If one has some land around the house it is worthwhile having a little kitchen garden.Living in overcrowded cities where there is hardly any living space, gardens have virtually disappeared from the scene! A majority of the people in big cities live in apartments and the most one can afford to have is a few pots around the house where there is sunlight.
If one is lucky enough to have a good sized balcony, then one can hope to grow some plants of one's choice. I visited a friend a few days back and was amazed to see her growing several vegetables in pots in her rather large balcony on the 3rd floor. She also has the use of a good-sized terrace, where she has a healthy looking Banana plant which is almost 6 feet tall and a Pomegranate plant ( tree?) that is already yielding!
She also has tomatoes, Brinjal, French beans (cluster beans) , Mint leaves, Ginger, and a local variety of greens called 'Gonghura" growing on her balcony. She has planted the vegetables in very large pots and has kept them at a spot where they get plenty of sunlight almost all day long. The plants have been grown from seedlings purchased from a nursery, with some donated by her friends. All the plants look healthy and are yielding well.
I have always loved home-grown vegetables. I look back upon my childhood days when we all went to my ancestral house for our summer holidays. It is a great big house surrounded by paddy fields, a huge coconut grove and a vegetable garden where most vegetables were grown. There would be huge ash pumpkins, ladies' finger, Brinjals, long beans, spinach, green chilis, and tomatoes. Every morning we would accompany the ladies to the vegetable garden to pluck fresh vegetables needed for the day's use.
It is fairly easy to grow vegetables . It requires a well drained soil like most other plants. This is essential for the roots to spread freely and the water to drain well so that it doesn’t remain around the roots and cause root decay. Fertilisers should be added to the soil. My friend has added a readily-available organic manure to the mixed soil and mulch. Watering is very essential; sometimes during very dry and hot weather, it is necessary to water the plants twice a day. It is necessary to spray any kind of insecticide spray for pests on a regular basis. Using a mild soapy water on the plants takes care of most of the regular pests, but there are some pests that do require stronger pesticides. Once the plants start flowering , it is best to add more fertilisers. It may take a couple of months before the vegetables are ready to be plucked.
I have tried growing spinach, green chilis, curry Leaves and tomatoes in pots. It is fairly easy to grow these with a little care. I have a pot full of mint leaves all year 'round. The curry leaves are there all the time as the plant has become quite large and I have transferred it into a very large container after which it has been growing bushy and very healthy. I add some used tea leaves into the soil around it. It is a good fertiliser, and mixed with crushed egg shells it is a great fertiliser that can be added to vegetable plants and flower plants alike. Adding this mixture also ensures that the soil drains well so that there is no clogging.
If one has some land around the house it is worthwhile having a little Kitchen garden. It gives one so much joy to pluck out the freshly grown vegetables from one's kitchen garden for the day's cooking. Vegetables do not need any special care other than feed and water which needs to be given in plenty. The other very essential need is sunlight, which the vegetable plants need in plenty.
I look forward to the day when I am able to build my own house and grow a kitchen garden in my backyard, and go every morning looking around the little garden picking what is needed for the day's cooking! That would be the height of luxury for me.
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