Your vegetables, fruits, and most of the consumables are no longer organic. They are grown using harmful chemicals and pesticides, that although give them a spotless appearance, but rid them of all the natural goodness at the same time. What you buy from a supermarket or a street vendor is not that vegetable anymore whose natural benefits have given your grandparents an eyesight they still go boasting around.
However, with advancements in availability of all kinds of items, growing them is not limited to farms and gardens anymore.
Growing your own food is no longer only a possibility for people who live on a farm. It’s especially popular among millennials and urban gardeners, mostly due to the growing popularity of plant-based diets. The benefits of growing organic vegetables and herbs on your own include an incentive to eat healthy foods, as well as the complete control over what, if any, pesticides are used.
But how do we do that with the limited spaces we live in today? Most of the apartments and societies don’t have enough spaces where someone could go all gung ho with gardening.
But, what if we told you that you don’t require large and open spaces to grow your own organic vegetables and herbs? Got a window sill? Or a modest balcony? That is more than enough space to grow your own vegetables and herbs!
Follow these easy steps to grow your own vegetables and herbs
Pick your container
First things first. Before you get all down and dirty, where will you grow the vegetables? You can’t stick a few seeds in an open pile of soil, now can you? You’ll need a container that will contain all the earthen goodness in.
And when you think of containers, you don’t have to imagine yourself running to the nearest gardening supply store to get some, just recycle and reuse! It could be plastic bottles, thick jute sacks also known as burlap sacks, buckets, mason jars and so much more! Tickle the creative part of your brain for this one!
Once you’ve picked the container of your choice, grab that drilling machine, place protective glasses before your eyes and get drilling! Drill small holes in the bottom of the container.
Make your own soil mix
Now you have the containers, you need some good soil to stick the seeds in. What do you do? Make your own potting soil mix!
Mix 50% ordinary garden soil with 50% homemade compost. The pile of wet waste from the kitchen, like tea leaves, egg shells, vegetable peels, stalks and much more, makes great mulch for your vegetables and herbs when composted.
Not only will your vegetables and herbs thrive in this compost, but it will also give you the satisfaction of keeping waste off the roads and putting it to good use.
Add the bottom of the container with some gravel or you can recycle smashed-up old ceramic plates or cups, marbles or a handful of actual rocks.
Place a tray or an old saucer below the container so that the excess water is not something you’ll have to wipe it clean every other day.
Once you’re sure, your floor won’t be getting wet and messy, fill the rest of the container with the potting soil mix you made earlier.
One of the crucial steps in growing your own vegetables and herbs is choosing the right kind of seeds. Always choose the open-pollinated seeds which will breed true/original vegetables and not the hybrid ones. You can buy these seeds for as cheap as RS 10 from any of the plant nurseries in the cities!
Start growing basic vegetables and herbs like basil (tulsi), mint leaves (pudina) coriander (dhania), curry leaves (kadi pata), chillies, and other vegetables at home
This is a herb that can be found grown in every other Indian home.
- Tulsi requires plenty of sunlight and water
- It is advisable to plant it right before the monsoon and under intense heat
- Let it grow through the rain and cooler climate
We all have mint stalks in our kitchen or fridge. It’s used to brighten up the raita or to make some lip-smacking chutneys.
- After using the leaves, plant the mint stalks with roots in your chosen container
- Mint takes root easily and is quite a prolific herb
- Mint leaves do not require a lot of sunlight, they can be grown in a place that is partially shaded
The aromatic leaves are largely used to flavor and garnish almost every Indian dish. But, they don’t stay fresh for more than a week, which is why growing it at home is a better option.
- Grab a handful of whole coriander seeds from your kitchen stalk
- Sow a row of the seeds in a pot or a tub
- Place it on a sunny window sill and refrain from over-watering the plant
This is truly an Indian herb. It is frequently added in south Indian dishes. From chutneys to rasam, you can find these fragrant leaves everywhere.
- This plant needs abundant sunlight -keep it under direct sunlight for the most part of the year except in hot summers
- Stem cutting from the store bought curry leaves are the easiest way to plant it
- Leftover buttermilk or even curd work well as home produced fertilizers for this plant
This is a signature herb used in Indian cuisine. Hence, Indian chilies are ideal for gardening at home.
- Grab dried chili from your jar, break it in half and gather the seeds
- Sow the seeds in a tray and allow for the shoots to grow
- Transplant the delicate saplings into a bigger pot
- Make sure to give sunlight and water in equal measure
Potato is a favorite, popular and versatile food. Turns out it is also easy and inexpensive to grow.
- Plant potatoes in a potato bag (burlap sack, filled halfway with plant soil mix)
- When the green shoots appear, cover them with more compost until the bag is full and don’t forget it water them
- 10-20 weeks later you must see the plant leaves start to yellow an die, which is when you tip the bag over and collect your homegrown potatoes
Onions and Garlic
This flavorful vegetable is very easy to grow and is maintenance free.
- Plant individual garlic cloves in well-drained soil
- Leave them to it until late summer when the leaves start to yellow and die out
- The favorite part, lift them and dry in the sunshine before placing it in a cool, dry place
This vegetable is crunchy addition to a salad or can be found in sambar. Also it very easy to grow in a container.
- Sow the seeds in a container and place it indoors
- This plant needs plenty of sunlight but cool soil
- It also needs a lot of moisture but with good drainage
- Pull the plants out when the leaves start to die and you have your crunchy radishes
Tomatoes are an essential ingredient in almost every Indian curry. And tomato plants grow so quickly that it makes it ideal for beginners to pick this vegetable as their first.
- Sow the seeds in a bag, pot, or buckets
- Place the pot in a place where it will receive sufficient sunlight
- Dig a hole deep enough in the soil to properly place the tomato stem
- Water the plant regularly and feed it with enough homemade fertilizers, pluck the tomatoes when it’s all juicy and ripe!