Kitchen gardening at home is necessity rather than hobby
Quality of vegetables and fruits available in the market is diminishing day by day. You can make your own kitchen garden to solve this problem. If you have become aware of that and you are thinking of starting your own botanical garden, vegetable garden or kitchen garden then this article is for you. With one square metre of home kitchen garden , it is possible to produce 25 to 35 kilos of vegetables for your home consumption. It is possible to reduce the cost of vegetables and fruits to bare minimum even in cities, if we adopt kitchen gardening professionally at a reasonable scale. An added advantage is that they are organic and pesticide free.
Does it have potential to grow in a small organic farm business?
It has potential to grow in an organic farming business in a city like Mumbai because vegetables and fruits are procured here from outside. If this can be done in an organised way, the produce can be supplied regularly in organic vegetable stores and fruit stores in Mumbai. There are many retailers and online stores that sell organic farm products at a good quantity in Mumbai.
Following is the list of some of the organic food stores in Mumbai:
- Conscious Foods
- Magna Nutrition Center
- Vital Foods
- Nature’s Basket
- Jiyo Organic and Eco Farms
- Vibe – The Wellness Concept Store
- Vedanta Organics
- Balchandra Agro
How do we start a kitchen garden to make a small organic farm business?
- If you have got a small piece of land then prepare it by digging it up to a depth of 70-75 centimetres. Remove the soil and let it dry in sunlight for 2-3 days. It will ensure that fungus and small creatures like ants will be removed from it.
- If you want to start a balcony garden or kitchen garden or terrace garden then cover an area of terrace with a polythene bag and create a boundary of significant height with bricks. Make small holes in polythene so that there will not be scope for accumulation of water.
- If you do not have land or a terrace for gardening, you can very well use a balcony to create a kitchen garden.
- If you have very little space, you can create iron steel stands or you can buy them readily in the market. Various types of stands are available in the market in the range of 12 to 15000 INR.
- You can use small square or round pots also. Using gardening planters is necessary for balcony gardens or terrace gardens. You can find a list of different types ofplanters for gardening here. You can purchase them from the market. Earth and plastic pots are available in the nearby plant nursery. Some pots having fancy designs are also available.
- Pots made of earth are suitable best for plants as they have the property to pass air through the pots. Air circulation is very much important for good plant growth. Pots are available in 8 inch depth, 10 inch depth and 12 inch depth.
How to prepare soil for a kitchen garden at home?
Generally, pots with soil should be prepared by the end of September or from the beginning of February.
Finding the agricultural soil is the best which is full of earthworms. Alternatively, soil from a park or play garden can also be used.
- Soil should be mixed with cow dung, dried organic waste like wood and leaf and vermicompost. Here is a step by step guide to prepare compost for gardening at home. Please remember not to use chemicals to make soil rich for gardening. Some amount of sand should also be mixed with the soil so that while it gets dried , and it does not turn into solid stone.
- Fill the pots with soil. At least, leave 2 centimetres from top empty and it should not be filled with soil.
- If you are using plastic pots, there should be hole in the bottom of the pots so that water will not stay for a long time in the pots. However, water will also affect the soil’s plant nutrient quality. In order to prevent that, the bottom of the pot can be filled with small pebbles and stones or broken glasses.
- Seeds should be put into the soil not more than 1 and half centimetres below so that when they start growing they should be able to come out in the open after germination quickly. Also seeds should be protected from bird’s eye otherwise mostly they will be taken away by them as their food.
- Note: If soil is filled with earth worms, it is very good indication of germination of seeds.
Earth worms increase soil quality. If you want to prevent soil from fungus and other harmful insects, it can be mixed with dried neem leaves.
How to procure seeds for your kitchen garden?
It is always better to have natural breeding seeds compared to hybrid seeds for vegetables. They can be purchased from the neighbourhood nursery or from the market. There are many
Government organisations which make seeds available at affordable prices. If you are in New Delhi, Pusa Institute or Krishi Bhavan are good places to procure them.
In today’s on-line world, you can also order seeds from the on-line portal like:
Procuring ready made vegetable plants is also another option. You can also purchase ready grown plants from the neighbourhood nursery of onions, tomatoes, brinjals, flowers, chillies ,etc. to start with.
Which vegetables and fruits should we grow in the kitchen garden?
- You can start it by vegetables and fruits which can be simply grown like chilis, lady finger, spinach, basils, tomatoes and brinjals. These vegetables can be grown within 45 days.
- These vegetables can be grown in small pots also and later they can be transferred to some bigger area where bigger growth is possible. You can grow fruits like mangoes ( Mambalam ), bananas ( Pachai Valaipalam ), guava, lemon( Elumichai ) and pineapple ( Annachi Palam ) also in pots of 70 cm by 70 cm.
- Ready-made fruit plants are also available in the market or from your local nursery.
What should we grow in winter?
Following vegetables are suitable for winter session:
• Leafy greens such as bok choy and kale.
What should we grow in summer for kitchen garden?
• Beans ( Avarakkai )
• Cucumber ( Vellarikka )
• Pumpkins ( Poosanikai )
• Southern peas
• Summer squash
• Sweet potatoes ( Sakkaravalli Kizhangu )
• Tomatoes ( Thakkali )