With a limited supply of vegetables and fruits available, the time is ripe to cultivate your own kitchen garden at home. Here’s how experts suggest you can get started
We’ve all struggled with procuring essentials in the last few weeks. In such a situation, wouldn’t it be so much easier if we had a few key ingredients growing in our own homes? Well, even if you’re a serial plant killer, there’s no harm in trying your hand at kitchen or urban gardening. And it really is easier than it seems. Here’s what a few gardening enthusiasts had to say:
- Pick a location that receives a minimum of 4-5 hours of sunlight.
- Grow seeds that are easily available at home.
- If you don’t have pots, use old paint cans, plastic bottles, takeaway containers, buckets, mugs etc (preferably 10 inches high), and drill holes in them for drainage.
- Use a potting mix or strain the soil that you have at home and enrich it with homemade compost (or blended banana peels) and coconut husk (instead of coco peat).
- Don’t overwater your plants; the soil must remain moist but not soggy.
- Regularly mulch your plants by adding dried and fallen leaves to them.
Priyanka Amar Shah, founder, iKheti
Fill 3/4th of a wide container with potting soil and scatter it with fenugreek seeds that have been soaked overnight. Cover with a layer of soil and then water it. The methi should be ready for harvesting (6 inches tall) in about a month’s time.
Green chillies and tomatoes
Dry a couple of chillies in the sun and then deseed them. Make 2-3 tiny holes in the soil and place two seeds in each hole. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and spray with water daily till the seeds germinate. Once the saplings have developed 3-4 leaves, transplant the extra ones to different pots. Your chilli plant will start bearing fruits after two months. Follow the same process to grow tomatoes.
Garlic is another incredible ingredient that offers many health benefits. Try your hand at growing garlic greens (i.e. leaves) as they shoot up within 8-10 days rather than bulbs which take about 8-9 months to develop. For this, you need to sow individual cloves about 2-3 inches into the soil with the flat end pointing downwards. Place the container in a sunny spot and water every day. Harvest them when they are about 5 to 6 inches tall.
Diipti Jhangiani, founder, Edible Gardens
Pudina, spearmint and coriander
In case you don’t have soil, don’t feel disheartened as you can grow pudina and coriander in water. Simply immerse 2-3 inches of the stems (with the root intact) in a glass or bottle that’s half-filled with water and keep it away from direct sunlight. New roots will emerge within 3-4 days after which you can transfer it to soil if you like.
Capsicum and pumpkin
To grow capsicum, remove about 10-15 seeds and sow them in soil (maintain distance between each seed). Now cover them with soil and water it; the seeds will germinate within 10-12 days and you should see your first capsicum within a month.
Chawli, vaal and even soybeans are easy to grow. Visualise a square in the soil and sow one seed in each of its four corners. Cover the seeds with soil and water it; the seeds will germinate within five days and the beans will be ready for harvesting within a month.
Papaya and musk melon
Papaya is perhaps the easiest fruit you can grow at home. All you need to do is remove the seeds from the fruit, dry them in the sun for a day or two and then sow about 2-3 of them in a 15-inch pot. The seeds will germinate within 3-4 days and you should have your first bunch of papaya within 6-7 months. You can even grow this on your window grill just like Musk melon, a creeper that bears fruit within a month and a half.