Growing your own vegetable garden at home can be therapeutic, creative and healthy too.
‘Go organic’ is what buzzing around the world. Having said that, the most talked about topic in this regard is food. Well, the market does offer the safer organic versions of them, but most of the time you need to pay a tad extra. In such scenario, how about growing part of your edibles by yourself? Yes, the hint is about growing your own terrace or balcony garden.
Spot the plot
It is important, your plants require good amount of direct sunlight for 4-6 hours, as veggies grow well in such conditions. If your space gets only four hours or less sunlight, the options can be salad greens. For balconies facing the south or west, fruiting plants such as tomatoes and eggplants are the ideal choice. Next choice would be the east facing balconies.
What to grow
Deciding on what greens to grow in your vegetable garden is equally important. You can either think of the ones which you consume the most or decide between short-term and long-term vegetables. If you are a beginner start with the ones which takes short-term to harvest such as spinach, fenugreek greens, coriander, mint, lettuce, and radish. Once you are confident, go for the long-term veggies such as capsicum, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage, chilli etc.
For a city dweller, container is the easiest way to try terrace as well as balconies gardening. Depending on the number or varieties you want to grow, decide the size of the garden. A container which is around 12″ diameter and 10-12″ height, would be ideal for leafy greens and salads. It would be enough to accommodate 3-4 plants. Similarly, a container of 12″ in diameter and 12″ in height, can be best pick to grow bigger plants such as eggplant, tomatoes and chillies. But it can grow only one plant. Ideally, ten square feet is enough to grow a few varieties of crops in your terrace garden.
Among all, Terracotta is one of the popular choice for containers as it is eco-friendly. However, they are heavier. Lighter alternatives can be a plastic or wooden planter box. Whatever variant you select, dot forget the drainage part, there should at least a drainage hole to drain out the water.
Meanwhile, as environment and green cover initiatives, there are coir peats which come in plastic bags. Instead of investing on pots, one can harvest crops in them. To use them, wet the peats. Spread a sheet in the terrace and place the peats on them and every day keep watering them. Within a week the peats which looked like bricks would expand and appear as debris. Now you can plant the seeds.
From nursery get some soil (debris and stone free) and natural manure. To make it organic, mix cow or goat dung to the manure and keep it aside for a few days. One can also create own compost with waste vegetables or their peels instead of throwing them.
Store in another pot on the terrace and mix to the manure. It will be ready for plantation after a week. Now sprinkle the seeds of the vegetables you wish to grow on it and slightly dab them. After about a week, this mix is ready for plantation. Sprinkle a few seeds over the mix, slightly dab them in with your hand, and leave it be for a couple of days. Slowly, your own organic vegetable garden would grow.