Happy gardening, healthy eating!

Happy gardening, healthy eating!

GO GREEN

Happy gardening, healthy eating!

The prices of vegetables are soaring and your mother complains about how they are not fresh or crisp. Therefore, she ends up paying a lot for vegetables that are not yummy enough. Why not grow some at home, so that you can ensure that at least a few of the dishes on your table come from organically- grown veggies? You will also be doing your bit in keeping our planet green. Having a kitchen garden is a great way to spend your time as well. All that you will need are a few pots, and a little space to keep them. Let us see how we can go about it.

- To begin with, decide what you want to grow. You can start with two or three plants, and go up to ten, depending on how much space you have.

- Tomatoes, curry leaves, chillies and mint are some of the plants you can grow in your house.

- You will need a parent or an older sibling to supervise for a while, especially during the seeding and the initial watering.

What you must do....

You can buy seeds from a nearby nursery or Lalbagh, where they sell seeds. Alternatively, you can get the seeds from the vegetables you buy. Wait for the vegetables to ripen, and then dry them in the sun. Once they have dried considerably, you can get the seeds to be planted. Push them inside a pot, and cover them up with a layer of soil. Water them every day. Sprinkle water gently  inside the pots. In a few weeks, small saplings will shoot up from the soil. Once they grow a little, say one or two inches, you will have to replant them. Transfer the saplings to different pots. You should keep only two or three in one pot. While shifting them, take care not to cut the roots.
Use a broad flat spoon and gently lift the sapling out along with the mud right beneath it. Take help from either your parents or an older sibling as this can be a little tricky.

Keep the pots in a patch of sunlight; they need their daily dose of Vitamin D!
Make sure you water them once a day. While watering the plants, you should make sure that you wet the leaves as well as the roots. But, don’t drench the leaves; this can cause them to rot. You can water your plants from the leftover water from your water bottle, instead of throwing it away. Keep a sharp watch for weeds and insects; they will eat up your plants.

You can grow lady’s finger, as it grows well in warm weather. Water your plants wisely — do not keep the mud soaked in water. While planting the seeds, you can put five or six of them in a pot, and once the saplings appear, you can replant them in separate pots.  

Naturally wise!

Avoid using chemical fertilisers and pesticides, as they can harm your green friends. Instead, opt for natural fertilisers like cow dung, or used tea leaves. Wash the tea leaves thoroughly so that they do not attract ants!

You can also make your very own compost using vegetable waste from your kitchen. Collect the vegetable peels from your kitchen each day and put it in an empty pot. Add a layer of mud on top. Keep adding a layer of vegetable waste and mud, in this manner, every day. Once the pot is full, stir it a little to mix the mud with the peels. Your compost is now ready to use. Put a little bit of this concoction into each pot.

You can also use bio pesticides. Plant herbs like neem or lemon near the vegetables, and they will keep pests away. A very common practice in organic farming is to use the dry leaves of a plant as fertiliser for it. The dry leaves will drop into the pot anyway, but if not, you can gently pluck the brown leaves and drop them into the pot.

In two or three months, you will have some vegetables to give your mom! In the beginning, the vegetables will be small, so you can possibly use them in salads along with other market-bought vegetables. But with hard work, and persistence, you can grow enough vegetables to make an entire dish of kurma or sambar!

Remember you will have to protect your vegetable patch from your pet dog or cat, if you have one. They should not chew them up!

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