Beginners guide to kitchen garden:
From growing pesticide-free vegetables to developing a new hobby, having your own kitchen garden has quite a lot of benefits. While most people shy away from gardening thinking that it needs a lot of space in the house, it's a myth. The only requirements are a lot of patience and perseverance. Here's a checklist for creating your own kitchen garden.
While an open terrace is a good option when it comes to deciding a suitable space for growing your own veggies at home, any place with abundant sunlight like a windowsill is also apt. The idea is to choose a spot which is shady but also gets direct sunlight for four to five hours a day. Try covering the plants to prevent them from the scorching heat.
Other than earthen pots, you can also opt for old plastic bottles, buckets and bathtubs as containers to grow your veggies. They aren't only cost effective but promote recylcing and reusing too. A medium-sized bathtub is ideal for growing plants like cabbages, cauliflowers, capsicums, radish and onions.
Getting the right mix of soil is an important step as the nutrients in the soil determine how healthy the plants would grow. Get some regular soil from a nursery, add compost coir peat and natural manure to it. You can also add cow dung or goat dung to keep the soil all organic. Also, add vegetable peels and other wastes to the soil to create your own compost.
Seeds can be easily bought from a Garden centre or a Good nursery. However one should go for open pollinated seeds than the hybrid ones. Once the seeds are sowed, it's ideal to cover the pot with a net till they grow into a sapling, to keep the birds and squirrels from eating them.
Tip for first timers:
If you are a first time gardener, then go for a small pot and a single vegetable initially. Tomatoes, tulsi and chillies are easy to grow, they can be placed near the window or in the living room and require less care.
Watering the plants:
While regular watering is a key factor in growing plants, excess water can cause damage and also wash away nutrients from the soil. While you might require to water the plants twice during summers, watering them on alternate days is completely fine for winters. To make sure your plants get optimum water, check the moisture of the soil by pressing it with your fingers and then water the plant as per requirement. Remember to add manure to the soil after a heavy rainfall as excess rains can wash away nutrients from the soil.
Maintain your kitchen garden:
Check your plants regularly and prevent insects from breeding. In case there are bugs on the plant, spraying Neem water might help in keeping the insects at bay.