About 25% of world’s population is suffering from anemia: a complication caused by iron deficiency and expressed in terms of loss of work efficiency. Thanks to the loving nature that has gifted us iron rich vegies i.e. spinach. If you want healthy lifestyle for your family and you have some garden patch, trust me you are such a blessed person. Why not grow spinach at home because there is nothing like freshly grown vegie for your kitchen.
Spinach is a cold weather loving leafy green vegetable, yet some varieties can be grown in summers also. It needs fertile soil rich in nitrogen, well drainage and neutral Ph. Spinach can be started indoors at balcony/terrace or garden using seeds. It requires full sun to partial shade of (may be) taller plants. Soil should be fertilized with animal manure prior to sowing.
Sowing is performed in late fall and spring in mild to cool temperatures at the depth of 1 inch and 1 feet apart. Better chose seeds of disease resistant variety such as ‘Melody’ as spinach is prone to fungal diseases. Regular watering will aid in quick germination of seeds which usually takes 1 to 2 weeks. Spacing of 12 inches in between the rows facilitates well aeration. To avoid animal interference, it’s ideal to grow spinach in fenced location in the garden. Spinach grows very quickly so harvesting can be performed once leaves have reached appropriate size. If plant is harvested just above the crown, there are fair enough chances that it will regrow sending more fresh leaves.
Small baby leaves are absolutely yum once sautéed with butter. Adding to your food menu ‘Palak paneer’ is a very famous sub-continental dish where cottage cheese is served with spinach. Overheating the spinach will lessen its iron content leaving only fiber behind.
Spinach can be an excellent addition to your kitchen garden. Let’s involve our young ones also in kitchen gardening who usually don’t like veges.
The most important thing I have learnt from my 10 years gardening experience so far is the controlling of weeds and bugs in the garden whether it is vegetable garden or flowering garden. I have covered the control of weeds in one of my previous articles. Another query I receive a lot from my readers is regarding what are natural bug repellents in the gardening niche?
In pest control domain, bugs are the mega-annoying creatures that not only hurt darling plants and your feelings, but also their presence in any part of your home is irritating. There are many bug repellents available in the market, but being proponent of organic control of weeds and bugs, I prefer to control bugs through natural bug repellents.
If you are dealing with bugs in the garden, then top notch strategy is to use those plants that have property of being natural bug repellents. This article will discuss 4 natural bug repellents for dirt lovers. Even if you have pest control in mind, that is, controlling bugs in any other part of home, the below list of 4 natural bug repellent plants will be equally beneficial.
In a vegetable garden, utilizing crisp basil as natural bug repellent is a good strategy. To make a creepy crawly repellent shower, basic formula calls for pouring 4 ounces of bubbling water into a compartment holding 4 to 6 ounces of perfect, new basil leaves (stems can be connected). Giving leaves a chance to soak for a few hours, expelling the leaves and pressing the majority of the leaves’ dampness into the blend will make the solution stronger.
At that point altogether blend 4 ounces of (shoddy!) vodka with the basil-water blend. Store in the icebox and apply as a shower while going outside. Make certain to keep the shower far from your eyes, nose and mouth.
Sorry for a long gap. I was busy in cleaning up my vegetable garden and preparing it for winters. My preference for winter is to cultivate underground veggies like Turnip, Radish, Garlic, Sugar Beet and Beet Root. I have prepared the raised beds now with added compost. However, keeping in view the vegetable gardening calendar, there is plenty of time left in winters for my Cucumbers to give me some more organic and fresh fruits. I have been growing Cucumber for the last 7 years and believe me they are so easy to grow and require less care. So today, I am going to write on how to grow Cucumbers in your vegetable garden?
Without Cucumber, I feel my kitchen garden empty. Usually, I use my own seeds, saved from last year harvest. An advantage of having Cucumber in vegetable garden is that, they occupy less ground and vines can be propagated in any way you want. Vegetable garden looks greenish and soothing to eyes and its fruit gives you a fine style of health and happiness with a condition that you are using compost not the synthetic fertilizer. A Cucumber plant adds yellow flowers and curling tendrils to your vegetable garden.
Climatic and Soil Condition Required for Cucumbers
There are two types of Cucumber; the Bush Cucumbers and Vining Cucumber. I prefer Vining ones for vegetable gardens because of the foliage and less ground occupation plus the growth is fast and fruits are abundant than Bush variety.
Cucumber is usually warm season vegetable and thrives well when ground temperature is around 60 to 70 F. The soil pH should be around 7. A fertile soil is the chief demand by a Cucumber plant. Use compost for adding desired nutrients. You may also use aged manure for this purpose.
Sowing the Cucumber
For vegetable garden sowing, plant the seeds 1 inch deep in soil. The distance for Bush variety should be 30-60 inches and at least 1 foot distance should be maintained in case of Vine Cucumbers. For transplants, they should be sown 2 inches deep while distance should be same as mentioned earlier
The soil requirement is moist and well drainage should be characteristic of the soil. Soggy soil is the enemy of your Cucumber plant. A soil, mixed with compost results in healthy and fast growth in vegetable garden.
Managing the Vines
A trellis is the best option for allowing the vines to climb especially when the space is an issue. Trellising is preferred to safeguard the fruit from damage from lying on the damp ground.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
“I want to spend a life healthy, full of energy in a natural environment and feeding myself and family with fresh organic food”. This is the statement what I come across regularly whenever I meet my friends, neighbors and students. Well I encourage them that yes environment and healthy food are two basic requirements to spend a joyous life. However, in today’s fast pace urban life, I can’t promise to help them in spending a life in healthy environment but yes, getting fresh, healthy and organic food is in their own hands. How? My reply is simple, grow a kitchen garden in backyard of your home or if you are living in an apartment, use your balcony and equip it with pots to grow your own daily use food items. Believe me, kitchen gardening is easier, safer, free of pesticides and chemicals and most importantly it gives of peace of mind and delicious meals.
The next question I come across with is ‘how much space do I need to exercise kitchen gardening?’ Well kitchen gardening doesn’t mean that it should be carried out right outside of your kitchen door. It can be in a balcony of your apartment, or in garden outside your home. You are in middle of making your delicious meal and you ended up with no green chilies in your fridge? No problem – it’s just steps away.
Location and Soil
The place where you want to establish your kitchen garden should have access to plenty of sunlight and soil that has good draining capacity. If puddles don’t disappear from soil after a good rain, then your soil is not fit for it. After locating a place with strongest sunshine and good draining soil, my recommendation for kitchen gardening beginners is to start small that is easily manageable to allow you to earn experiment in the first season.
How much Space for Kitchen Garden?
To do a simple garden math, if you are a family of four adults, a kitchen garden measuring 800 square feet is enough to feed you annually. This means, 200 square feet per person a year. More generous climate with healthy soil can even grow more however; you should not forget the goal of your kitchen garden that is to have fresh, healthy and delicious meals of your choice whenever you want. So my recommendation, don’t race behind more production especially if you are a beginner and in first year of your kitchen gardening. Don’t forget that chief driving element to grow kitchen garden for a beginner is to have a garden that tastes good.
What to Grow in Kitchen Garden?
After solving the space factor, next is what to grow? Well it is rather easy. You know the taste of you family and their liking. But for beginners, I recommend, don’t go for buying expensive seeds. Start with salads like lettuce or may be green chilies and tomatoes. These are the crops that can easily grow and keep you motivated.
Choosing the Healthy Seeds or Transplants
Next thing is choosing a seed or transplant? Well it’s totally up to you. Most of us like to use seeds in a fascination to see juicy baby stems coming out of soil. I don’t want to do a recommendation here. But it’s good to have transplants for kitchen gardening beginners. If you have prior and good experience with seeds in your flowering gardens—go for seeds.
Stay Away from Synthetics
As the stem is out of soil, never ever think of adding any pesticide, herbicide or chemical fertilizer. If you do so, the objective of having a kitchen garden will die immediately. Mulch, Mulch and Mulch, that’s the only option for you keep your meals organic. Grass clippings, straw, shredded leaves, pine needles, dead weeds that haven’t gone to seed good source of mulch. Farm yard dung from livestock can also be a good source of organic fertilizer.
Don’t Die Your Plants of Thirst
Watering the garden is your chief responsibility. Vegetables and fruits are made of water. So they drink a lot of water. Water your kitchen garden as much as they need. Again–draining of soil matters a lot here. If your soil has poor drainage, then you have to be more careful.
Safeguard Your Efforts
Last but not the least; keep an eye on your kitchen garden. Harvest your crop timely or someone else does so. These ‘someone’ may be bacteria and insects as you are growing organic so they have greater opportunity to get their share. And if you ‘someone’ in your kitchen garden includes four legged animals like rabbit or deer, fencing your garden is the best option. If you are growing your kitchen garden in pots, you can use mesh to eradicate any chance damage.