 days a week stops any active cancerous agents in the body so it is an anti-cancerous agent.

Also Read: How to Grow Turmeric in Kitchen Garden

Adding more to the list of benefits of using turmeric, there is an important bio active compound found in it i.e. is ‘Curcumin’. This compound has the ability to boosts the brain-derived neurotropic factor. These factors are connected in a manner to enhance brain function thus the risk of having brain diseases becomes less.

Medicinal Use of Turmeric

The most important medicinal use of turmeric is by mixing its powder in fresh glass of milk. One table spoon of powdered turmeric mix with 250 ml of fresh milk becomes strongest agent to heal the internal damaged tissues and organs of the body. In sub-continent, after any physiological damage or accident that leaves a person with wounds, turmeric mix with milk is given immediately to stop internal bleeding too. This usage is well known and exercised worldwide.

Turmeric with Milk

Turmeric as a Food Ingredient

Turmeric as a food ingredient is widely used in India and Pakistan. The inhabitants of these countries are the chief consumers of turmeric powder as a prominent ingredient in nearly all types of curry recipes. A pinch of its powder is used to add attractive orange color, taste and odor in the meals.

Turmeric Powder in Curry

On the other hand, turmeric as a food ingredient is also consumed as food item as its leaves have high nutritional valuable. The young fresh flowers and shoots are used extensively in Thai cuisines. Similarly, Indonesian people like to have turmeric leaves in their fish meals to enhance flavor. Additionally, if it is used in combination with black pepper, the benefits of turmeric increases 10 folds as pepper contains piperine that aid in absorption of turmeric in the body.

Turmeric Leaves in Food Meals

The Turmeric Tea

Turmeric tea can be included in both categories viz., medicinal use of turmeric and turmeric as a food ingredient. Turmeric tea is prepared by using fresh or powdered form turmeric. But personally, I recommend using the fresh ones. Boiling fresh turmeric in water produces attractive yellow color tea that can be consumed directly or by mixing sugar, honey or lemon juice to add taste in it. Among several benefits of this tea, important ones include:

  • Depresses cholesterol
  • Help treating uveitis
  • Boosts immune system of the body
  • Sustains ulcerative colitis remission
  • Comforts arthritis signs.
The Turmeric Tea

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 15). Benefits of Using Turmeric-The Super Food [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/15/benefits-of-using-turmeric-the-super-food/[/box]

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Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Turmeric in Kitchen Garden?

Introduction

Whenever you plan to start your kitchen garden, never think of it as a source of saving few bucks. Keep in mind that you are doing this exercise for a healthy life of your family and delicious meals. It also saves your time resource, rather going to the shop for buying. Open your kitchen door, at pick fresh, organic and wholesome veggies.

It is a common question I am asked that what should be grown in a kitchen garden. People are confused in choosing what should be grown? My earlier article Kitchen Gardening for Beginners has few recommendations for that. I simply recommend growing what your family likes to have in meals plus the items you need in daily routine and those that should be in your fridge anytime. I am also of the view to grow some easy to cultivate crops in your kitchen garden so that your momentum and motivation doesn’t lose.

Also Read: Kitchen Gardening for Beginners

Today, I am going to write about how to grow turmeric in your kitchen garden. Turmeric benefits are immense and this little gift of God has miraculous healing powers that one cannot imagine. Originated in India, it is obtained from underground tubers and rhizomes. It is now widely cultivated in tropical Asia and to smaller extent in other subtropical and tropical parts of the world.

Also Read: Benefits of Using Turmeric –  The Super Food

How to Grow Turmeric?

Growing Turmeric

The answer to how to grow turmeric in your kitchen garden is way easier than you think. It will be much easier if you read the few paragraphs below that will guide you to the ultimate way of growing turmeric. As far as its season is concerned, late winters are regarded as perfect time to plant it. The temperature of 68-95 F (20-35 oC) is optimum. Below 10 oC, the plant stops to grow and suffers. However for tropics, it can be planted all-round the year.

Choosing the Turmeric Rhizomes

Turmeric grows same as ginger from rhizome. The first step is choosing the turmeric rhizomes to be used as seed. The best way is to buy the rhizomes from an organic food store. It can be also be purchased from a local seed store. Online gardening shops are also selling turmeric rhizomes for kitchen gardens.

Choosing Turmeric Rhizomes

Soil Requirement and Planting Turmeric

Slightly acidic to slightly basic soil pH is needed. It can be sown in pots or in open kitchen garden soil. For both, the planting hole should be 2 inches. The plant can attain a height of 1 meter. For pot growers, the depth and width of pot should be 12 inches and plant not more than 1 -2 rhizomes in each pot.

Sowing Turmeric

Got the rhizomes? Now divide the rhizomes into small pieces with each having 2-3 buds on it. For both pot and open kitchen garden growers, fill the planting hole with rich organic soil. The soil must have light and loamy characteristics and should be well drained. Place the rhizomes 2 inches deep. After planting the rhizomes, immediately water it.

Turmeric Rhizomes with Buds

It should be kept in mind that water requirements of turmeric are same as of ginger. The soil should be kept moist throughout the growing season from spring to fall. If you are growing turmeric in warmer region, make sure that the soil remains moist in winters too.

Climate and Turmeric

If you are growing turmeric in tropical climate, then winters should not be a problem. However in warm temperate zones, a reduction in water supply is a strategic step around the end of fall at the time when leaves start to wilt and turn yellow as temperature gets low. Further, it is wise to cut the plant to ground without removing rhizomes from the soil, so that plant can hibernate and spend the winter season safely. Don’t worry; it will perk up once spring season hits your calendar.

Turmeric Plant

If you are a resident of cooler part of the globe, then it is important to dig up the rhizomes from the soil to save them from freezing out. Carefully dig the ground or pot, and get the rhizome out. Wash it with fresh water to remove excess soil from it. Remove the rotting pieces and allow it to air dry. Once dry, store it in cool and dry place until spring starts.

Fertilizer Application and Pruning

If your soil is rich in nutrients, then at kitchen garden level or pot growers, there is a seldom need of fertilizer. But if you do need it, my only recommendation is to apply mulch or compost. If you have access to all-purpose liquid fertilizer, apply it once a month around the stem only. As far as pruning of turmeric plant is concerned, NEVER prune it. Only remove the dried or dead leaves time to time, that’s it.

Pest and Diseases

I personally like to have turmeric in my kitchen garden as it is less prune to diseases and pest attack. This means; other crops around turmeric are safe. In rare cases, scales and red spider mites can create problem. In case of poorly drained soils, rhizome rot and leaf spot appear due to water logging.

Harvesting and Processing

The turmeric gets maturity in 8-10 months. Maturity appears as leaves turned yellow and stems start to dry. Harvesting is easy. Just dig up the plant and get your own grown turmeric. It is wise to cut the amount of turmeric you need and replant the rest for next crop.

Harvesting Turmeric

The processing of turmeric is not difficult. Boil the rhizomes in water. After boiling, carefully place them on an open tray and remove the skin. Place the tray first to air dry the naked rhizomes. After this, place them in good sunshine for dry. When rhizomes get dry, grind the rhizomes. This will provide you homemade organic fresh turmeric powder. Store the powdered rhizome in an air tight container and place it in a dry and cool place.

I hope your query about how to grow turmeric is well addressed in this article. Should you have any query, do not hesitate to contact me for further guidance.

Processing Turmeric

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 14). How to Grow Turmeric in Kitchen Garden? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/14/how-to-grow-turmeric-in-kitchen-garden/[/box]

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Vegetable Gardening

Five Cheap DIY ways to Kill Home and Kitchen Garden Weeds

Introduction

“Hey! Rahman, i am managing my own home and a kitchen garden. In addition to fulfill my hobby and getting healthy food items on my dining table, I do this all to save few bucks in my pocket. But the issue of weeds is a piece of headache for me. I am spending a lot on buying herbicides and other chemicals to curb the weeds in my flower beds and kitchen garden. These weeds not only compete with them in nutrient utilization but also impact the plant health. What to do? Is there any cheap way to kill home and kitchen garden weeds?

This is an important issue I hear daily from my subscribers. So, today i decided to write on this. It is common that managing own home or kitchen garden has the chief goal to save money. But if you are spending your income on unforeseen issues like these, then you should have to think out of the box.

In the coming lines, I am going to share my own experience for defeating weeds by using the resources; every home has in daily routine. This means, you don’t need to buy anything special. After reading this post, you will stop purchasing herbicides and getting rid of weeds will become a cinch for you. Here are my top 5 cheap Do–It-Yourself ways to kill home and kitchen garden weeds.

1. The Boiling Hot Water

The first of five cheap DIY ways to kill home and kitchen garden weeds is by using the boiling hot water. Astonished? Well yes, it is the cheapest way on the planet to vanish unwanted weeds growing along with your darling plants. If you have left over water after making tea or coffee, make it count and valuable. Scorching hot water kills the weed immediately. It is a targeted and simple way of getting rid of annual weeds and it is equally effective against perennial weeds also that are short tap rooted.

Boiling Water to Kill Kitchen Garden Weeds

2. Sugar in Your Kitchen Jar

Surprised again! Yes sugar is another dirt-cheap item available in every kitchen shelf that is a perfect substitute for pricey synthetic herbicides. Are you anxious to know the reason why I am recommending sugar as weed killer? Well sugar creates low nitrogen environment for weed plants that results in wilting of plants giving it perishing death. Take sugar as much as you need and grind it firstly so that it can react instantly on the weed. Alternatively, make a sugar mixture using 2 tablespoon of sugar in 400ml of water and spray it on the weed stem and soil around the stem. I recommend to try it must.

Sugar to Curb Weeds from Kitchen Garden

3. Lemon Juice

I bet you are still in shock by reading the first two methods. After spending a lot on chemical herbicides, you got to know now that there are much easier and cheaper ways to control weeds in your home or kitchen garden. Well here is a third cheap DIY way to kill home and kitchen garden weeds. Lemon juice is a natural weed killed if you don’t know earlier. The citric acid is the main killing agent. A spray of lemon juice creates a burning effect on the weed plant and it dies within minutes after application. Another reason which makes it most effective against variety of weeds is that it is also a nightmare for thick, wax or protective coated leaves. It ruptures the coating and kills it. If there are weeds that are still growing, I recommend spraying a solution of vinegar, boiling water and lemon juice on these persistence ones for permanent eradication.

Lemon Juice for Killing Weeds

4. Borax Powder

Another cheap DIY way to kill home and kitchen garden weeds is using borax powder. When mix with the right amount of water makes it a strong homemade herbicide. However, there are few precautionary measures that should be practiced while using Borax. First of all, be sure you don’t spray the beneficial plants with it. Second, avoid saturation of soil with the Borax solution. Lastly great care should be practiced to safeguard your skin from this solution. For optimum results, mix 10 ounces of borax powder in 2.5 gallon of water to make a solution for spraying.

Borax Mixture to Kill Kitchen Garden Weeds

5. Dishwasher Soap

Yes, soap is another safe homemade remedy to kill weeds. The dishwasher soap assists to lessen surface tension on the target weed plant. This allows weed-killer to make a coat on foliage rather getting washed away or drenched into the soil below. Its combination with vinegar and salt adds more strength and results can be witnessed in few hours.

Dishwasher Soap as Weed Killer Agent in Kitchen Garden

Hope these five cheap DIY ways to kill home and kitchen garden weeds will help with your problem of weeds. Otherwise, I am still available for you. If you have any query, feel free to ask.

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 09). Five Cheap DIY ways to Kill Home and Kitchen Garden Weeds [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/09/five-cheap-diy-ways-to-kill-home-and-kitchen-garden-weeds/[/box]

 

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Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Grapes in Kitchen Garden?

Introduction

This article answers how to grow grapes in few easy steps. Grapes are easiest and tastiest fruits to grow and yet most ignored crop especially in home or kitchen garden. Among many, grapes are the most cultivated and liked fruits all over the world. The not only fulfill your desire of having a delicious fruits, but also the scenic beauty they give to your garden is dramatic and unique.

Grapes grow vigorously. Their growing phase is fast. With proper care, especially pruning them timely, results in better growth and development and plant life is increased. A fully grown grape vine can last up to 30 years or more. So it can be a good friend of you if you have it in your garden. It requires very little ground space to grow. The vines can be managed and molded as per desire.    

There are hundreds of varieties of grapes grown around the globe. Some are grown for the purpose of table fruits others are used in dried form. A large production of grapes is used in preparing wine worldwide. Whatever is your purpose to grow grape vines in your garden, make sure you buy the grape vines from a certified nursery. One year old, vigorous plants are best suited for a home or kitchen garden. If possible, try to purchase certified virus free grape vine.

How to Grow Grapes?

To start with how to grow grapes, here are few steps that should be kept in mind to get optimum results.

Planting the Grape Vines

For best results, planting must be carried out in early spring. The temperature required for one year old grape vine is optimum during springs. Make sure you have constructed the trellis before planting to train the vine for the support. This is also necessary to keep the plant free from diseases. Generally, grapes are self-fertile. However, it is wise to ask the nursery owner whether the variety he is providing you needs another plant for pollination or not?

For better results, soak the roots of the freshly purchased grape vine in water for 2-3 hours then plant it into the soil. Grapes need plenty of sunshine. So site selection should be done with great care. A small duration of no sunlight during day won’t hurt. Make sure it gets sun at least in the morning.  The soil should be deep, loose and well drained. Good air circulation soils derive best results.

Next, if you are panting two or more vines in the harden, then there should be a space of 6 – 10 feet between vines. The planting hole should be 12 inch deep and wide. Put the top soil in the hole and fill it 4 inches. Trim off weaker or broken roots. Then place the vine in the hole and fill it 6 inches then tamp down. Fill the remaining hole with soil but don’t tamp this down. Pruning the top back to two or three buds at planting time gets good results during growth of plant. Immediately water the vine after planting. 

Caring the Grape Plant

Next step in how to grow grapes is the caring needed by your newly planted grape vine. Once you all done with planting the grape vine, let it grow. It is wise not to get fruit from it in the first couple of years so that it gets strength to support extra weight of fruit. Pruning is important. This will hamper the rampant growth of vines but the fruit will only be produced by the canes only once. So prune annually especially when vines are dormant during March and April, before the buds start to swell.

During the first year of growth, cut all the buds except 2 or 3. It is also wise to select two strong canes for proper growth and cut the rest canes. As your pant celebrates first year of its planting and enters second year, prune back all canes and just leave 2 buds on each arms. Remove flower clusters as they form.

Fertilizer Usage in Grapes

It is sometime very confusing to choose whether to apply fertilizer to grapes. My recommendation is NEVER give fertilizer to your grape plant especially during first year unless and until your soil is weak. Even in the second year, fertilize the plant VERY lightly. Now the next question is what fertilizer should be applied? I recommend simple answer—MULCH. Organic fertilizer is best for your home garden grapes and even for farm grapes. Mulch not only provides nutrients as they decompose in soil but also keep the soil moist around the vines.

Precautionary Measures and Curing Grape Pest and Diseases

To keep the birds away from destroying your home garden produce, use a mesh net on budding fruits. It is also important to have knowledge about the enemies of your grapes. Aphid and Japanese Beetles are biggest pests while Powdery Mildew and Black Rot are common diseases of grapes. To control Aphid, plain soapy water can be used to remove them by spraying it over the affected parts. For Japanese Beetle, I recommend physical removal if possible. However, if the attack is severe, use permethrin, carbaryl, or malathion. There is no threshold to decide when to use insecticide, however to me, use chemical only if you see there is leaf damage exceeding 15 percent.

For curing Powdery Mildew, use one tablespoon of baking soda and mix it with one teaspoon oil and one teaspoon Castile soap. This mixture is then added to one gallon of water. Now spray the plants once a week. This will not only kill the mold but also it will prevent growth of further disease. Same procedure can be carried out for Black Rot in addition to removing the damaged parts physically.

Black Rot and Powdery Mildew

If your grapes are not ripening, pinch back some foliage so that the fruit get proper sunlight. It should be kept in mind that grapes will not stop ripening once they picked from vine. Grapes can be stored for 6 weeks in a refrigerator/fridge. Use card boxes for storing grapes in a refrigerator/fridge as grapes can easily absorb odour of other items in there. 

 

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 05). How to Grow Grapes in Kitchen Garden? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/05/how-to-grow-grapes-in-kitchen-garden/[/box]

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