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.
Technically, worm farming is called as vermiculture or vermicomposting. It is a tremendous way to minimize food waste generated in your kitchen. This kitchen waste, which is organic in nature, is the source of food for the worms present in the soil. The organic waste is used by the worms as food. They decompose it into nutrient rich material. As this decomposing is carried out in the soil, the nutritious material made by the worms is readily available for the plant growth in your vegetable garden.
How Worm Farming is Beneficial?
Worm farming or Vermicompost plays a vital role in improving soil texture, structure and aeration. It also adds strength to the soil in terms of increasing water-holding capacity of the soil. The vegetables you grow will develop a deep and strong root system that is beneficial to fight diseases and sustain under harsh conditions.
The output of worms which is also called as wormpoop or worm castings is perfect to generate top soil in vegetable gardening. On the other hand, the fluid produced in the process of vermicomposting is used as fertilizer. The excess fluid can be stored in a bottle for later use. Similarly, vermicomposting also adds valuable microorganisms to the soil. The advantage of these microorganisms is that they, along with the soil fauna, aid in breaking organic materials and convert nutrients into a more readily available food form for the plants
Another benefit of worm farming is that, you can use your organic kitchen waste in vermiculture instead of going to throw or landfill it.
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 share my experience of how to grow lettuce in a container placed anywhere in your kitchen or vegetable garden. Lettuce is a kind of vegetable that can be grown all-round the year in any climatic conditions. On top of it, its nutritious value is high and is best suited food ingredient for people who are on a diet. Low in saturated fats and sodium, lettuce is rich in;
Urban gardening is gaining popularity these days as it can add a joyous activity in your daily busy and hectic life. On the other hand, it also adds fresh and juicy vegetables for your meals and a healthy life style.
Salads are a vital part of our food, offering lots of valuable vitamins with least calories, thus ideal food for diet conscious people. For this purpose, lettuce are easy to grow in container of your vegetable garden that will return you with multiple harvests. Growing lettuce in kitchen garden can be an amazing experience for the beginners.
Below lines will guide you with the steps of how to grow lettuce in a container of your kitchen garden.
What do you Need?
Lettuce plant allows you multiple harvests, i.e. as you collect the leaves, new ones grow in place of older. For this reason, it is very important to have;
Proper quality potting soil
Good quality seeds.
Right size container
Recommended Container & Potting Soil for Growing Lettuce
Soil:First step in how to grow lettuce is the selection of proper soil. Good quality potting soil is available in the near nursery store while many online stores also offer potting soils for lettuce. Just be sure that potting soil for lettuce should have a mix of soil, peat or compost and vermiculite or perlite. This soil mix allows good water retention that is best suited for lettuce in containers.
Seeds:There are various varieties available for growing lettuce in a container. In fact when you search for a variety of lettuce, you will be amazed that there are endless varieties of lettuce available. My recommendation is to select the variety you like the most. This is because, different varieties taste differently. Among many, you can chose;
What I have grown in container of my vegetable garden is Little Gem variety. This variety was originated in France. You will find this variety crunchy, sweet in taste with miniature heads of lettuce that are full of nooks and crannies. Little Gem variety of lettuce is best for salad dressing and can be cooked for food.
Container:The container should have an appropriate size with drainage holes. My container size is 12 inch and it has already given me 3 harvests and still lettuce plants are performing well. The container should have appropriate size because as the lettuce plant grows the root system also expands.
Sowing the Lettuce
Now you have reached the most important phase of growing lettuce in container. Choose the place that has good access to sunlight. Lettuce loves sunlight. Its large green leaves love to do photosynthesis a lot. So it is highly recommended to move the container into a brighter space with at least 8 hours sunlight access.
Now moving to the sowing phase, fill your container with potting soil up to an inch or even two centimeters below the rim. For direct sowing, place the seed 1/4 to 1/2 half inch deep and then cover with soil. The soil should be moistened.
It is recommended to sow your seeds 4 to 6 inches apart. on the contrary, I have sown my Little Gem lettuce seeds 3 inch apart and I am getting good produce of lettuce in container. However, if you are planning to cultivate Lose Leaf variety of lettuce, 4-6 inch distance is a must. Remember that the seedbed of your lettuce in container never dry out.
Caring the Growing Lettuce in Container
Now you have passed the important steps of growing lettuce in a container. Wait for germination. Usually it takes 5 to 10 days for germinating. Your newly born tiny lettuce plants need your care. Following are few points that should be taken care of while growing lettuce in a container.
Never add synthetic fertilizer to your lettuce in container of urban garden. The objective of having fresh and organic vegetable garden grown lettuce will die at the moment you add a pinch of fertilizer. So avoid it. The potting soil is already rich in nutrients.
If temperature is around your kitchen garden is more than 30oC, move your container to a shady place. This is the biggest advantage of growing lettuce in a container to customize it in any manner you need.
Avoid drying of soil in your lettuce container.
Believe me, the result of all the previous steps and caring you will add to the growing lettuce in container will result in lush green and healthy lettuce leaves. They will be ready to cut right after six weeks after sowing. You can harvest them with a sharp knife but try to harvest little, just the amount you needed.
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Happy Growing and Eating 🙂
Cite this Article in APA Style as:
[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 16). How to Grow Lettuce Leaves In a Container? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/09/16/how-to-grow-lettuce-leaves-in-a-container[/box]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.